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The scale:friend or foe?

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Old 06-06-2005, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default The scale:friend or foe?

Hello, all. I was wondering how many of you weigh yourselves & if so, how often? A really good friend of mine swears that her secret is to weigh herself twice a week, yet I have heard that you AREN'T supposed to weigh yourself at all. I am trying not to weigh myself as often as I do (usually every other day) because I know that REAL weight loss isn't taking place within a 48 hour period, yet I have this compulsion to check my weight. The problem with that is it almost always creates some sort of emotional reaction from me. If I have lost weight I think I have been given an all you can eat pass for the next few days, & when I don't lose anything it send me into a "What am I doing wrong" spiral (emotional eating, anyone? ).
Am I the only one who has this problem?

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Old 06-06-2005, 05:00 AM   #2
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Not at all. I have heard a lot of folks bemoan that same thing -- when we do use a scale, we find ourselves stepping on it every day... or two and three times a day.. to see how "good" we are.

Some people very strictly only weigh once a week, or have an official weigh-in day with the doctor or Weight Watchers. Some eschew the scale altogether and rely on non-scale victories to tell them they're reaching their goals. That can be a powerful way to get in touch with your body -- how you feel in your clothes, when putting on your shoes, when climbing stairs.

Me, I'm getting back into the swing of things again, so I'm pretty enslaved to the scale right now. I KNOW that water weight alone can fluctuate five pounds from day to day, but that doesn't stop me. I have an official weigh-in on MOnday mornings, but you'll often find me on the scale on other days. "just to see"

It's probably not the healthiest outlook. One of my mantras is "one pound a week. That's all that's needed. One pound a week." With one pound a week, I'll lose 52 a year. Just that would make me healthier and easier to get around than I've been in years. But I get so caught up with "Oh, my god I'll never lose this much weight! I have to lose 2 or 3 pounds a week or I'm BAD." that I get discouraged and give up. And so I stay heavy.

I'm really trying to stop that cycle, to stop the discouraging "tapes" running in my head. And one way for me to do that is to step away from the scale a little. It's NOT the only measure of my progress. And not even the best one.
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:38 AM   #3
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Good question you have raised here. I haven't been doing the scale thing about 3 weeks. But in the past I was getting on every saturday. I can usually tell by how my clothes feel and look. I started that saturday target because a friend said if you do friday as I was it gives you a kind of free for all feeling for the weekend. Well I think that was prob. true thats how it started. For a few weeks I haven't done the scale as I went off course for a little bit few extras here and there. But this saturday I am going to get on it again. Sometimes in the past the scale will surprise me like one time I hadn't used it for a few weeks and the 4.5 loss was great. But it does help us maintain our wt. and beaware of where we are so it can be useful too. Good luck and hope this kind of gave you some info. Also remember we all lose differently and finding what works for you and returning to it when you get off course is important. Sometimes people try to many different things to lose if one was working why change just tune it up a bit. I pretty much stick with the old calorie counting. I did start though with south beach. I do feel like I haven't gained at this point but just think if I hadn't gotten off course I may of lost some more wt. for sure. But its all a learning experience and adjusting to a new lifestyle takes some time and effort.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:51 AM   #4
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Once a week for me...on Mondays. It used to be Fridays but I did indeed get that "free-for-all feeling" over the week-end so I switched days.

I've never been one to weigh daily...my nerves couldn't handle it. As it is, I act ridiculous...sneaking up on it, talking lovingly and then, depending on the results...want to destroy the beast or hug it .

I need to keep the focus on feeling better as opposed to getting crazy with the scale.
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Old 06-06-2005, 08:46 AM   #5
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What I did was one time a week. Sunday. I weighed in and measured. That way I knew what my progress was for the week and what I had to do for the week ahead of me. It was a nice way to end the previous week and a great motivator to start off the next. Try as hard as you can to weigh in at the same time each week and seriously, try not to be obsessed with the scale on a day to day or even every other day basis.

Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:03 AM   #6
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Your not the only one. What I had to do was weigh myself once every two weeks. I found that your results from working out usually takes about two weeks to show. I can remember working so hard for a week and got on the scale and saw nothing. My sister told me to keep going and stay off the scale (so I wouldn't be so upset). So I did, and I waited for a whole week and saw that I lost 7lbs. You have no idea how happy I was to see that it worked (the working out).

I would say the scale is my friend (for now anyway).
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:40 AM   #7
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Boy, do I relate to this post! I know how it feels to be emotionally ruled by the scale. I now try to stay off my scale at home and only weigh in at WW on wednesdays. That doesn't mean that I am always successful, but I pretty much stay off of it. Especially since my goal is to lose 4 ounces a day and my scale doesn't weigh by ounces. I "let" myself feel successful in having reached my goal of losing 4 ounces at the end of each day if I have stayed on program and moved a little bit that day.
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:36 AM   #8
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Kudos to all of those who can stay away from the scale.

I have to admit I step on it almost every time I go into the bathroom. I was away this weekend & it drove me crazy not having my scale!!! I think I need to take steps to rid myself of the addiction!!!
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:15 AM   #9
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I started out weighing myself once a week. I'm pregnant and trying to maintain. I switched to daily weighing because I ended up losing 3 lbs over 2 days when I was weighed at the dr office. I know our scales are different but even with that I still lost. Since I'm counting cals I was weighing to adjust my cals to maintain. I really wanted to know if I was. I started weighing daily. I started noticing my weight going up and down by a few pounds. I started thinking if I was only weighing once a week and only saw a high or low weight I'd be upset. I'd want to change my food plan.

I ended up getting another scale just to be sure it wasn't that. Its just normal for weight to go up and down by a few lbs. I try hard not to let the numbers bother me. I read one way to be friends with the scale is to weigh once daily and pick the lowest weight of the week as your "real" weight. I think I'll do that after the birth.

I'm a social scale addict. I have 3 and weigh myself usually on each daily but just once then forget about it till the next morning.

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Old 06-06-2005, 11:15 AM   #10
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I weigh in 'officially' on Mondays... keeps me good on the weekends! I also 'check in' with my scale at least 2 more times in the week, usually Thursday and Saturday. Sam allways says she's gonna hide it on me... that would be a very tragic day for me...
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:16 AM   #11
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I tend to get on the scale ALOT! But,I know that my weight will flucuate from all sorts of things,so I don't let the numbers bother me anymore(right now its between 120 and 125,so I wont change my ticker until I see it between 115 and 120).If I didn't get on often,I know for a fact that I'd let my diet slide to the point I'd be eating everything and anything and stuffing myself to extremes.I've done it before many times....put the scale out of sight and its almost like...Hey,I don't have to keep track of what I'm eating now,because I wont be weighing myself,so I dont have to know those numbers.Going by how my clothes feel doesn't seem to work for me....so I'll keep my *friend* in sight as a reminder that I'm trying to make better life choices and at some point,the scale will show some sort of progress that I'm on the right track to a fitter body.
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:17 AM   #12
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Interesting question. I have struggled with a love-hate relationship with the scale. Yes, when the numbers are going down it creates a certain mindset and when they are going up - same thing. I was a frequent weigher - daily, sometimes more than that - note the word "was". It took a great deal of time to get over that obsession and to realize that when you think about it intellectually and scientifically the number on the scale is not a very accurate reflection of what is happening with body fat. I consider myself to be over fat not overweight. I can be hormonal (ie. TOM) and gain 8 lbs in one week. Was I off program? No. Will it be off with friends the week after? Yes. Should I obsess over the number on the scale - absolutely not. But I did - to the point that I would weigh daily or twice a day or anytime I walked past the scale. Each time I did, that number would say I was a success or a failure and I took it personally and felt good or crappy. This, of course, fed right into emotional eating. It took me a long time to process this one and get to a healthier place. It is for this very reason that I will not join weigh-in groups any longer because it was an exercise in self-torture for me. (I know it is not this way for all and that they do many good things so I am not dissing WW or any other such group - they just didn't work for me). For me, I am in control of my eating and my weighing now. I weigh in once a week and never any more than that. I no longer judge myself on the number because I am worth more than that. If I am premenstrual and can tell by my wedding ring that I am bloated, I may choose to not weigh in at all until the next week. Anyway, as you can tell this topic has been a small bug-a-boo in my life. I think people need to measure success by tangible, measurable things (exercise, healthy eating, etc) and know if one continues to exercise and eat well the weight comes off - scientifically proven! There, that is my two (actually more like four) cents worth! Have a great day all...
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Old 06-06-2005, 12:06 PM   #13
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To me this boils down to two basic points.

First, you have to understand what the scale can and cannot do: What it does and does not measure, why weighing under inconsistent conditions (i.e., more than once a day) is pointless, etc. (It amazes me how many people fail to understand that ...). You might take a look at this article for a good explanation: http://www.primusweb.com/fitnesspart...ight/scale.htm

Once you have a grasp on the science, then you have to evaluate how those numbers make you feel. If you understand the science but those fluctuating, inaccurate numbers still affect you in a negative way emotionally, then stay off of it. If you can take them in stride and maintain an objective view, or if they keep you honest, then weigh as often as you like. You have to do the things that HELP you, not drag you down, and sometimes that goes against the conventional wisdom of what "dieting" is all about.

I stayed off the scale for six months, essentially, because I needed to concentrate on changing my lifestyle without the distraction of worrying about how much weight I lost from day to day or week to week. Since then I've gone through periods of weighing every week, of weighing every day for a couple of months to understand my body's patterns, to weighing once every couple of weeks or less.

I've said before that if you are "dieting" and "losing weight," you live and die by the scale, and you will always maintain a dieter's mentality of being good/bad, on-a-diet/off-the-diet, etc. If, however, you are more concerned with doing that lifestyle makeover, then the actual weight loss becomes a side effect. Sure, it's a huge boost to see those numbers go down, I confess I'm just as happy as the next person when I go through a vigorous loss period or pass a milestone. But, I finally understood that just as the weight was a SYMPTOM of a life that was out of balance and unhealthy, losing the weight is a by-product of a life that is healthy and balanced. The point is the life, not the weight.
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Old 06-06-2005, 12:23 PM   #14
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Some really interesting responses to this - I love reading all the input, thanks!

When I first joined Weight Watchers I was addicted to the scale and would weigh myself several times a day (and yes, I knew it was rather pointless, but I was in the honeymoon phase for several months where I lost consistently and found comfort and motivation in seeing "the numbers"). After a while, once the plateaus hit and the scale was no longer my friend, I found the scale exercise discouraging and tried to rely on the weekly WW weigh-in. It was a difficult habit to break and eventually I had to chuck my home scales totally. Now that I'm 3 years into this journey I rely far more on my own sense of whether I've lost weight (and the fit of my clothes). Last time I weighed myself was the end of April when I came back from Russia (and had a nasty shock). I'm going to weigh-in next Saturday at WW and see how much damage I've undone. I've stayed on plan and lost that bloated feeling, so I figure I've done okay - I'm feeling good and am rather ambivalent about the weigh-in. After all this time I know I'm more than just a number on a scale, so if the results are good it'll likely help motivate me, but if my hard work isn't reflected I refuse to let it get me down and I'll just keep plugging away!
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Old 06-06-2005, 12:27 PM   #15
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well said funniegrl. I was just about to post that if you know that weighing daily won't effect you emotionally and understand that you weight changes daily then go for it. If it is something that can make or break your day then you are probably good to not be weighing all the time. I would suggest putting your scale in the trunk of your car or somewhere where you would have to work to get at your scale to keep you from weighing so often.

I have one official weigh in day. some weeks I will step on the scale daily, a couple of times a week or wait and do every other week.
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