Friday, January 10, 2014

How Often Should I Weigh Myself?

Weighing yourself regularly and properly is an important component of any weight loss program. It serves 3 purposes:

1) To measure your progress. If you are losing weight, you’ll know your program is working. If not, you’ll know that it is time to make some changes.

2) To learn about your personal metabolic physiology. No 2 people lose weight the same way. It is a highly subjective process. When you weigh yourself weekly, you’ll start to see certain patterns. You’ll study what you did when you lost weight, and you’ll study what you did when you didn’t. After several months, you’ll refine your program with laser-like focus, knowing exactly what you have to do to achieve your goals.

3) Weight Maintenance. Once you hit your goal weight, weighing yourself weekly will keep you focused. Old habits will tend to creep back in. If you see small increases in your weight, you can make the necessary adjustments.

Weighing yourself correctly is a bit more complicated than you may think. Here’s how I have my clients do it:

1) Make sure you have a research quality scale. I’m a big fan of the Tanita Iron Man (www.tanita.com).  These are digital scales that are highly accurate and can even measure your body fat. They run around $100, but last forever.

2) Pick a day of the week that will be your regular weigh in day. Alcohol, salt, and refined carbohydrates make you retain water like crazy for up to 2 days after consumption. Some of my clients will go up 3-4 pounds after a splurge meal! This is not body fat, just water retention that goes away after a couple of days.

For this reason, you want to eat very clean for 2 days before your weigh in day. That means no splurges, alcohol, or restaurant meals. Since most of my clients splurge on the weekends and get back on track Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday is a natural weigh in day. Personally, I like Saturday morning. I’m very tight with my diet on Thursday and Friday, so Saturday is my day.

3) Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, in your underwear. You wake up in a dehydrated state, which will help control for level of hydration which is a natural confounder for accurate weight readings.

4) Record your weight so you can measure your progress and search for patterns.

Weighing yourself regularly and accurately is a vital tool in your arsenal when trying to lose or maintain your weight. Make sure you use it properly!

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