‘Weighing yourself every morning is like waking up and asking Dick Cheney to validate your sense of inner worth’ – Anne Lamott
Back in 2005 I joined Weight Watchers because I got stuck in the bath. Up until that point I’d always just assumed I was a ‘big girl’ and there was nothing I could do about it so I never bothered trying. Having to shamefully manoeuvre my way out of the tub like a beached whale was the wake up call I needed and I went to my first WW class that Monday. I lost the best part of 3 stone over the course of a year and aside from fluctuating half a stone either way I’ve pretty much managed to keep it off.
The thing is now I’m absolutely institutionalised to weighing myself once a week, almost without fail. As is the Weight Watchers way. Even now almost 15 years later I still have a little book where I record my weight every week. Recently I’ve been seeing a few different things online about weighing yourself daily rather than weekly, and similarly advice on measuring yourself weekly and only weighing once a month. An even more shocking theory is not weighing yourself at all. Say whaaat?!
Me at my thinnest ever in 2009
It’s all made me think about what’s best, even my fitbit encourages me to weigh myself daily. If I log my weight weekly it tells me I haven’t lost any weight even though I clearly have, because it’s algorithms are set to forecast your weightloss not just look back retrospectively, and it can’t do that weekly. Have I been worshipping at the altar of the wrong church all along?
Let’s have a look at the benefits of each:
Naturally this is my go to method and has been for years. I feel like you get a more accurate reading of how you’ve done over the week and aren’t bogged down with the daily fluctuations you naturally go through throughout the week. I can easily lose a couple of pounds a week if I’ve been super good (I can similarly gain a couple of pounds a week too if I’ve been In the same room as a slice of cake) but overall I think you get a good insight into the trajectory of your weight. If I do happen to put on weight one week, it’s a sharp wake up call that I’ve taken my foot off the gas a bit and need to reign it in. The only downside I guess is that with weighing myself the same time every week (Friday morning) if I happen to go out and have a big meal or a few drinks on a Thursday night, that shows on the scales the next morning and probably isn’t a true representation of how my weight has been over the course of the week. I’m just full of curry and red wine.
I’ll be honest I’ve tried this and it just didn’t work for me. I completely understand the benefits, especially if you have a fitbit (I’m sure other fitness trackers will do it too) as it works out your weight as an average rather than one standalone weekly number. So as mentioned above it doesn’t matter if you have a big meal the night before ‘weigh day’. It also means if you happen to be ‘up on bricks’ and my husband delicately calls it (ladies) it doesn’t matter that you’ve spiked up 3lbs overnight because it will even itself out naturally. The problem I have is that it’s those natural daily fluctuations that depress me. If I weight myself every day and I’ve put on a pound one morning, when I feel like I was good the day before, it upsets me, puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and is more likely to make me thing ‘sod it give me a Twirl. Dipped in Nutella. Rolled in sugar. With cream’
I wish I had the discipline for this because there are times where I’m such a slave to the scales I don’t ever consider other options. I also think that knowing my weight is what keeps me on the straight and narrow although I also know that the number on the scales isn’t always the best representation of how fit you are. The last two years I’ve done the Great North Run and both years my clothes started hanging off me yet there was very little change on the scales. So in those months I wish I’d measured myself to get that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know the numbers are going down. Because if watching the numbers go down is your thing, then does it really matter if the numbers are on the scales or on the tape measure? I just know I don’t have the tenacity to stay motivated if I can’t regularly keep an eye on my progress. If I knew I didn’t have to weigh myself I would cheat way too much and be the size of a pregnant rhinoceros in a fortnight.
Of course all of these options are only for if you’re trying to lose weight, you may of course be perfectly happy with the weight you are and not even own a set of bathroom scales, because life’s too short to spend the amount of time worrying about your weight that I do. In which case if you could loan me some of your self worth that would be lovely because you my friend are my hero!
I fall into the category of not owning scales. Around 3/4 years ago I realised that I didn’t want to live my life by being a slave to the scales or dieting (as they never worked for me) so now I am just happy as I am. If I feel like I need to eat healthier and exercise for a bit, I will (without the scales encouragement). If I don’t, I won’t. I am so less stressed now because of it!
I still weigh myself weekly too (thanks Weight Watchers!) I think I’m too terrified to ever stop because I’m so aware of where I came from and how easily I could go back there!
I tend to not bother when I know I’ve had a bad week (I’d rather not know the Christmas, birthday or holiday damage) but if I then need a “reality check” to spur me into action I’ll have a little look and when I’m in the zone I weigh myself every Saturday morning without fail (Saturdays work for me cos it means I’m good on Friday when I really want to be bad!)
I”m not sure I’ll ever be able to give up now … I’ll be doing this for life!
I think it’s something I will always do as well, as you say, I would be right back to square one if I didn’t!