Okay, let’s cut to the chase. Who out there is struggling with weight? I’m going to guess about 80% of us – no scientific evidence, just a gut feel. Some of us are trying to lose it, while others are trying to gain it. Many are just trying to stay where they are, which gets harder as one ages.
There are a bunch of tools and tricks many of us use to stay focused on our particular goal; for instance, food journals, calorie counting, exercise Apps, portion control, water intake, healthy plate guidelines, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, detox, green smoothies, and the list goes on.
What about the scale?
Do you have a scale? If so, how helpful is it to achieving your ‘ideal’ weight?
As we discuss the pros and cons of using a scale, keep in mind that:
- ‘Ideal’ is a range that is considered healthy according to your particular circumstances, and more importantly it is a state of mind.
- If the number on the scale is going to ruin your day, then don’t step on it! If the number is a data point to inform you of your current state, then use the information wisely.
- The human body is a dynamic organism that changes minute by minute so fluctuations are a reality when you step on the scale. For instance, my weight can vary by 2 to 3 pounds within a 24 hour period.
- The accuracy of scales vary based on their quality. Do the research and get a digital scale that is accurate to 0.2 lbs. Advances in technology have made professional quality scales affordable for individual consumers.
Friend or Foe?
There are different views about the usefulness of scales for weight management. At the extremes, some people think scales are indispensable, while others think they are destructive.
Consider some of these differing views on regular weighing:
|According to research, people experience greater weight loss & maintenance with regular weighing.||There may be negative psychological impacts, i.e. mood swings, obsession with a “number” that may not be healthy or realistic. People with eating disorders are particularly vulnerable.|
|Weight fluctuation is an important ‘early warning’ for many diseases.||There is more to being healthy than weight. Other measures may be more appropriate such as body fat percentage or waist circumference.|
|Regular weighing help to self-monitor so you manage behavior early enough. Other weight management measures, i.e. how clothes fit, may be too late.||Weight fluctuates regularly based on many factors, e.g. meal & fluids intake, hormones, time of weigh in, etc. so what’s the real number?|
|Blogger’s Perspective – For Scale Use||Blogger’s Perspective – Against Scale Use|
So, what’s the answer?
Think about your relationship with the scale. If it makes you miserable more than it motivates you, or if it makes you think, “What the heck, I might as well eat more…” then stay off.
Mary and I have slightly different views on the value of the scale. While I am a daily scale user, Mary uses it in moderation.
I must admit that there are days when the scale feels like a foe. On those days, I sit back to reflect on what’s happening. Is it an anomaly? Is the trend going up or down? Is there a pattern? How do my clothes fit? How do I feel? Sometimes the answers lead to making changes in my nutrition and exercise. Most of the times I tell myself to relax because 80% of the time I practice healthy living habits!
What’s your view? Tell us, is the scale your friend or foe?
- “Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268700/