Healthy Living

Weighing In – My Relationship With a Scale

I just bought a brand new digital bathroom scale, so naturally I step on it every time I’m anywhere near the bathroom in order to watch my weight fluctuate. A mammoth salad for lunch? I’m up two pounds! A pleasant ramble with the Yorkie-poo? They’ve gone! Dinner at my sister’s house? They’re back! But by tomorrow morning, they’ll probably be gone again.

Or not.

Once the fascination of this new toy wears off, I’ll probably revert to my usual routine, which is to weigh myself whenever I happen to be naked in the bathroom with my glasses on. (Without them, I can barely see the scale itself, let alone the numbers.)

A friend once confided that when it comes to evaluating the mental health of her girlfriends, she had but one simple criteria. Their bathroom scale. No scale at all? Enviably sane and well-adjusted. An ordinary bathroom scale? Normal. Spa-quality scale measuring not only weight but body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone mass and total body water? Probably needs therapy.

With this in mind, I logged onto Facebook and asked my pals how often they weighed themselves.

Many told me that they just aren’t into it.

“I never weigh myself.”

“Doctor’s office only.”

“I threw away the scale years ago. My feeling is that unless you are in need of great weight loss, there is no need for a scale in your life.”

“How often do I weigh myself? Like, uh, never! If I can button my jeans, dayenu.”

This “by the seat of your pants” method of tracking weight was, in fact, quite popular:

“I don’t need a scale. I can tell if I gain or lose weight by how my clothes fit.”

“If my “Happy Weight Pants” feel too tight, I know I’m in trouble.”

But my pal Suzanne wasn’t buying it:

“I have a scale to keep myself honest,” she told me. “I usually wear baggy clothes so if I wait till they feel tight — it’s too late.” Many of my friends, like Suzanne, weigh themselves on a regular basis. How often?

“Every morning.“

“Every day!”

“Every day. Ugh.”

“Every few days. It’s the key to staying within a weight range.”

“Too often, almost every morning, and for what? Nothing ever changes, unfortunately.”

Certain multi-taskers incorporate a weight check into some other part of their routine.

“I weigh myself whenever I hit the basement to do the laundry.“

“I weigh myself once a week when I go grocery shopping. My grocery store has one of those old-fashioned scales.”

I did wonder for a moment about the following response:

“How often do I weigh myself? Once every 17 years!”

Why 17? Is it in accordance with some arcane algorithm? Whenever a particular comet passes the earth? Every time the Cicadas return and begin their chirping? I could have asked, but I decided that it was more fun not to know.

So how often, according to the experts, should you weigh yourself?

It depends on what you want. If you need to lose weight, weighing yourself daily can help. One study, cited by “Prevention Magazine” in an article called (with no apparent irony) “Make Friends With Your Scale,“ found that people who weighed themselves each day dropped twice as many pounds as those who got on the scale once a week.

Whereas dieters who avoided the scale altogether actually gained 4 pounds.

Further, according to the National Weight Control Registry (who knew there was such a thing??) 44% of their members who have lost 30 lbs or more and kept them off for more than a year weigh themselves daily.

Neither study said anything about middle-aged women with brand new bathroom scales who check their weight (to the ounce!) every few minutes.

Which, for the sake of my own sanity, is probably just as well.


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One Comment

  • zestnow


    POSTED JULY 12, 2014
    The scale is on my mind too but maybe I should add mindfulness into my life for a better body. This idea was new to me https://upsideof50.com/view/health-happiness/healthy-living/701/6-tips-use-mindfulness-to-improve-fitness.html

    by DIANNE, NY
    POSTED JULY 09, 2014
    It was always so hard for me to lose weight, I was in a constant battle with food and the scale! But, recently I’ve been eating much healthier and weighing myself every day!

    POSTED MARCH 10, 2014
    I’m a devotee of the scale. This gives me a chance to create imaginative excuses for different weights on different scales at different times of day.

    by DIANNE, NY
    POSTED MARCH 08, 2014
    I’m currently on the “tight or fitting clothes” system, but have to admit that when I was weighing myself in the morning every day, I was much better at regulating how much I ate that day based on my morning weight. Tip: weighing yourself before tea/coffee/breakfast so that you are at your daily lowest weight is the best way to keep your morale up!

    by STEPHEN
    POSTED MARCH 07, 2014
    Nice essay. And I weigh myself a few times a week!

    POSTED MARCH 07, 2014
    I go by how my clothes fit. And finances. I’m not investing in a wardrobe of another size. I eat a balanced diet. Balanced between chopped salads, fried chicken and healthy food…and a bit of chocolate.

    by JULIA, CO
    POSTED MARCH 07, 2014
    My girlfriend weighs herself daily, anguishing over every gained/lost/neutral ounce. And she’s thin. I tell her weight just fluctuates, and to weigh weekly, to keep from making herself nuts. Me, I figure if I have to go up a pants size, it’s time to shed some lbs. Sometimes I’ll weigh myself at her house and say, “Hey! I lost three pounds since yesterday!” which may or may not be true, but it’s just my reward for leaving the seat down for her. I’m a gentleman that way.

    POSTED MARCH 06, 2014
    Not being able to read the bathroom scale without your glasses on? The perfect solution!

    by ISY
    POSTED MARCH 06, 2014
    I’m the one who judges her weight by the button on her jeans, not a scale. Truth be told, I sewed a second button onto my jeans several years ago, giving myself a basis for comparison. Is this a first button day or a second? You’ll never know because I let my shirts hang out over the jean’s waistband.

    by STACIA
    POSTED MARCH 06, 2014
    Yep. I’m THAT Suzanne. The one with the baggy clothes. I’m living in Hawaii for 3 months with no scale, after a 13 day cruise. Not a good idea.


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