Hello everybody, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Welcome back to LWFY! Today I’m discussing weighing in on the scale, so let’s get right to it…
You probably let yourself indulge with your family and friends for this feast filled holiday, and that is 100% ok! As we all know, food-focused socializing is part of our culture, and the holidays are certainly no exception. The most important thing is to get right back into your healthy routine without skipping a beat. If you’re anything like me, then you likely jumped on that scale the day of Thanksgiving (before you ate one bite), and maybe jumped back on again the next day or two in order to see how much you “gained.” The question is, “How often is too often to get on the scale, and are you potentially weighing yourself too much?”
The truth of the matter is that after a couple days of eating freely, it may take you a week or so to settle back in and see that familiar number on the scale. It takes your body time to process out the effect of all that excess food. The good news is that the higher number that we see on the scale after chowing down is unlikely actual weight that you have gained as a result from fat storage. It is most likely from sodium consumption (which retains water), and loaded up bowel contents. (Sorry to use the word bowel, but I’m a medical person, and it’s the truth!)
Remember it takes 3,500 calories consumed to gain 1 pound of fat. (Check back to my previous post titled Keeping a Food Diary is The Best Way to Keep Track of Your Calorie Intake. In this post I give you an equation to map out your calorie requirements.) Therefore it’s unlikely that you would actually “gain” real weight after indulging in a day or two of heavy eating.
I generally advise that you weigh yourself:
- Once a week
- In the morning
- In the buff (aka naked)
- After a bathroom break
- Before a shower
There are two times that are bad times to weigh in because they will lead to inaccurate readings. First one is at night after having been eating throughout the day, because your number will undoubtedly be higher. The second bad time to weigh in is after your cardio routine because your number will be lower than it truly is due to water loss through sweat.
Now I know it’s hard, but you cannot obsess over the number on the scale. Even when I’m eating my cleanest, my weight can fluctuate 2,3,4, or even 5 pounds from day to day, but it’s not real “weight.” It’s natural body functions causing fluctuations: fluid retention (ladies “that time of the month”), bowel contents (there’s that word again), certain medications you may be taking, recent activity levels, or even stress. I know that the scale is our go-to tool for tracking progress, but too much weighing in can be discouraging when you’ve been working really hard to reach your goal and you’re expecting your body to weigh an exact amount. The scale is an object, you are a human being. We as human beings aren’t exactly exact. (Did that make sense?)
Please know that I have been through all the physical and emotional stages of losing weight. I know what you’re going through from direct personal experience. I’ve obsessed over the number on the scale and even had days that I perceived as completely ruined(!) based on that number. It’s not worth it! As I said before, simply track your weight loss on a weekly basis by picking the same time and the same circumstances. My day is Friday morning, it’s a personal preference, and it’s a little reward for maintaining my weight for another week.
Remember this (and I have to remind myself also) at the end of the day, you are more than the number on your scale. You are much more. The number on the scale is important, but it also matters how much effort you’re putting in and how you look, feel, and fit into your jeans! Don’t beat yourself up, that will only lead to frustration.
If you need additional support, you know how to find me! I welcome you to sign up for health coaching sessions with me, and you don’t even have to be here in New York City. I work with people from all over the country via iChat or Skype!
Love you all, and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season ahead!