Oh, the scale.
When it comes to weight loss the topic of the scale is never really all that far behind.
Many of us have some kind of history of a relationship with the scale.
To be frank, it’s not always the best.
We have THOUGHTS related to the scale, and just the idea of hopping on it can bring up SO much drama.
“Is the number up? Is it down? What does it MEAN?!”
At the end of the day, whether you love the scale or you totally hate it, you have to make a choice about the role it is (or isn’t) going to play on your weight loss journey.
Because you ARE going to lose weight. With or without the scale. The key is to decide intentionally, in advance, what role the scale is going to play because YOU are the one that’s in control.
Curious as to how to do this? Take a nice, deep breath, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and read on for all of my tips on IF you should weigh yourself, and how to measure your weight loss progress.
#1: Decide Specifically How You Will Measure Progress
I am going to be super clear here. You do NOT need to weigh yourself. However, you are going to need some sort of way of measuring your progress.
You don’t need the measurement, whatever it is, so that you can prove to yourself, to me, or anyone else what kind of progress you are making.
All you need is a starting point and a way to check in with yourself along the way. That’s it!
It’s not about making sure that you are moving forward in any kind of specific timeline. If you approach the process this way you are setting yourself up for some disappointments.
You simply need an uncomplicated metric to help you see where you are at.
This might be the scale. Or a pair of pants that you check in and see if they are too tight/too small. It could be measurements. Often times a current photo can be a great starting point too.
Choose one or multiple ways of measuring your progress that you feel will work best for you. You can always redecide if some metric somewhere doesn’t seem to be working out.
I personally use photos and the scale to measure my progress. I have a wifi digital scale that measures my weight, body fat, muscle mass, water content, etc.
This is a newer version of the one I use. It takes all my data and uploads it right into an app and BOOM. Done! https://amzn.to/44RE67c
Now I know that these at home digital scales aren’t as accurate as getting a fancy body scan. However, what they do accomplish is they give me some metrics to see my progress over time. This is something that I find particularly useful and helpful.
I also love to use photos. They give me a literal snapshot in time of what I look like, and that is so helpful. I have learned to love myself and my body at all of its sizes and stages, so the photos for me are a lot of fun.
Pick whatever metrics you are the most comfortable with, and then…
#2: Decide How Often You are Going to Consistently Check in and Measure Your Progress
In addition to deciding which metrics you will use to measure your progress, you also need to decide how often you are going to check in.
You will want to be very consistent with this so that you can start to gather data.
At first there may not be that much change, or there may be changes you don’t like, but that’s OK!
The idea is to gather data over an extended period of time so that you can see the direction your body is headed overall.
I weigh myself on the scale every single day. This gives me a lot of data, and a snapshot of where my body is at.
Sometimes the scale is up, sometimes it’s down, but all it is at the end of the day is information.
I am also consistent with the time of day that I weigh myself. It is always first thing in the morning, before I drink my first 16 oz of water, and after I pee. I never have anything on but my apple watch.
This gives me consistent data so that I can see what my body is up to.
In terms of photos I take photos of myself all of the time. I will take photos in my closet in the mirror, in the basement in the mirror before a Peloton ride…I have TONS of photos.
I kind of hate before/after photos, so I don’t really do that, but I do love to see how my body changes and evolves over time. I think it’s FUN. Speaking of, whatever metric you choose…
#3: Get Curious and Make it Fun
You need to get curious about the data you are collecting and make it fun.
This means, if you get on the scale and you see a number that you weren’t expecting, or that you aren’t particularly happy with, remind yourself that it’s just a snapshot in time.
That it’s just where your body is at this moment today. Get curious.
Say to yourself, “Oh. That’s interesting. The number is ____ (insert up/down/steady here). I wonder why that might be?”
Notice that this is way better than “Holy crap. How did this happen? I am so disgusting. What am I even doing? I knew there was no way this would ever work.”
Notice how one of these ways of looking at your data could lead to something useful/productive, and the other way just makes you feel like poop.
No one wants to feel like poop. We want to feel like we are curious, interested, and moving forward. We want it to be FUN.
When I jump on the scale in the morning I just approach it as a moment where I am taking some time to have a little bit of fun and check in with myself.
I approach everything related to my body this way. Like, for example, I am going for a 25 mile bike ride this evening and I have no idea how it’s going to go. So I am just thinking, “ah this will be fun! Not sure how fast I will be, but I will be with friends and we will have a great time.”
I make it fun, just like I make jumping on the scale and measuring my progress each day fun.
#4: Expect Ups and Downs
Weight loss is not a steady stream downward. It’s just not.
When I lost my weight a few years ago for the last time, and I measured my progress, my weight was ALL freaking over the place. Some days the scale would be up or down multiple pounds from the day before.
There are so many reasons for this! We may be retaining more or less water on that day. We may be at a certain point in our menstrual cycle. Whatever the reason, these ups and downs are both natural and inevitable.
Instead of letting it get to you, just focus on letting it come. Know that you are playing the long game. You are working on making better choices related to your body more often than you are not.
As you work through this process and start consistently forming habits that facilitate your weight loss, that number is going to come down. Those pants are going to fit a little better. Your progress photos are going to start showing your results.
Don’t get discouraged. Keep moving forward. Trust that the weight loss WILL come. The only difference between someone who loses weight and someone who doesn’t is that the person who loses weight doesn’t give up.
#5: Don’t Forget to Celebrate!
All victories are worthy of celebration…both big and small.
Did you stick to your meal plan today? Do a little dance!
Is the scale moving in the direction you want it to? Give yourself a little high five in that mirror of yours!
Pants feeling a bit looser? Strut your stuff and show it off!
Did climbing up that hill on your bike feel a little easier today? Maybe let yourself yell out a “WHEEEEE!!!” On the way down the other side.
When we focus more on what’s going well, and on what’s going right, we focus less on what’s wrong.
We create more of the good stuff instead of ruminating on and focusing on the bad.
We celebrate. We have fun. We feel good. We can’t wait to do it all again.
A Final Note…
So many people have so many thoughts and opinions on whether or not you should weight yourself and how often.
At the end of the day you need to be intentional about measuring your progress and decide what metric is right for YOU.
Literally everything related to weight loss follows this same principle. You need a plan that’s yours. A metric that’s yours. You need a LIFE that’s, you guessed it, yours.
I know you can absolutely do this. Manage your thoughts about the scale and make intentional choices about how and how often you are going to measure your progress.
You’ve got this. You WILL lose weight. I believe in you.