Improving Your Relationship With Your Scale
Do you find yourself hopping on the scale every morning? Maybe you’re the person who only weighs themselves once a week or maybe you don’t weigh yourself at all and go by the fit of your clothes. I know of some people who, disagreeing with the results on the scale, decide to move the scale over, thinking the floor is somehow throwing off the reading. After weight loss surgery, our relationship with our scale is no less complicated than it was before surgery. Patients often ask me how often they should weigh themselves and my answer to them is that there is no one method that fits all; it’s really dependent on the person.
Weight can fluctuate throughout the day due to many different factors such as water retention (maybe due to high sodium consumption), constipation, hormonal changes, exercise, and what you eat and drink that day. Take carbohydrates, for example. Our bodies store carbohydrates as glycogen. Each gram of glycogen is bound to water, which means weight can fluctuate quickly with a change in carbohydrate intake. If you find that your weight is up 3-4 pounds at the end of the day, this has little to do with actual fat gain but instead may be due to some of these factors. So how often you weigh yourself depends mostly on your personality type. Here are a few ways to help you decide:
Daily Weigh-In: If a daily fluctuation in numbers doesn’t cause stress or discourage you in your weight loss process, then you may be fine weighing yourself daily. Make sure you weigh yourself the same time of day, preferably in the morning after using the bathroom.
Weekly Weigh-In: You don’t want the mood of each day to be determined by a number on the scale. If you are the type to become stressed or discouraged by seeing the number on the scale fluctuate daily, try weighing yourself once a week. If you choose to weigh yourself weekly, weigh yourself on the same day at the same time every week, preferably in the morning after using the bathroom.
No Weigh-Ins: If you choose to never step on the scale and wait for the surprise when visiting your bariatric surgeon or primary doctor, make sure to pay close attention to external cues. These can be cues such as the fit of your clothes, measurements, progress photos, your sleep quality and energy levels and resolution of your medical problems.
Regardless of how you choose to track your progress, if you know that day to day that you are making healthy food choices, focusing on protein, sticking to a set meal structure while avoiding grazing/picking, and being active, you should not let the number on the scale determine your self-worth. Make sure to focus on your non-scale victories. Sometimes we put so much focus on the number on the scale and forget what the surgery has allowed us to do that we weren’t able to do prior to the surgery.
Try writing down goals you have achieved and keep goals you hope to achieve in the future visible to you. During our Tuesday Talks support group, people often share non-scale victories they are most proud of and set goals for future victories. Have a look at the list and maybe there are one or two you can set as your goal for this year.
- Able to go to the store and buy clothes that I feel comfortable in
- Walk on the beach and enjoy it without being out of breath
- Being able to be more active with my teenage daughter in the heat
- Order new summer clothes online
- Started dating and got engaged!
- Improved relationship with family and able to travel more with them
- Able to be active every day and out and about with family
- Able to sit comfortably on an airplane on the way to Ireland and participate in daily hikes
- No more worrying about fitting in a restaurant booth or in an airplane seat
- Being more active with my granddaughter and able to ride on the Disney rides, fit through the turnstiles
- Able to tie my shoes with no problem
- Able to run a 5k
- Walking faster than my husband at the park
- Play soccer with my students at recess
Goals for Next Summer
- 150-mile bike ride from Manhattan to Montauk
- Go to the base camp of Mount Everest
- Being able to go through turnstiles comfortably; walk around NYC
Do you have a non-scale victory? Share it in the comments section below!