First let me start with this – the scale isn’t everything. It is one tool in our toolbox of objectifying data we perceive about our progress and therefore it is useful to a point.
However, if one’s goal is to lose body fat or build muscle – or even just maintain, it is a very valuable tool in providing feedback and information about our progress.
Many professionals have their opinions on weighing in, and how often it should be done, and what is right or wrong – but they miss the point of what mindset you need to be in for the appropriate measure to be effective.
Here is why I am in favor of daily weighing:
ProTip 1: daily weighing requires the right mindset – distance yourself from emotion tied to the scale.
Easier said than done, and it takes practice – but when you weigh yourself daily, you need to not let that number bother you. IT is just a number. It doesn’t make you good or bad – it just says what you weigh in pounds at that exact time.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – IF YOU CANNOT MASTER THIS MINDSET SHIFT, DAILY WEIGHING MIGHT NOT BE FOR YOU!
ProTip 2: do your daily weigh in’s first thing in the morning, naked, and after you empty your bladder.
Our weight can fluctuate like crazy over the course of a day. I have weighed 205 in the morning and been 215 before bed on the same day – no, I didn’t gain 10 pounds of fat in one day.
This is where the scales weakness is exposed. It ONLY tells us our weight. Our daily weight can be different because:
- We havent peed yet
- We havent pooped yet
- We slept like crap
- We ate a lot of carbs last night
- We ate a lot of salt last night
- We drank alcohol last night
- Women are on their period
- We are under tons of stress
These reasons are all linked to one thing mostly: water retention. So if we can try to minimize the variables and weigh ourselves every single day at the same time, under the same-ish circumstances – that helps.
ProTip 3: when using daily weighing – focus on the TRENDS, not the day or even week alone.
Losing weight can be frustrating when you focus on immediate gratification. For daily weighing, we take away the “once per week doomsday weigh in scenario”. You know it… “I only weigh myself on Fridays”…so then you eat really “good” up until then, sometimes starving yourself on Thursday, but as soon as you weigh in on Friday – you go hog wild over the weekend. That’s not a way to live.
When you weigh yourself daily, you step on, see your weight, track it somewhere – and move on. From this we can look at general trends.
Example: Person A wants to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Very reasonable goal!
Weight on Day 1: 220
Weight on Day 7: 219 – Yay! Lost a pound doing great!
Weight on Day 14: 221 – $#!T! WTF%@*&^!&$#
We have all been there before. You think you are doing everything right, and this happens! So demotivating. Now, did person A GAIN 2 pounds of fat from Day 7 to 14? We don’t know. Maybe it was just a long night, and they had some pasta and wine, because they are stressed out. We don’t know because this is the main flaw of weekly weighing. We can’t see trends.
This is the point when person A might: 1)give up or 2)get on a more drastic diet that maybe they don’t need…
Now lets look at Person B – same weight, same goals, but daily weighing.
- Day 1: 220
- Day 2: 219.8
- Day 3: 220.1
- Day 4:219.0
- Day 5:219.5
- Day 6: 220
- Day 7: 219.0 —– Add up, divide by 7 = 219.62 – this is progress downward
- Day 8: 219.5
- Day 9: 218.8
- Day 10: 218.4
- Day 11: 219.5
- Day 12: 218.3
- Day 13 : 219.5
- Day 14: 221 —- Add up, divide by 7 = 219.28 – again progress in the right direction.
But Mike, thats only a loss of 0.72 pounds in 2 weeks…
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Look at the daily weights now. You see some 218’s in there showing up more frequently, and if you rule out the jump to 221 – you would see a much bigger drop in the average. This person could easily get past that one day at 221, and average out at 217 the next week.
Over time this is what weight loss progress looks like when you use daily weighing:
When you look at only one week, it looks like nothing. But over 6 months? PROGRESS!
This is why I am in favor of the daily weigh ins.
- Track trends, not single moments in time
- It allows us to reflect on the “why” is our weight up vs. just guessing once per week
- It provides a sense of motivation with the right mindset.
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