Weighing yourself every day, let alone three or more times a day, in short, is obsessive. Most nutritionists and dietitians will swear that it is mentally unhealthy and because of a lot of factors, a poor way of tracking your weight. In reality, the best way to weigh yourself is once a week, on the same day and at the same time, preferably in the morning. Further, gauging how you feel physically and mentally is important in assessing how healthy you are. Yet, I did the unthinkable recently: I weighed myself six times a day for a solid month.
Wait! Before you get judgmental, there was reason behind my madness. No, I was not trying to squeeze into my bikini. I did not have a big event to go to. I wasn't even trying to lose weight. I was, however, conducting a self-study on how weight is affected by different factors. This 'study' included my weighing myself when I woke up, in the middle of the day and at night, both naked and clothed. Additionally, I kept a journal and recorded what I ate and drank, when I went to the bathroom, when and how much sleep I got, and yes, what I weighed. My findings? Pretty interesting:
- The 80% / 20% rule works: I'm a big believer in sticking to a pretty healthy diet Sunday night through Friday afternoon, and allowing myself indulgences Friday night and Saturday. In my study, my weight was always the lowest on Friday morning, and heaviest on Monday morning. The indulgences that may have 'put on a couple of pounds' over the weekend was compensated by my healthy habits during the week. (If you are trying to lose weight, you will want to raise the 'healthy diet' percentage to 85% - 90%.)
- You lose weight while you sleep: Every night, I would weigh somewhere between 1.5 - 2.5 pounds more than I would the next morning. Although some of this can be attributed to the morning bathroom visit, some of it can also be attributed to nighttime calorie burn.
- Regularity means weight consistency: Yep, if I was not regular, it would definitely add up in pounds. Depending on the length of time between bowel movements, I could see a 1/2 pound to 1 pound add up with no other explanation for weight gain.
- Water causes the biggest changes: When I drank a lot of water, I would end up weighing a lot by the end of the day. Sometimes, a couple of pounds more. However, in the morning, I would see the biggest weight drop. The hydration factor truly does help you eliminate waste and keep you regular.
- Sodium adds pounds: I love sushi. In using soy sauce, however, I would see 'weight gain' caused by the water retention due to my sodium intake. If I used the low-sodium soy sauce, however, I wouldn't see as much of a 'weight gain.'
- Alcohol's delayed impact: If I every indulged in alcohol past a glass or two of wine, it would show up 36 hours later. This assumed that I ate a normal amount (no late night munchies). Basically, I would weigh less the next day, but would weigh more the day after.
- Clothes are an unpredictable variable: Pajamas don't add weight. But, put on a pair of jeans, boots and a belt with a big buckle, and you are sure to weigh a couple pounds more.
- Travel takes a toll: Whether I was flying or traveling by car, I always weighted more for a couple of days. Most of the time when you travel, your regularity and hydration levels are disrupted, which can be contributing factors.
- PMS puts on pounds: Ok...not a lot. But, I would definitely see a 1/2 pound or 1 pound extra due to water retention.
- Weighing yourself every day is pointless: The BEST thing I learned, was that indeed, weighing yourself every day, let alone more than once a day, is a really bad way of judging your health, let alone your weight. Further, it can do a real number on your head...talk about addictive!
I was glad when I was done. I am finally weening myself off of the daily weigh-ins. I do believe that weighing yourself can have benefits...like ensuring you stay within a healthy range of weight. But, using the scale to monitor your health is a sure way to make you crazy.
How often do you weigh yourself? Have you noticed any of these trends?
NOTE: Throughout this experiment, my weight stayed within five pounds.