Scales are one of the most popular ways to measure progress when losing weight. This is because they are quick and easy to use, cheap and most people have a set of scales at home
Have realistic expectations
Do you weigh yourself every day after starting a new diet or exercise program? Do you get upset when you don't see changes every day? Unfortunately there are lots of diets that tell people you can lose kilograms in a week and so people have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they should lose weight.
When you first start a new diet you will probably lose weight quite quickly in the first week (2-3kg), however this is mostly water weight. After this your weight loss should slow down and a good, healthy amount of weight loss is about 4-500 g a week, so the chances are you are not really going to see any real changes if you weigh yourself on a daily basis
Always weigh yourself under the same conditions
A key mistake people make when weighing themselves is that they don't weigh themselves under the same conditions. Your bodyweight can change (go up or down) by a few kilograms in a day depending on how hydrated you are, whether you have eaten, if you are ill, the time of day, hormonal changes and of course the clothes you are weighing. The other thing to remember is that every scale will be slightly different so don't be surprised if you use 2 scales and get 2 different readings.
If you want to track your weight accurately then follow these rules:
Don't weigh yourself after a holiday
- Initial weigh in (weigh yourself before you start a new diet)
- Same Time (always weigh yourself at the same time of day e.g before breakfast)
- Same Scales (always use the same scales)
- Same Clothing (always wear the same clothing when you weigh yourself)
There are times when we enjoy ourselves with our friends and family (Christmas, holidays, birthdays, Friday evenings....) and on these occasions it is likely we will indulge, we may have a few drinks or a slice of cake, or pizza (I can never resist pizza).
The point is that this is part of life and after these times we know that we are going to weigh a bit more. However this is just your bodies reaction to the change in diet and after a few days if you get back to your previous diet and exercise it will readjust. So there is no point weighing yourself the day after and upsetting yourself. Focus on getting back on track and then you can weigh yourself again
Weight Does not Tell the Whole Story
Weight can give be useful, however it is not telling you the whole story, this is because it is not telling you what your body composition is (i.e how much fat, muscle, water etc your body has). If you are going to start a new exercise program as well as a new diet you may find that you are putting on muscle as well as losing fat. This means that your actual weight may not decrease that much but you have decreased your overall body fat content. This is why other ways of measuring progress can be useful...... There are other methods
Weighing can be a good way of measuring progress, however I always recommend to clients that they combine it with other methods. For example:
- Take regular photos (and make sure they are under the same conditions!)
- See how your clothes fit
- See if you are getting compliments from other people