Should you actually weigh yourself? At all? When you are on a diet? When you are intuitive eating? With so much emphasis on ending diet culture, dieting and body positivity why weigh yourself at all? Here are my thoughts on whether you should weigh yourself from both a professional and personal perspective.
When is it OK to weigh yourself?
From a professional point of view, it’s important to record your body’s measurements as a starting point if you are overweight, obese, have a medical diagnosis that requires treatment or are due to undergo an operation that requires anesthesia.
As adults we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that if you aren’t in a healthy weight range for your height and age then you are overweight and need to go on a diet. This should never be the case.
If you think about a baby when they’re born, their weight is recorded for many years to see if they are meeting their developmental milestones. If they aren’t, there might be an underlying issue.
The same could apply for an adult and that’s why a medical professional might weigh you and continue to weigh you if you are undergoing treatment of some kind.
For everyday use, there are some opinions, for and against as to whether you should weigh yourself on a regular basis and how often you should do it.
How often should you weigh yourself?
If you do have to lose weight due to health reasons, there are some who say that weighing yourself everyday gives a more accurate measurement.
There are so many reasons why your weight could fluctuate from day to day which include:
- water weight gain
- a salty meal or high-salt diet
- alcohol consumption
- caffeine consumption (acts as a diuretic)
- what you ate the night before
- a high-carb diet
- weekend binge-eating
- underlying health conditions
- pregnancy etc.
My personal recommendation is to weigh yourself initially as a starting point, if you do need to lose weight and rely on other ways to monitor any weight loss. Booking a consultation with your doctor can help to identify if there any other underlying issues for your weight gain and they can monitor your weight for you.
Alternatively, booking a 30 minute free consultation with me to discuss your current eating plan and style and any other diet related health issues can help you adopt a more intuitive style of eating and end the dieting cycle.
Other ways to measure your weight
Other measurement indicators like taking your body measurements, eg waistline, upper arms, thigh and hips, can be used as a guide if you are aiming to lose weight.
Your overall health and wellness, that is how you feel (mentally and physically), how your clothes fit and how you live day to day should be a better indicator instead of the number on the scales.
The National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute recommends controlling your weight through behavior change, which is my recommendation. Developing a more intuitive style of eating will allow more freedom around how you feel about food, create a more healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family and put an end to a diet mentality.
Your doctor may request a blood test which will highlight any underlying medical issues that you may need to focus on instead of your weight.
Risks associated with focusing on weight
If you are someone who struggles with being overweight or underweight, weighing yourself on a regular basis not be ideal for you.
It can sometimes have a negative effect on your mental health if you don’t see a weight loss or gain. You’re focusing too much on foods being good or bad and not eating all foods in moderation and for overall health and wellness.
When this happens you feel like a failure, feel worthless, can suffer anxiety or stress, give up, binge eat or eat less.
Focus more on nourishing your body with foods that are nutritious for your body and taste good. Include incidental movement into your day and look at taking up physical exercise that you enjoy doing, eg gardening, dancing, nature walks, martial arts etc.
Feeling good about your body, your health and your size should be more important than the number on the scales. Unless you have an underlying medical condition that requires your weight to be monitored by a health professional, you are so much better worrying about your overall health and wellness by enjoying all foods in moderation and finding daily movement that you enjoy doing. Love your body and keep it fueled with nourishing food.
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