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Weighing In

Weighing InWhen actively dieting, a weigh in is risky business especially if the number stays the same or goes up. Suddenly a good day is a bad day, a bad number sending us to a dark place full of frustration. Giving your scale that much judging power about your efforts is unhealthy and inaccurate for a number of reasons.

The number on your scale is only one small indicator of your success with weight management. Your number on one day is not an overall indicator of how your weight control efforts are progressing. When it stays the same or goes up, you need to consider other factors and give the number a better context.

Muscle. When you are exercising and eating lean protein you are building more muscle. Muscle takes up less space and results in your clothes fitting better and your body becoming leaner. An ordinary scale will not give you any information about the shift in your body from fat to muscle. A better indicator is periodic measurements and how your clothes fit.

Water Weight. Your weight can shift 5- 6 pounds in 24 hours. Usually people weigh the least in the early morning because they have fasted several hours and are in a dehydrated state. Sometimes a salty snack, a salty meal or airplane travel the day before can add to water weight. Often your rings will feel tighter than normal or you can see a slight increase in the size of your midsection or lower limbs with water weight.

Temporary state.
Exercise, eating less salt and resuming a diet high in vegetables and lean protein will take off water weight quickly. I often recommend clients wait 48 to 72 hours after airplane travel before weighing in.

Body Check. There are many ways to measure progress besides weighing in. You might start with reviewing your food diary entries with the question, “Have I been making good food choices?” Baseline measurements checked regularly are a better indicator of your progress as well as checking clothing fit. Finally, a side profile check in the mirror may be helpful. What do you see? When eating healthy whole foods along with daily exercise you will see an evolving leaner looking body even without the scale changing.

Self Worth. Your wellness and self worth are directly connected to your daily healthy choices and NOT to a number on the scale. If you prefer data, look at your measurements and percentage of body fat as well as diet diary to track your progress.

In my coaching experience, many of my clients will have a steady state at the scale for several weeks, then a drop of several pounds that continues for a few weeks, then another plateau before additional weight loss. Don’t let a weigh in discourage your intentions or declare a bad day for you. It is just a number, move on and stay on track with your plan.

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