Monitoring your weight, diet and physical activity are some of the most successful strategies seen across multiple weight-loss studies.
Self-monitoring keeps you accountable and aware of how key behaviors are impacting your health.
If weight loss is one of your health goals, then tracking weight on a regular basis is encouraged.
However, weight tracking should never be punitive.
I hope these tips encourage you to start tracking your weight in a healthy way:
1-See Weight as Only One Measure of Health
The goal of weight management is to achieve improved health, not just to lose weight.
Body weight is just one metric of health.
Depending upon personal goals, other health metrics include improved blood pressure or diabetes control, being able to climb a flight of stairs with less shortness of breath, getting on the floor to play with your children or grandchildren, or feeling more fit and confident.
These health metrics and others often occur with small amounts of weight loss and should be celebrated.
2-Become More Comfortable with Weight Tracking
Weight tracking is a process.
One person may feel comfortable self-weighing daily while someone else may be more comfortable doing so weekly.
For someone else, going through menopause may spur interest in weight tracking to better manage menopausal weight gain.
If you’re implementing lifestyle changes or taking a new weight loss medication, self-weighing gives you feedback as to the impact these changes are having on your body weight.
For my patients who struggle with stepping on the scale, I remind them that their weight number indicates nothing about their self-discipline, self-worth or life accomplishments.
Replacing self-judgement with self-compassion will help you manage weight in a healthier way.
3-Set Your Plan for Routine Weight Tracking
Whether you weigh yourself daily or weekly, weighing yourself at the same time of the day with the same clothes is recommended.
Daily self-weighing, at least to start, enables you to learn your normal, day-to-day fluctuations, which can be 2 to 3 pounds, depending on your dining-out habits (higher salt intake which can add water weight) or a woman’s menstrual cycle.
If you’ve been on a low carbohydrate diet and start adding back carbohydrates, most likely, you’ll start gaining back some weight.
If you’re making lifestyle changes to manage weight, a realistic goal is to lose 1-2 pounds a week.
The self-awareness you gain from weight tracking can be a springboard for making healthy lifestyle changes.
As you become more comfortable with weight tracking, you may also be asking yourself “Doctor, what should I weigh?”
Robert Kushner, MD