To weigh, or not to weigh; that is the question

weigh-689873_1920Every dieter there ever was has been told, ‘don’t weigh yourself too often’. Once a week is enough, we’re told. But I beg to disagree. And it seems these days, that even the experts are on my side.

Previously when I’ve been trying to lose weight, I would weigh myself every seven days. That’s what they said you should do.  Weigh yourself too often, they said, and you’ll become obsessive about it.

That pre-shower moment on Monday mornings could make or break my week.  It could catapult me into orbit… ‘oh, the joy, I’ve lost TWO pounds!’… or it could send me plummeting into a pit of irrational desperation.  Yes, it can be so disheartening, after a week of careful eating and energetic exercise, to get that exquisitely cruel Monday Morning Feeling, when the weighing scales refuse to play ball.

In truth, it happens, for so many reasons:

  • You had a big dinner last night
  • You usually starve yourself on Sundays and this week, you didn’t
  • You’re retaining water, time-of-the-month stylie
  • You forgot yourself and drank a glass of water before you jumped on the scales
  • Your obstinate body is retaining water for no apparent reason
  • You drank too much water
  • You didn’t drink enough water
  • You drank wine last night – heaven forfend!
  • You consumed a Twiglet, a toffee bonbon, a KitKat… [insert favourite temptation here]
  • You’re exercising, so you’re building muscle
  • You’re not exercising so you’re laying down fat
  • Your once rigorously controlled portion sizes have begun to creep up
  • Your colon is in a sluggish mood
  • You haven’t been for a couple of days
  • You’re not eating enough fibre
  • You’re eating too much meat
  • You have plateaued, the dieter’s ultimate frustration…

A few weeks after I acquired my Fitbit, I treated myself to some Fitbit Aria scales. They link up to my Fitbit app via Bluetooth. I step on the scales and a minute later, the result is pinging up on my iPhone.  Up until my Aria scales came into service, I had weighed myself once a week.  It was alright at first, as everyone knows weight loss in the first 3 or 4 weeks is (thanks to water loss) swift and encouraging. Once things slow down though, it’s a different matter.

Once a week just isn’t enough (for me…).

But I’d noticed the experts had changed their tune. Apparently now, if it helps you (oh, the breakthrough!), it’s okay to weigh yourself every day. Well, that’s alright then.

So with Aria, I began to weigh… every day.  At first it was chaotic.  I went up. I went down. I went up on days I thought I’d go down, and down on days I thought I’d go up. Then I realised Aria for all its high-tech digital Bluetoothyness, is no more accurate than any other set of scales, so I began to go for a best of three approach. Aria would present me with three weights – sometimes, horror of horrors, they’d be a pound or more apart! So I would choose the middle one (unless I needed cheering up, in which case it would, with only the tiniest twinge of guilt, and the knowledge that I would surely suffer for it tomorrow, be the bottom one). One day I did best of five but even I knew that was taking things too far.  Obsessive? Moi?

So, I have a daily weight figure, but I’ve learned not to hold too much store by it.  The good thing is, if I don’t like it, I don’t have to suffer for a week; there’ll be another one along tomorrow.

Best of all, Aria takes all those daily weights and gives me a mean average figure for each week, and that’s the one that really counts in my book. I can see from that figure, what I can’t see from the up/down concertina effect daily graph – that I am… going down, and down.  And here’s the proof – a little Excel spreadsheet of my weekly averages over the last 5 months or so.  Except for one nightmare week in November, even the weeks which looked like a plateau have given me me a little downward tweak of the weekly average figure.

Screenshot 2016-02-05 17.53.01

A definite downward line, for all the ziggy-zaggy that goes on each week. And that works for me.