Should You Get on the Scales?

Part of me thinks it would be clever to make this a one word post, and that word would be “yes!” One word and one explanation point and I’m done. It isn’t that simple, so I am going to tell you why getting on the scales is important for me.

The healthy eating that I am advocating is a process with an end goal in mind. There are lots of reasons people change their eating habits: religious reasons, animal rights, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, to train for a competition. All those are great, but that isn’t why I am here and doing this. USF Athletic Director Michael Kelly said at his introductory press conference, “If we’re gonna keep score, we might as well win.” That was a great quote that applies here too. I am playing to win. Hopefully you are playing to win. For me winning is getting to and maintaining 190 pounds. When you set a goal, you need to be able to track your progress.

This morning I got on the scale and I was down 0.8 pounds from yesterday morning, that was another step in the right direction. There are some facets to your body that you need to understand so the scales don’t become a discouragement or a distraction. In a 24 hour period my weight fluctuates by about 8 pounds. I’m not talking about shoes and my pockets full of stuff, I mean my body has a range for a 24 hour period that is up and down 8 pounds or so. That range is caused by food and drink entering and leaving my body. If I had a really good day and then I get on the scale and I’m up 5 pounds from the previous day, that could really hinder my morale, so I have to be smart about how I use the scale. In my routine the time I am at the lowest weight is in the morning, I wake up, use the bathroom, get on the scale, then go make breakfast. So, if I make a routine that starts the same way every day, the scale will show me a trend of progress.

Every day isn’t the same. Some days my body retains more water than other days. Guys, women have been telling you this forever, it is true of all of our bodies to different degrees. While I may be on a path where I lose 1.5 to 2.5 pounds a week, that doesn’t mean the scale will show the incremental change each day. If the number on the scale begins to negatively impact you, then you need to get on it less often. One a week is ok, but don’t go much longer than that. You need to see the progress you are making and a mirror or comparing photos only works over long stretches of time. The scale is what will validate your success.

One more thing, the scale in your bathroom won’t match the scale in the gym, it won’t match the scale in the doctor’s office, and none of them will match the scale in Publix (South East US grocery store chain that is known to have a big green scale in every Florida store for customers to use). You need to stick to your scale to track the progress, who cares if NASA didn’t calibrate it. It will show you your weight loss.

My last note, in my eyes, this whole battle or journey is mostly inside your own head. That will be a recurring theme. Keep your mind focused and determined and good things will happen. Enjoy the highs, and try not to get caught up in the lows.

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