Author: Holly J Coley
Thanks to the age of technology we’re constantly plugged into a plethora of information, including scientific studies. We like scientific studies at The Mighty Mite. They teach us stuff and help to back up our opinions. Still, regardless of how good the study is we try to read it with a bit of a side-eye and you should too because what is seen as truth today may be hogwash tomorrow. Like the study written this year on Pop Sugar, about how weighing yourself daily can make you lose three times more fat than a person who doesn’t.
The study comes from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which cited regular (every day) hopping on the scale as a motivator to modify and adopt weight control behaviors. We’re not saying the study is bupkis. It makes perfect sense. If you want to lose weight , thinking back on the number you saw on the bathroom scale may keep you from mindlessly noshing. And maybe it should. On the other hand, maybe it shouldn’t. It’s really up to you because you know your body, your habits, your goals. If you don’t, it’s time for an assessment.
While regular weigh-ins can be beneficial it can also pose problems. One ten year study reported that teenagers of varying sizes who weighed themselves often showed sign of depression and low self-esteem. This was true of not only girls but boys. It should be noted that their weights didn’t change much through the course of the study. Many experts find similar results with chronic weighers of all ages which may be why some advocate for skipping the scale entirely.
Many people have a hate sometimes love relationship with the scale. When the number says what you want you may feel satisfied or even elated. When it doesn’t you can feel disappointed, shame or even dread. I know, I’ve been there.
Recently I had to go to the doctor and what was the first thing I was asked to do before I was even shown the examination room? Get on the scale.
“No,” I told the nurse. “I don’t let anyone weigh me.”
“I’m sorry,” she said rather firmly, “But I must.” This happens to me a lot at doctors’ offices and it’s one of the reasons I hate going to them. Examines are unpleasant enough. I don’t want to deal with that and the potential argument that may emerge from me refusing to step on some machine. This particular nurse looked like she meant business but so did I. Staring her in the face I said as bitchless as possible, “No. I don’t let anyone weigh me and seriously, I’d rather cancel my appointment than get on that thing.”
And just like that the nurse relented and showed me to where I could see my doctor.
My response to the woman who’s just really doing her job may sound extreme or even immature. But as someone who use to weigh herself every day, sometimes several times a day, I know how something so innocent can completely dictate your life. Even times when I would be feeling great about myself, as soon as I’ve stood on the scale and saw a number I didn’t like, all those great feelings flew from my body and out the bathroom window, not to return for the rest of the day.
There are times in our lives when the scale is helpful, like when you’re pregnant or having surgery. There are other times when it really is nothing more than a number to help you gauge where your health is at and frankly, it’s not the best tool. If you’ve had body image issues, disordered eating, an eating disorder or are just obsessive, it can be downright harmful. If you want to mind your weight without torturing yourself, there are other ways (possibly better ones) to do it.
A scale can’t tell you if your weight is coming from fat or muscle (unless it’s one of those fancy ones and with machines, there is always room for error). And since a person’s weight fluctuates everyday it’s somewhat pointless to go on more than once a week. In contrast, a simple measuring tape can tell you if your waist has become smaller or if your booty has become larger and since it takes awhile to see body composition changes you can get by only checking that once a month.
Clothes and how they fit can be another way to make sure your weight stays in a healthy range. Periodically getting into a pair of unforgiving jeans will show you if you need to intensify your gym routine or alter your diet. And of course, checking in with yourself and seeing how you feel should be your first stop. When we gain or lose weight we often feel it in our energy levels, our appetite, and our physical performance. At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about right? Feeling good and being in good health?
Tell us, how do you feel about weighing yourself? Is it no big deal or would you rather run naked through fire? Share in the comments.