Bathroom Scale Self Sabotage


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

When one is over weight or obese and begins trying to lose weight, the bathroom scale can be either your best friend as a useful tool, or your worst enemy that only serves to screw with your mind and sabotages your efforts.

How is it your best friend?

Well, obviously your scale when used right and consistently will be one of your best measures of successful weight loss. By watching those weekly numbers on the display decrease in value, your motivation to keep up with you weight loss efforts will remain high. If you are paying for a weight loss program, it lets you know your hard earned cash is being well spent. Stepping onto our bathroom scales gives us a measure of how far we have come and how far we still might have to go in reaching our weight loss objectives. When that dial finally reaches that magical number we are working so hard to achieve we gain a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Kind of like when you are a kid and you get a gold star on your final exam paper. It feels damn good to achieve success.

How is your bathroom scale your worst enemy?

Actually, it’s not your worst enemy. It is simply a tool for you to use either correctly or incorrectly.

You can be your own worst enemy, you cannot blame your frustrations with your weight loss efforts on a mechanical object. A lot of people who are trying to lose weight, will absolutely drive themselves crazy because they do not understand how they should use their bathroom scale. If this is you, the mental anguish is entirely of your own making when that number on the dial is modulating between gains and losses. Here are a few things to consider about weighing yourself:

Consistency is key! If you want your weight measurements to have any significant meaning, then you must be consistent in when and how you weigh yourself.

  • Pick one day of the week, or even every two weeks or once a month to weigh yourself. Randomly weighing yourself during the day or in between your weigh in days will only serve to cause you frustration. Because of water retention, your weight can fluctuate by up to 9 pounds even in just a single day which will cause those scale numbers to be all over the place. Weight gain or loss because of water retention is not worth getting upset over as losing body fat is what matters most. And the way to measure for truly knowing how you are doing is to only weigh in once per week at a maximum. Short term trends are almost meaningless, it is long term trends you need to concern yourself with.
  • Be consistent in the time of day you weigh yourself as I pointed out above, water retention will cause your weight to fluctuate. The best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning before you have gotten dressed or have had anything to eat or drink.
  • Weigh yourself before getting dressed. If you weigh after getting dressed, wear the same clothing for each of your weigh in’s, or clothing that weighs the same. For example, weighing in gym shorts one week and then blue jeans the next might not give you a reading that reflects a loss.
  • Ok, this should not need said, but it is a subject matter you will commonly see on weight loss forums. If you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, either be consistent in doing so either before or after you have evacuated your bowels and bladder. For some, the human bladder can retain up to four cups of urine over night which would weigh two pounds. Your colon will usually retain about one pound of feces before a bowel movement. So, either be consistent in holding or evacuating your waste before weighing yourself.
  • Do not bother weighing yourself after vigorous exercise. The drop in weight is going to be mostly from fluid and the amount you sweat when you exercise is never going to be consistent.
  • This should be a “well duh”, but never eat a large meal and then go step onto the scale as of course if you have just consumed a couple pounds of food, your ass is going to be a couple pounds heavier than before. Thank you Captain Obvious I can hear some of you saying, but if you follow any weight loss social media sights, you know also that people do this kind of nonsense.
  • If your scale is electronic, always ensure your batteries are fresh. Weak batteries can cause your scale readings to be off.
  • If you have a mechanical type scale, always ensure it is zeroed before stepping onto it.
  • Quit trying to step on your scale with a light foot. Your scale is going to read your weight no matter how gingerly you step onto it. That being said, do not just plop yourself onto a mechanical scale with a heavy foot as you can throw it’s calibration off. Just step onto it as if you were steping up on a low stair or something. Do not be gentle or too rough. Just get your measurement and be done with it.
  • Step onto the scale, read your number and get back off of it until your next scheduled weigh in. Accept the number it gives you and move on. You can step on some scales multiple times and get a different reading each time. Note: you might consider refreshing your batteries or buying a new scale if yours does this.

I hope this helps some of you. And remember this, how your mind deals with weight gain or loss can be similar to how a computer reacts to programming. Bullshit going in means bullshit going out. Cut yourself some slack and only get upset when the long term trend shows you are not losing weight. And then do not bother getting upset, this is when you need to adjust your methods in achieving your goals. A 140 pound body trying to reach 130 pounds does not have the same needs as a 200 pound body attempting to reach 130, even if at 140 you started at 200. As your weight comes down, so does your daily caloric needs based on your basal metabolic rate. The less you weigh, the fewer calories your body requires. Many people do not understand or know this and try to continue consuming the same amount of daily calories as they were when they first began their weight loss journey, which is why their weight loss often stalls out.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. The worst part of weighing myself is using the body fat test function called bioelectrical impedance which is grossly inaccurate and discouraging, I might add.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Oh goodness, those scales that alledgly measure body fat are horrible for being inaccurate. I use the same body measurements we used in the military along with pictoral guides that display what different body fat percentage are supposed to look like. Bioelectric impedence measurements by bathroom scales are thrown off simply by different balances of water retention and electrolytes in your body.

      1. I’ve done under water body fat testing three times in the past. They call it the “gold standard” in that it’s supposed to be the most accurate method. It’s quite inconvenient and if you are claustrophobic or hate holding your breath under water, it wouldn’t suit you. I’ve had family do the DEXA scan too. They too call their method the “gold standard”. It makes it all confusing so I just use the “mirror test” and ask myself if I like what I see.

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