The pitfalls of daily weigh-ins

Why your home scales might be misleading!

When trying to lose weight, many people gingerly step on the scales each day, hoping to see that number edge further and further down. While the desire to monitor progress is understandable, climbing onto the scales every single day may not be as beneficial as it seems. Here we’ll delve into the reasons why relying on your home scale every day might not be the best approach for achieving sustainable and healthy weight loss.

Your weight naturally fluctuates 

You might think that your weight is a static number but that’s not the case. Even without trying to slim down, your weight will naturally go up and down from time to time anyway. Factors such as water retention, hormonal changes, salt intake, menstrual cycles and even the time of day can all have an impact.

Daily fluctuations are normal and can be misleading - it’s often not actually anything you’ve done! Weighing yourself less frequently, maybe once a week, will help to avoid these fluctuations.

The impact on mental health

Daily weigh-ins can become an emotional roller coaster. It feels great when you see those numbers tick down, but if they’re not shifting then it can understandably lead to disappointment and really affect your mood. It may feel like your weight loss isn’t working and lead you to give up - weighing less frequently will give you a much better idea of how you’re getting on and take the pressure off if you don’t see the numbers constantly go in the right direction.

Building sustainable habits 

Focusing solely on the number on the scale may overshadow the importance of building sustainable eating and exercise habits. Healthy living is so much more than just losing weight - it includes things like improved energy levels, better sleep, and enhanced mood. Try to look beyond the numbers and see some of the non-scale victories, such as increased stamina, better fitting clothes, and improved overall well-being.

Home scales vs other measurements

Home weighing scales may be convenient but might not always provide the most accurate measurements. Things such as scale calibration, surface stability, and user error can all affect the numbers it shows. Your home scales can provide a rough guide but don’t presume they’re 100% accurate all the time.

So what should you measure? There are some more “professional measurements” that may provide more accurate indications of how your weight loss journey is going, such as body fat percentage assessments or waist-to-hip ratio evaluations - speak to a doctor if you want to get these done accurately. Even just measuring your tummy, thighs, bum or anywhere else on your body can show that you’re losing weight even if the scales don’t.

Another reason why using your home scales may be misleading leads us onto the next point…

Muscle weighs more than fat

It’s something that most people are aware of these days, but it’s still worth remembering - muscle actually weighs more than fat. This means that if you’re exercising regularly then you could well be turning that fat into healthy muscle, which can play havoc with numbers on the scales. Muscle tissue is denser than fat, meaning that as you build muscle, your weight might not change much, or it could even increase.

Again, focusing on other measurements, especially if you’re exercising a lot, may be more beneficial in understanding how healthy you are.

Understanding weight loss plateaus

Weight loss plateaus are one of the most frustrating things about losing weight. Often, the weight will fall off quite quickly at the start of your weight loss journey, but all of a sudden everything just stops, even though you’re not doing anything differently. This is a common occurrence and is usually because the body starts to adapt to its new routine.

So what can you do about weight loss plateaus? You may need to look at changing up your routine so that your body doesn’t get too comfortable. Try exercising more or doing different types of exercise, or switch up what you’re eating and when. You can also try focusing on other areas of wellbeing, such as drinking enough water or getting more sleep to make sure you’re ticking as many healthy boxes as you can.

Conclusion: A balanced approach to tracking progress

As you lose weight, a balanced and sensible approach to weighing yourself is vital. While the scale can be a useful tool for tracking overall progress, it's important to remember that it’s not perfect and can sometimes be misleading.

Try not to weigh yourself every day, as tempting as it may be, and consider placing as much importance on sustainable habits, emotional well-being, and non-scale victories.