Everyone knows that they should weigh themselves when they're on a diet. What is less well known is that weight can fluctuate greatly. There's no greater motivation killer than seeing an increase in scale weight while, unbeknownst to you, you're successfully losing fat. By learning the correct way to weigh yourself, however, you can actually create motivation by creating a positive feedback loop around fitness.
Image by Sean MacEntee
It's worth noting that when dieting, motivation is generally unreliable. Like the tide, it has its own ebb and flow; it comes and goes. Think about your own weight loss efforts. In all likelihood, you've experienced both extremes of the motivation spectrum at some point — feeling both gung ho and feeling ho hum. Here's how to properly use the scale to keep motivation high:
- Pick a "weigh in" day every week. It doesn't matter which day of the week, but make sure that it's not a day after a typical surge in calories, like Sunday might be. I suggest Fridays in case you're prone to engage in weekend debauchery in the form of food and drink. There's some research to suggest that Wednesdays might be the best day to do this, too.
- Weigh yourself first in the morning, without any clothes, and after using the bathroom. This eliminates any variation between time of day, the clothes you're wearing, and so on. This is usually where people slip up. There can be a lot of variation in your scale weight.
- Write that number down and repeat the following week.
You'll soon find that once you start seeing this number decrease, the feeling is akin to levelling up in a video game. Once that happens, congratulations! You have successfully created a positive feedback loop around weight loss.