Team leaders at most diet clubs ban their members from weighing themselves daily, and encourage them to only be weighed once a week on the medically calibrated scales they provide at meetings. Although this isn’t just to do with the frequency of the weight-ins, but to deter dieters from weighing themselves on less than accurate scales and giving emotional power to inaccurate numbers, it seems to lead to the belief amongst many dieters that thin people don’t weight themselves frequently.
In fact, there are thin people who get weighed every day, once a week, once a month or never, just as there are overweight people who fit into each category. It’s not the frequency of weigh-ins that matters in the battle of the bulge, but the attitude you take to the results.
Many articles that discuss the divide between those who get weighed daily, or at other regular intervals and those who have ditched the scales altogether in favor of other indicators, such as the fit of their clothes and internal, subjective feelings of heaviness, talk about thin versus fat.
The problem is, it’s a false division that reinforces the myth that thin equals healthy. Research published by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that being overweight alone is not a reliable indicator of ill health. Their findings showed that over half of the overweight adults studied were metabolically healthy, as were almost a third of obese participants, and almost a quarter of normal weight participants were metabolically unhealthy. So while weight is undoubtedly an important factor, it’s far from being the only thing that matters.
Another widely held myth is that those who get weighed less often, don’t care about their weight. In reality, that’s generally not the case. It’s just that those people who don’t weigh themselves have found other ways to keep tabs. That might be based on how tightly a certain set of clothes fit, on the past few days’ indulgences, or on how bloated or heavy the person currently feels. They may take note of other mathematical indicators such as waist to height ratio.
People who get weighed may still refer to all these other indicators, but also refer to the scales. They may calculate Body Mass Index, using their height and weight, or use modern biometric scales to monitor body fat versus water content.
The regularity with which a woman refers to these indicators, be they scales or otherwise, is more a matter of personality than anything else. A woman who is detail oriented and possessed of a driven personality is more likely to weigh herself daily than one who is more laid back and prone to taking the long view.
None of these methods for monitoring health and weight is right or wrong, it’s a matter of personal preference, and finding what works for each individual. Issues develop, however, when the woman who weighs herself regularly begins to not so much refer to the scales as defer to them.
Many women will tell you that the number on the scale each morning has the power to dictate their mood for the day. A loss will make them feel elated and powerful, whereas a gain will leave them feeling cranky and disheartened.
It’s these women, who are failing to realize that the body fluctuates naturally both throughout the day and throughout the monthly cycle, for who daily weigh ins become such a problem. Add in the fact that most of these weigh ins are done on scales that are not of a quality to be reliable in any case, and the case for less frequent weigh ins on medical scales becomes clear.
If you are a woman who weighs yourself every day, ask yourself what importance you give to the number, and why you keep up this habit? If the number the scales shows you is simply a piece of data you use along with other information to monitor and maintain your weight, there is no reason to change your habits. If, on the other hand, you feel as if that single number is ruling your life, then maybe it’s time to step away from the scales and gain some perspective?