Friday, July 27, 2007

0 Exercise Psychology Tip #1: How To Make Friends With The Scale!


The Tanita Body-Fat Scale (I highly recommend it!)

Just a brief comment on the idea of weighing ourselves during the weight-loss process. A lot of people counsel to only weigh yourself once a week, etc., versus weighing yourself every day. The thinking behind this approach is that, if you do weigh yourself every day, you'll become discouraged by the ups & downs of the scale readings. Well, I'm not so sure about that.

I think a better, more realistic approach is to do what works for you psychologically, & to pick a consistent time of day to hop on the scale. By this of course, I mean that, since you know yourself best & how you generally approach the process of weight-loss & maintenance, you must find a way that allows you the best chances of success.

Here's what I find works best for me: I don't like to focus too much on the scale, but I still think it's a valuable tool for gauging weight-loss over a longer-range period of time. [As we all know by now, the best scales are usually digital (i.e., they don't need any "tuning" or "resetting" like the old fashioned ones), & measure your body fat.] I weigh myself in the morning, before breakfast & only after I've "emptied the tank" so to speak. That usually yields the most accurate weight measurement for me.

Now, while I don't weigh myself every day, I do tend to weigh myself after feeling particularly "victorious" or good about a workout or the way I've been eating. This doesn't always produce outcomes which match my inner feelings of joy, but I've gotten to the point where I can look past the numbers.

For example: Two days ago, the scale read that I was a half-pound lighter, & today, it reads that not only have I gained that half pound back, but that I've got two more pounds on me. I felt OK about that, because I take the long view & know that I'm generally heading in the downward direction. I know that there are many factors to consider (what I ate/drank last night, my muscle mass, etc.), & am reassured by the fact that I look & feel slimmer.

I don't really care that I've gained weight today. Over the past two weeks, I've hit a set-point, gone below it, gone above it, gone further below it, & gone up again. In other words, I know that, since I've already dropped a dress size that I should pay attention to the overall trend of what the scale tells me instead of the daily fluctuations.

So in summation, my advice is to weigh yourself at regular intervals with a technologically advanced scale that gives you other data than just total body weight (i.e., total body fat, water weight, etc.) & to ignore daily weight fluctations. Use other measurements as well -- i.e., a tape measure, how your clothes fit you (particularly your pants), etc., & you'll most likely just feel fine about yourself! After all, building "mental toughness" is part of the fitness/weight-loss process just as much as building one's self-esteem & confidence!

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