Part 2 of 3.  Miss part 1?  Click here: Does checking the scale help with weight management?

Within minutes of launching the following question via facebook – Does checking the scale help with weight management? – the conversation  exploded.  Women – and men – shared their for-better-or-worse responses.  

The personal reflections became such an important part of the conversation that I have  to share them with you, right here, before moving on with the next article in the tracking weight-by-the-scale series.

It’s hip not to weigh. We’re evidently supposed to be cool and encourage you to toss your scales, eat ‘intuitively’ and  ‘sensibly’, and let the scale do what it wants.

Maybe this is working fine for you when it comes to keeping your weight in check.  If so, then you’ve found a system that works and if it ain’t broke, well, you know what to do.  If not, then maybe it’s worth taking a look at the statistics on the value of the bath scale in the big picture, and instead of ignoring or running from it, make peace with it.  Learn how to make it your friend.    That’s where I can help.

4 commonalities of people who lose and keep excess weight off

The National Weight Control Registry lists 4 things in common with those who are successful at losing weight and maintaining that loss:

  1. 78% eat breakfast daily
  2. 75% weigh themselves once a week – at least.
  3. 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV – per week.
  4. 90%  exercise, on average, about one hour per day

This week’s facebook discussion revealed 3 primary responses to the ‘to weigh or not to weigh’ question.

  1. You weigh regularly, perhaps daily, and use it as a successful tool to keep your weight in check.
  2. You weigh regularly yet it’s layered with a pathology that is weighing you down.  Either it rules your mood for the day, you obsess about the numbers, or you are exhausted from the emotional whiplash that comes with fluctuating weight.
  3. You are conflicted and fearful about whether or not to use the scale which shows up in swings between embrace and avoidance.  Conflicted is the operative term here. 

See if you identify with any of the following responses.  Then, add your thoughts to the conversation in comments below.

Thanks to each of these individuals for, first, responding to the conversation.  The question posed:

“Does checking the scale help with weight management? What do you think? Weigh in with your thoughts.”

Here;s a sampling of responses:

Jessica Eiss-Healthcoach says:

I weigh everyday and have for many many years.  It keeps me in check. I’m not obsessive about it. But it’s a good way to keep in check. If I overeat some baked goods, I usually see it the next day. or, it’s a good indicator that I need a bunch of greens to clean the system out. I know what my normal weight is, so a pound or two is no biggie. It’s amazing how the scale reacts the next day after a dinner out in a restaurant though! Too much sodium or oil!

Brigitte Taraschuk says:

I do the same as Jessica. I think weighing myself every (other) day was more psychologically helpful with losing and maintaining weight than weighing myself just once a week or less (which I’d done in the past). When I was losing a bunch of weight, it helped me see the small progress– when my weight was regularly 1/2 lb less than the previous average, I was encouraged to go for the next 1/2 lb. It also helped me know that it’s normal for my weight to shift a few pounds either way, so I actually worried less. Overall, it I feel it gives me a greater connection to my body, as Jessica mentioned. I can also predict my cycle based on my steady gain of water-weight and then watch everything go back to normal.

From Denise Norris: 

Well just yesterday I asked my husband to hide the scale so that I couldn’t find it, he hasn’t yet, so since yesterday I’ve weighed myself 3 times and got different readings all the way up to 6 pound difference~sometimes it helps motivate me when I’m losing or shocks me into getting stricter when I see a number I don’t like. Honestly though, I have a problem with it and just like a lot of things, obsess over it and let it affect me emotionally.

Condalicia Eutsler details:

I weigh every day but I’m always getting told I shouldn’t. I feel it keeps me in check. I don’t go out and eat as much when I see what happens on the scale.

Don Randall writes:

I got rid of my scale years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. Now that it’s watermelon season I’ve been eating an entire watermelon every day. So I’d rather have OCWE (obsessive compulsive watermelon eating) because although my tummy swells when I eat an entire watermelon, it always goes back down. Also, watermelons are high in lutein, folic acid and alkaline water, among other essential nutrients.

Sandy Plüss  adds:

i love the idea of this 🙂
i’m undecided myself – I think it can help people stay “on track” but i think it can become obsessive and weight doesn’t = health!

From Laura Zimmerman: 

I weigh in every day no matter what. That means even if I falter and eat something I wish I wouldn’t have, I still have to be accountable the next morning. The scale usually is kind and I am still ok and that keeps me going and I always get right back on track. I’m careful with the scale because I used to be obsessive about it.

Alison Boorman-Sears says:
I definitely have a love hate relationship with the scale. When I’m on track and feeling positive, I weigh every day and it keeps me honest, but when my diet starts to slip, I start playing mind games with the scale. I get scared to step on, so I start making deals with myself, like I will be “good” for the next 31 days and them weigh myself again, but then if I slip I have to start over etc… Do I sound crazy?  I have a “weight” goal, and I can go for weeks getting “almost there”, within 2 or 3 pounds, and then someone turns on my “I don’t care switch”, and I start eating everything in sight., the thing I know, I’ve gained 10 pounds and I have to start all over again. Id really like to get off the rolled coaster.
Lani Muelrath’s  response to Alison:
Oh, man! I’m so glad you fessed up about this – it’s no good to be isolated in ‘am I crazy”?  Because for those of us who’ve been there it is enormously comforting to hear we haven’t been alone after all. I have a solution for mind games with the scale – the mind games are actually a form of spinning that perpetuate the real problem, which is fear of the scale and handing over our power to it. I address it in the next article and I can’t wait to get your feedback.

There  you have it:  proof that one size does not fit all when it comes to the scale.   Some are comfortable weighing every day, others tossed the scale and do well, and others are in a stressful negotiation process.  For those that are doing well with weight management and have come to peace with the scale – and whether they know the numbers or not – more power to you and carry on.

Yet for those who have and are still struggling to make peace with the bathroom scale, the next article in this series is for you.   You don’t have to run and hide from this odd little instrument   It is quite possible to come to a place of peace that harnesses the information it delivers to reinforce your success and help you win in the weight management game.   I’ve told you my truth:  I’ve been everything from OCW (obsessive compulsive weigher) to a scale tosser (denial?) to the baby bear ‘ just right’ relationship I have with the bath scale today.

Next:     Be present with your poundage:  How to weigh mindfully, get out of fear of the scale, and use the bath scale to help you lose weight.   

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