To weigh or not to weigh?

Come on, don’t most of us deep down, know what we need to do to lose weight?

We may not have university degrees in nutrition, and it can be confusing to know what we should and shouldn’t be eating with all the conflicting information out there, but deep down I believe that most of us know when we should be eating a little less and moving a little more; really we do, don’t we?

So why is it so easy for some of us (even when we have seen success and lost a couple of stones) to get stuck?  I believe it all comes down to ‘motivation’.  Motivation is the key.  Staying motivated forever and ever is hard work at the best of times, but when a set of scales is involved it can become complicated!

So let me clarify this before I get thousands of comments about how wrong I am. (In my dreams!….thousands of comments…yes please! It can be lonely here you know….with just Mr Blog for company!)  I have weighed thousands of people in my time, and witnessed first-hand how motivating it is to see a positive result at the scales.  When you are doing great and on a roll and the number on the scales is going down each week-that can be incredibly motivating and is also great feedback on behaviour changes you have implemented in the previous week. (I have explored the best way to use the results at the scales before-click here if you want to go there.)

HOWEVER there is a very high chance that standing on the scales could demotivate you.  There are only 3 possible results- a loss, a gain or a stay the same. One of those results will almost certainly result in disappointment, which in turn could result in a sense of ‘what’s the point’ which equals ‘not motivated’.  Here are some other possible scenarios:

An unexpected gain could mean devastation which = de-motivation.

A stay the same after a ‘good’ week could = de-motivation

Even a loss that is not big enough could = de motivation

If you are in a fat rut (or a weight-loss plateau-you choose which you want to call it), I urge you to ask yourself this question- ‘Is standing on the scales every week beneficial in keeping me consistently motivated?’

I have asked myself the question and the answer is ‘NO! That’s not to say I will never weigh myself ever again because weighing is one of the simplest ways of getting feedback on your weight loss efforts. But I have decided that I will only weigh myself monthly, and only on a ‘slim’ day (I know you know what I mean) and on a day where I feel I can handle any result- a day when I am feeling strong and positive. This feels like a scary experiment to me and I will feed back the results honestly to you, I promise.  I guess in the end I am doing it because what I was doing before –weighing each week- was not working for me anymore.  So far not being preoccupied by the scales is working-I feel so much better about myself and I’m focussing more fully on my food habits and behaviours.  Ultimately that’s what needs to change (and stay changed). The number on the scales can end up being nothing more than a niggly distraction.

Please comment below and share your thoughts on how the scales effect your motivation-good and bad. I’m really interested to know……

21 comments

  1. caroline · January 22, 2015

    How right you are,the scales we need sometimes!! But can tell by my clothes what is going on!! I lost half a pound this week but chuffed with that.in the past have been disappointed with that, no more,I am motivated cos next week move house a brand new start a new life and I weigh58lb less than 3years ago!!

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 22, 2015

      New life, new body eh Caroline? Although your clothes MUST be looser 58lbs down !

      Like

  2. Shan · January 22, 2015

    The number on the scales doesn’t really bother me. It’s the look my trainer gives me that demotivates me more than anything. I have suggested she try encouraging me but…. 😉
    It’s frustrating that I’ve only shed 8kg in the last 12 months, despite 2 training sessions, a long walk, several short walks and Nintendo Wii tennis and boxing each week. I’m now looking at removing wheat and sugar from my diet to get things moving. Also to check with my doctor to see if my beta blockers are inhibiting weight reduction.
    Cutting down weighing yourself to once a month sounds like a plan. It’s finding whatever works for you.

    Good post!

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 22, 2015

      Thanks Shan! 8 kg is a great achievement! And it sounds like you have a plan 🙂 ……

      Like

  3. Kathrine · January 22, 2015

    Excellent post Anna and certainly one to think about. Mindset, motivation and changing of habits is much more important than a number on the scales. Also checking my body fat once a month is much more meaningful to me as it is about being fit and healthy for me rather than being thin or slim.

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 22, 2015

      Oh! I like the idea of measuring body fat Kathrine. Thanks for your viewpoint!

      Like

  4. Amanda · January 22, 2015

    So true Anna. I must admit the number on the scales do bother me when it is a slow loss or not at all. The way your clothes fit is definately a better way to measure weight loss although it is hard not to step on the scales. I have also found it quite difficult recently with
    A couple of my slim friends as when we have been out and about they are constantly checking themselves In the mirror which as being the weight I am the mirror is not my best friend! Motivation and confidence is definately key to success 🙂

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      So it sounds like the scales don’t motivate you either Mandy? And as you point out not feeling good about yourself can be demotivating too. Now we need to figure out what WOULD motivate you-I KNOW you can achieve your goals…..we just need to put thinking caps on 🙂

      Like

  5. Clare Rowley · January 22, 2015

    Good posting Anna . I am 28lb light and 4 dress size down . But it was not enough for me-the number on the scale was not going down . I started weighing 4 times a week but the number still did not come down. I talk to my doctor he told me to stop weighing in. Oh no how will I cope not weighing my self? Over the last few months I been working not getting on the scales and now I can say I have not weighed in for weeks It’s be so hard but I free from scales for good thank you . Xxx

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Aww-Clare. Reading your comment made me emotional (we don’t always need the scales to do that for us!!:)) because I know of your struggles with this issue. You are doing amazingly well and that phrase you used ‘free from the scales’- well what a wonderful thought…..

      Like

  6. Anne-Marie · January 22, 2015

    Well …. This blog was very pertinent to my ‘journey’ over the past few weeks ….
    I was delighted to have ‘lost’ over Christmas – but then seemed to lose my way the week after ( no soup, not tracking etc) and put 1/2 lb on. I know it was ‘only’ 1/2 lb – but on the other hand I had lost every week since beginning of September and was disappointed in myself. …. Two choices – to carry on not focused or give myself a talking to and do it properly. ( with a wedding to go to in 8 weeks I decided the latter).
    So bizarrely the ‘gain’ kicked me back into action.
    I do constantly worry that I will become de-motivated (again); after all I wouldn’t even know Anna if I didn’t need continual help / guidance / information …. And the odd push in the right direction.
    So thank you (again) Anna for still being there – it is so much appreciated . And I love your blog – so relevant (because of course you know our struggle!!!)

    Xxx

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Thanks for your so kind words Anne-Marie 🙂 I imagine for you at the moment with your consistent weight loss and having lost 38lbs so far weighing each week is a great motivator?

      Like

      • Anne-Marie · January 23, 2015

        Yes it is – but oddly that 1/2 lb gain made me less ‘lax’ about it and reminded me that the ‘habits’ (tools) you have taught us are there for a reason !!!!
        I am tracking again … And like others on here I weigh every day on my ww scales at home. It keeps me on the straight and narrow and focused x

        Like

  7. susipet · January 22, 2015

    My guilty secret? I weigh myself daily and have done for years. It took the whole big emotion from the scales and has always helped me feel more in control…
    For most of that time I’ve been maintaining weight loss but now it’s about getting rid of the kilos I let creep back on when I took a 6 month break from daily weigh in…
    So I’m back on the case and for me it helps

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Very interesting indeed Susi to have an alternative point of view. And actually your comment reinforces the concept that it’s the emotion that is evoked by weighing in that’s the problem!! I just can’t imagine standing on the scales and NOT having an emotional reaction…..I guess we all need to do what works for us. Good that your back on the case 🙂

      Like

  8. rubymcguire · January 22, 2015

    I totally agree how even a positive result can impact on your motivation – it’s usually when I’m my worst! I keep telling myself not to weigh weekly so I will join you quietly from the sidelines in your experiment. Ps you’re not on your own blogging – I’m reading. Your posts are fab! 🙂

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Thanks Ruby-much appreciated. And very excited to have a fellow guinea pig alongside me-let me know how it goes for you!!

      Like

  9. peterandhelen.800@btinternet.com · January 23, 2015

    Thanks for a really thought provoking blog. Similarly I find that weighing myself weekly doesn’t work – I get fixated on it and if the result isn’t what I’m hoping for it can cast a shadow over my whole day. How silly is that?! There is enough in life to worry about without adding additional pressure when, at the end if the day, no one else knows what the evil scales said. I am following WW at the moment because I recognise that my health would benefit if I weighed a bit less, but rather than a diet I’m viewing it as a healthy eating guide and encouragement to move more. I will continue to ignore the emails reminding me to track my weight. No thank you, I don’t want to! When my smaller jeans fit and I feel fitter that will tell me I’ve succeeded, not a number.

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Yes it’s the fixation with the number on the scales that distracts us sometimes, from making the healthy changes that lead to smaller jeans. Thanks so much for your comment-you’ve encapsulated your point really well.

      Like

  10. AnnaPearson · January 23, 2015

    You certainly have a way with words. Even though I am now a gold member I have stopped going to get weighed every week. It’s definitely better to focus on what you are eating and looking at eating habits than to step on the scales on a more frequent basis, I know some people who weigh EVERYTIME after going to the toilet! I think it’s natural for us to feel less confident some days but weighing in on a day you feel more positive is a very good idea!

    Like

    • annajones64 · January 23, 2015

      Yes you’re so right Anna about everything but particularly the toilet thing 🙂 and hands up anyone who has not been to the loo just before weighing in!

      Like

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