While there are endless ways to measure how healthy you are and the progress of your fitness program, many women continue to use one of the oldest methods: the scale.
While using the scale can be helpful as a way to measure weight loss, studies also show that doing so can be the cause of great distress to many women. In fact, one recent study showed that women who weigh themselves more often tend to have a more negative body image, lower self-esteem, and depression. Ouch.
The key is to not let the scale define you. It's just one measure — one that really doesn't give much detail about your overall health. More importantly, there are ways to use the scale without making it your enemy and the cause of unwanted mental distress.
1. Use The Scale Sparingly
If one of your goals involves losing or gaining a certain amount of weight, then check in (with the scale) every one to two weeks. Certainly not every day! Remember: The number on the scale can be influenced by a variety of factors that day, including your period or eating something salty at lunch. Checking the scale every day can create an unhealthy obsession about your weight.
2. Weigh-In On Wednesday
Why Wednesday? A recent Finnish study showed that weight fluctuates less during the middle of the week. But it also helps to measure your progress by sticking with a schedule and certain day. Your goal may be to lose one or two pounds a week; stepping on the scale every week on a certain day will help you track that goal more specifically. Here's another helpful hint: Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after you've gone to the bathroom. This will give you a clearer comparison.
3. Don't Be So Specific
Setting a specific weight-loss number can lead to more emotional distress. Instead, set a range while seeking that place in which your clothes feel comfortable. Give yourself a cushion of around five pounds of that “place.”
4. Measure Progress In Other Ways
When you step on the scale you're obviously going to check the number. But don't make that your only measure of progress. Also consider how your clothes fit and how you feel mentally. If you're feeling good about yourself, that number will let you know where your 'happy' place is.
Working with a personal trainer such as Ralph Roberts can help you take your fitness program to the next level. Try out a group training class with him and get a head start on your New Year's resolution today!
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