It’s commonly suggested to weigh ourselves weekly, or even less often, under the justification that our weight fluctuates from day to day and we might let these daily fluctuations cause us emotional or mental distress. It’s true that our weight fluctuates from day to day, but if we’re experiencing distress whenever we step on the scale, the root problem isn’t the frequency at which we’re stepping on the scale and the solution isn’t to step on the scale less often. Here’s why. If you see that you weigh 160 on one Saturday and then 165 the next Saturday, you have to wait an entire week before knowing whether this is just a fluctuation (i.e. you weigh 160 again the next Saturday) or if it’s legitimate weight gain (i.e. you still weigh 165 the next Saturday). Not only that, but if you’re one to stress about your weight, you’ll be doing so for the entire week between measurements.
Weighing yourself daily, however, gives you much more data between those two Saturdays to determine in what direction the trend is headed. In our example of noticing and increase in our weekly weight measurement, what if we just got back on the scale on Sunday and saw that we were still moving towards our goals? What about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday also? These are all data points we’re not taking advantage of if we’re only checking our progress once each week. If we assess daily, we have six more data points to help us see whether we’re seeing legitimate weight change or just normal fluctuation. Furthermore, if we’re experiencing mental distress based on our weight, checking daily might help us to desensitize ourselves to these fluctuations. We see that each day our weight might be higher or lower than the preceding day. We might even see how your weight responds to different meals, drinks, and other circumstances. The trend over time, however, is what matters. On that note, you’ll want to keep the circumstances surrounding your progress checks as consistent as possible. You might find that immediately after waking, before eating or drinking anything, is a reliable way to repeatedly check your progress under the same conditions.
You don’t solve a problem by running from it. If you’re checking your progress less often because doing so causes you distress, the problem is the distress, not the frequency at which you’re checking your progress. If you aren’t down with weighing or measuring yourself at all, you might just pay attention to how you look and how your clothes fit. How we look and feel matters far more than any number on a scale.
There are plenty of indicators of progress completely unrelated to your size and shape that you’ll benefit from assessing regularly.
How do you feel?
How’s your digestion?
How’s your energy?
How’s your mood?
How’s your focus?
How’s your sleep?
How’s your strength?
How’s your stamina?
How’s your mobility?
Even if the scale and the tape measure are moving, you might consider continuing to tinker with your eating habits, training, and lifestyle if one or more of these aspects needs improvement.
Finally, regardless of what indicator(s) you choose to track your progress, don’t let any of them define your worth. Decide how you feel about yourself and what kind of day it’s going to be before you step on the scale. Determine your value as a person before you see how your clothes fit. Establish what kind of day you’re going to have before you look in the mirror. You can try all the tricks in the book for finding the “best” way to track progress, but the most important indicator of progress is how comfortable and confident you feel in your own skin. No number on the scale, marker on the tape measure, or size on the tag will create change there. That’s completely up to you and what’s going on between your ears.
Start with loving yourself as you are, completely separate from your weight, your size, your shape, or any number you’re using to track physical change. Yes, your body composition matters. It’s not all that matters, though. Put in the work to love yourself for no reason other than that you are you. With all your imperfections. With all your weaknesses. With everything that you’d like to change. Your body is the only one you’ll ever have. Treat it with the love and respect it deserves.
Your body deserves it.
You deserve it.
You are worthy.
You’ve got this.