To weigh or not to weigh? That is the question!

Weight loss and a healthy body weight

Is checking your weight even necessary? I can tell you from experience, after losing more than 60 pounds over a course of about a year, it’s definitely necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I cringe every time I step on the scale hoping my body weight didn’t increase. However, realistically, if you don’t weigh yourself, you can’t monitor any progress you’ve made in terms of weight loss and gains.

The weight scale can be a scary thing for many of us – scarier than the boogieman or a big, hairy spider crawling up the wall of your home. Who wants to hear they’ve gained weight or weigh more than they should? I can tell you when I weighed almost 300 pounds (gasp!) I wasn’t sure if my digital scale was going to tell me, “Get off, you’re hurting me,” or start sputtering and throw up an “Error” message on the screen. Luckily, it didn’t. But looking down at my weight of 293 pounds, I realized I had to do something.

If all of us were able to eat whatever we wanted and not worry about eating in moderation, the good folks who design and build scales would probably be out business. However, there are all kinds of scales on the market – digital scales, as well as the kind with numbers that go around like a clock, and heavy-duty large scales that cost hundreds of dollars (like those you see in doctor’s offices). Are they built the same? Is one different from the other? Should I invest hundreds of dollars in a scale that’s going to give me the lowest weight? I can tell you that if you have an older scale, it may be a good idea to consider getting a new one, since everything else built by man is prone to eventual breakdowns and/or inaccuracies.

As for children, is it good to have your child weigh themselves? According to Kelly Kolp, registered dietitian at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona, it’s okay to monitor your child’s body weight regularly.

Kolp said, “Having your child check their weight regularly is a good way to help ensure they’re not overweight or too thin. However, it needs to be done in moderation, especially as they get older and become teenagers. The idea is not to encourage that they check their weight as a form of achieving peer acceptance, but rather as a normal process of monitoring their health. We strongly recommend parents work with their child’s pediatrician regularly, so they can find out if there are any major discrepancies or irregularities in their child’s weight.”

For adults who are on a weight loss program, sometimes seeing the numbers can either be easy or extremely difficult. If you’re on a weight loss plan like me, the idea is not to get discouraged if you don’t see any major weight loss, or even a slight gain.

I confess that for several months, my weight loss plateaued – meaning it either stayed the same, or I lost only 2 or 3 pounds over an extended period of time. I admit it was a bit discouraging on my part, and I felt that all that hard work was being outdone by those 5 grams of carbs I ate at lunch. But I learned how to adjust my eating and exercising habits to promote further weight loss without dropping tons of weight within a short period of time. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the weight scale, it has helped me with my weight loss journey.

So the bottom line is to have no fear of the scale. Try to make the scale your friend. Heck, if you want to buy it flowers thinking it’s going to treat you better, do it. If you don’t want people to know your weight, it’s your prerogative to keep it a secret. Try to develop your own weight-checking schedule that you’re comfortable with – like weighing yourself around the same time of day.

Experts say the best time to weigh yourself is in the morning before you eat breakfast and drink anything,  and without too much clothing. For some people, weighing themselves everyday works best and for others, weighing themselves one day a week may work best. The idea is to focus on your achievements and work with your primary care physician if you see any major weight loss or weight gain in a short period of time.

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