Viewer Mail.

Dear MizFit,

I am embarrassed to admit that I allow a silly display on a SCALE to
dictate **how** I feel about myself on any given day.

Nonetheless, I must ask for fact vs fiction regarding THE
WEIGH-IN NUMBER on a scale:

1) Is it beneficial to weigh every day or just once a week?
2) Is there any truth to getting a more accurate weight reading in the
morning? or at least striving to weigh in at the same time of day for
each weigh-in?
3) Is it okay to skip the scale all-together?

Seriously Considering throwing the Scale Outside the nearest High-Rise,
Weighed-Down in VA

I try and pick emails (you know, from the millions the MizFit receives daily. She’s second only to Jillian on that account.) which I think ask questions that many people have. This one? DEFINITELY wins by a landslide.

Ive received the same email—written myriad ways— from a number of you.

Before I answer lemmie give a brief disclaimer: the MizFit could ramble about this shit compelling topic forever. For hours.

It would be a facetime of the week and run night & day.

All that to say that what follows is merely scratching the surface and only my opinion.

now let’s get to the good stuff.

First? Everyone in Virginia run and duck for cover as I do believe (hope? dare to dream?) that by the end of this post there’ll be a scale whizzing out a high-rise window.

Im not a fan of the scale.

Pretty much period. Sure it’s great to hop on them once a year during your annual physical but—in the MizFit’s mind—that really should be it.

However, since Im aware that 99% of the population disagrees with me, let’s at least set a few boundaries with the hunk of metal which can rule our lives if we give it too much power.

Rule Number One: If you care to call yerself a MizFit I command you never, EVER *EVER* to weigh yourself daily. Talk about a mindfuck game. If our goal is to be kind to ourselves and set ourselves up for success this surely is not the path.

Eat 3 cannisters of Chipper brand beef jerky *and* a whole mess of sliced deli turkey? * The scale is definitely going to be up a few pounds the next morning.

Spend a long, hot, fun day in the sun and not drink enough fluids? Your dehydration could definitely reflect itself on the scale in pounds lost.

If you choose to weight yourself regularly, weighed-down in virginia, Id suggest you pick one set day & time a week and stick to that schedule.

This segues nicely to your second question about the accurate weight reading in the morning (MizFit is now about to snag yer scale and hurl it out the highrise *for* you but I digress…). Many recommend you weight first thing in the morning (post-peeing if you wanna be extra sure you’re empty!) as, since you havent eaten in a while, you will receive a true “read” or weight.

Me? I really dont think that it matters. I guess you can make the effort to always weigh either at the end of the day or first thing in the morning—-but MizFit doesnt roll with the scale like that.

Alas, there is no dramatic reason why I dont weigh myself either (I know. there’s no hope for a turbulent MizFit memoir which could then be turned into a Lifetime movie starring Mischa Barton) .

For me it is *all* about how the clothes fit.

It’s as simple as are my favorite jeans too tight (Im making up an example here. we all know that the MizFit doesnt shed her Nike trail running shorts unless coerced)?

I must have gained a few & it’s time to re-examine my activity level or my diet.

I wrote an article recently where I suggested that women pick a particular piece of clothing as their check-in piece (this was geared toward people who had shed a great deal of weight and were beginning to maintain), skip the scale, and try the article of clothing on once a week instead.

If I could tell you what to do, emailer, Id suggest going that route. Find a pair of pants/skirt/shorts you either fit into or aspire to wear and rename THAT as your scale.

I promise you while it might be frustrating on the days the item doesnt fit —-it will be no where near as self-esteem bashing as the hunk of metal bearing a meaningless number.

Thats just my .02 though—-MizFits? What do you think?

*this is just an example. this would never be your fearless leader.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m a once-per-week (Monday mornings) weigher. I find that it helps me catch a creeping weight gain earlier than if I didn’t weigh. I’ve tried the clothes test, but I’m such a great liar to myself, and I can always come up with a reason (I’m bloated, the jeans shrunk in the dryer, etc.) for my pants to be snug. But the numbers don’t lie…

  2. says

    For years (literally, years) I weighed myself daily. The only time I didn’t was if I was in a hotel without a scale. But lately I’ve been changing my ways and weighing myself less, just once a week. I agree with Jen, this keeps me on top of things and more honest with myself, but I’m trying to get away from the scale altogether.

    If I’m actively trying to loose weight/get smaller, I go by measurements instead. As someone who builds muscle easily, I can loose 2 inches around my waist but have no change on the scale. If you judge how you’re doing based on the scale, you wouldn’t notice this change, and you could get down on yourself for no real reason! Still, treat the measuring tape like Mizfit says about the scale – once per week at the most!

  3. MizFit says

    FULL DISCLOSURE:

    MizFit hath employed the clothes simply shrank excuse more times than she can count. As in:

    I need to start hanging dry my Nike trail running shorts. Those fuckers things keep shrinking!!

    and.

    hangingdrydidnthelp.

  4. says

    Ok, I admit it, I’m an (almost) daily weigher. I take it with a grain of salt (or a mexican dinner’s worth, on water-retaining days). I wouldn’t recommend this to any of my friends, though it works for me. After years of being reduced to tears by a number on a scale (in my 200+ pound days), now I just look at it as a maintenance tool. Weekly would be better, but I’m crappy at keeping habits, so once a week tasks would just fall by the wayside.

    That being said, yeah, pants are definitely better. And I’ve used the “shrunk in the dryer excuse”, but at the back of my mind, I’m thinking about runs I had skipped or refried beans eaten with abandon. I’m not a very good liar, even to myself.

    And the numbers on the scale aren’t worth getting too gleeful or morose over. I once had a fluctuation of 6 pound in one long weekend. Some extra salt here, a daytime run in Southern heat there, and the pounds came and went faster than an early-season American Idol contestant. So, nothing to get too worked up over.

  5. says

    First off – you’d pick scrawny Mischa Barton to play you in a Lifetime movie?! At least go with Jessica Biel – girl has some muscle.

    Secondly – I so agree with you on this one. And I so wish I could take your advice. I’m a daily weigh-er. I tell myself I do it for data for all my experiments. Plus my scale does bodyfat (not accurately, mind you). But a while back I did an experiment where I tracked no numbers at all and I gotta say it was the most peaceful week of my life. It was very freeing to wake up and just go on how I was feeling, not what the scale said I was feeling.

    PS> Gym Buddy Allison like our no numbers experiment that she has stuck with it since then. Hasn’t weighed herself in over a month and she is loving it!

  6. MizFit says

    OMG Charlotte.

    MizFit musta been in a blood sugar crash moment when she wrote that.

    (I dont heart the Biel. Story for another post. Homegurl talks WAY TOO MUCH about her v’jayjay in public)

    Id pick old school Linda Hamilton, Demi in GI Jane (love or hate her *now* she was badass then), or J. Garner.

    thank you for pointing out my error.

    M.

  7. says

    I don’t own a scale and haven’t since I was a freshman in college (I’m 41 now). I’ve always used clothes-fit and how I feel as my gauge and have never had any serious “weight” creep. If I put on a bit of pudge, I work it off.

    A good rule to follow is to never buy clothes that are bigger than the ones you have. A tight waistband is a reminder to keep your hands off the donuts at the office!

  8. The Bag Lady says

    Sigh.
    The Bag Lady has a terrible relationship with her scale. She was a daily weigh-er for many years, and still does that occasionally. Her problem is that she can gain as much as 5 lbs in a DAY, but somehow, never seems to lose that much in the same time period (**look of confusion**) What’s up with that?
    It is so much easier to not weigh yourself when you are slim than when you are heavy, at least as far as the Bag Lady is concerned. So she is in the daily phase right now. (Note to self *stop eating so much and start getting more exercise!!)

  9. says

    I am obssesed with 2 things! My scale and my Heart Rate Monitor. (calories) Not sure how accurate my HRM is, but if I move my scale a little to the right where the floor is uneven, I drop 5 or 6 lbs. in a matter of seconds!

  10. Dr. J says

    All good advice!

    I rarely weigh myself. Maybe every few months, really. I just use a full length mirror and try to be brave :-)

    I had to laugh one time at my fitness center when I saw someone who was FIT on the scale. I asked him, why are you weighing yourself, you are beyond fit! It turned out he was a professional track athlete and was fine tuning for competition. It’s all relative, I guess.

  11. says

    ok, I have found that I am more likely to weigh myself than try on that darned dress (or pair of jeans now). I have them out to see each day/week, but I just can’t bring myself to try and force them on. I always end up feeling like a big fat sausage trying to squeeze into it’s casing, which leaves me feeling worse. So the scale seems like a less painful, although not entirely accurate, way for me to gauge my progress.

    I’ve decided that daily just doesn’t work for me though, so I’m going to 2x per week.
    And since mine does body fat, I’m doing it later in the day to make sure I am properly hydrated.

  12. says

    as always the MizFits leave me laughing and *thinking* (and surprised how many of you are scale devotees. Id not have guessed!)

    M.

  13. says

    I can truthfully, unabashedly say, that I just don’t care what the scale says.

    I don’t weigh myself. Ever. My husband had to BEG ME to even buy a scale, which sits dusty in our bedroom.

    I am occasionally weighed by my personal trainer, so she can write it in my stupid book, but I don’t pay attention. I must literally be “big boned” because people are always shocked by the number. Everyone’s guess is at least 40lbs under what the scale says. So using the scale as some sort of barometer for how I feel about myself? Naw.

  14. says

    And another thing… I can get on 5 different scales and have 5 different weights. But, that one pair of jeans doesn’t change – and I can tell where I’m at by how hard I have to squeeze to get into them. But – I do admit to climbing on the scale now and then and reacting each time to the number. AND – I have my yearly doc appt. soon and damn if that scale doesn’t weigh me like 7 lbs more than my home scale. I’m considering a fast before I go. Sad, I know. Perhaps I will instead just keep up my exercise and “cleaner” eating and accept it.

  15. says

    Woohoo!! Something I do right! I don’t own a scale. I think they are evil. I rely on the clothes fitting principle. I find out what I weigh when I am at the doctor a couple of times a year (well when I’m in non-knocked-up state). Screw the scale. I let the mirror or my jeans shame me instead LOL.

  16. says

    Please pick old school Linda Hamilton! I aspire to be as kickass as she was in T2. Hmmm, I should watch that movie again soon. Maybe I will be inspired to work out harder.

    You know, Workout Mommy made a good point. I get way more depressed and down on myself when I try on my smallest pair of jeans and they’re too tight than when the scale says I’ve gone up a lb or two. Maybe it’s because I know my scale isn’t all that accurate but my jeans are. Maybe it’s because I understand that what I ate yesterday has a huge amount to do with that number. But, if I have to work extra hard to put on my jeans, I know that isn’t just a function of what I ate yesterday. It doesn’t matter how many burritos I ate yesterday, my ass will not grow *that* much overnight.

  17. says

    I’m with Workout Mommy and Gena about how I feel depends more on whether my clothes fit than what the scale says… but I still do weigh myself every two or three days. I’m a small person though so while some peoples weight will go up and down 5 or 10 lbs in a day, it takes me a considerable amount of time to gain or lose 5 lbs and its very noticeable. My insatiable curiosity is what has me jumping on the scale when I see it! But I do prefer judging by which clothes fit.

  18. Katheryn says

    I couldn’t agree more, I use a tape measure two or three times a month instead.

  19. says

    Scale Junkie in VA here

    Need
    to
    just
    toss
    my scale

    But it has been a habit for over 15 years – YUCK
    Looks like I’m not alone

    I’ll try the how-does-my-arse-look-and-feel-in-these-jeans approach and let ya know how that works out!

  20. says

    I love this advice, and think it’s absolutely true. Here’s another little trick I’ve been playing on myself. Shop for pants at the second-hand places. Find your size and try the pants on. I promise they will be tight (some people wash and dry their pants to death before they donate them. Shrink, shrink) Then you panic and are very, very good for several days thinking you’ve gained so much weight. I know this sounds crazy, but it really works for me, so I’m running with it!

  21. says

    newbie poster here!
    love all the advice from the MIZ and all these great comments.
    MY battery operated scale ran out of juice a few months ago and i have a much happier morning NOT obsessing those 3 pounds i went up or down each day. i LOVE the clothing method much better. my jeans are feeling a bit tight this week…better step up the exercise..been slacking lately…and reign in the eating a bit(e)! off to read the portion control section now!:)

  22. MizFit says

    welcome, Jen!

    The Bumbling Band is nothing if not supportive, encouraging & snarky.

    hope you enjoy the portion control info as much as I ADORE YOUR STUFF.

    this? must be mine.

    M.

  23. says

    I agree with you. I only weigh in maybe every 2 weeks, but we do weigh in at the end of each boot camp session. I don’t let the numbers get to me, and I always go by how my clothes are fitting, how I’m feeling etc.

  24. says

    I’ll just keep sliding my scale around until I get a number I like. Kind of like that Magic 8 Ball I had as a child. (yes, I am that old)

  25. says

    I second Gena’s vote for old-skool Linda Hamilton. Her arms in T2 are my upperbody workout motivator.

    My obsession with her arms has turned into such a joke among my friends that now anyone of us tackling an especially hard task is met with cheers of “Linda Hamilton Arms!!!!”.

  26. Rebecca says

    I am with the almost daily weighers. I never weighed for years(I was afraid to). I knew the number of my jeans and the scale was not favorable. Once I started to lose wt and then once I lost the weight I became tied to the scale. I do believe it helps me not use the “They shrunk in the dryer excuse”
    I also like to be aware of how my body fluctuates on what time of the month it is. Sometimes I have to look at the calender to feel relieved that the scale is creeping. I really wish I had measured for a base line for fitness reasons. I guess I could do it now and just try to maintain or get better.

  27. says

    I went for decades not weighing myself. Decades. And I gained weight and could ignore it. Yes, clothes got tighter.. and I had to up sizes, but it was not important.

    Now I’m down to the weight I thought I wanted, but I am not lean.. body fat comp. is still UGLY. I weigh. When I think about it, I weigh in the morning. Maybe 2-3 times a week. Because I can ignore the tight jeans as much as I’m ignoring the lose ones (hey, I pull on the wrong pair of jeans and the slide down from the weight of my cell phone in the pocket. I really should pay attention, here).

    I don’t obsess about the number. It can vary by 5# up or down in a day. Who knows why? I aim for an average.

    And I am still aiming for a look in the mirror that will finally say: those toned ab muscles are finally visible. I don’t care what number the scale says when that happens.

  28. says

    I’m not in favor of using the scale either!!! I don’t even own one! They mess up the bathroom decor.

    I prefer measuring body fat % or simply seeing how my clothes fit and how I feel!

  29. says

    I was a once a day-er and now I’m down to once a week. I’m learning though! It’s a tool, and I think you need to lose when you are starting and then you learn it’s not necessary.

    Great insights!

  30. Heather says

    I have had a serious scale addiction in the past (we’re talking multiple times per day), and have been having trouble giving it up. But you’ve inspired me.

    It’s in the trash to go out tomorrow.

    *sigh* (of freedom?)

  31. Bronwyn says

    I used to be obsessed with the number on the scale. It would dictate how I would feel, what I would eat, how much I would try and control my life. I gained weight, due to some serious disordered eating, and the numbers on the scale made me mad/sad/depressed. A small up, a mere day of too much salt resulting in a gain would send me into a head spin of controling/binging cycling. So one day in late 2006 I said, Bronwyn this is ridiculous, you deserve better. You are more than a number.

    So I stopped weighing myself. And I began exercising and stopped binging. And I began taking my measurements. I guess I’m all for the clothing/measuring way of tracking your health. I step on te scale occasionally now, but it’s the tape measure that is my marker of weight gained or lost.

  32. Suze says

    Great discussion…I refused to weigh myself for years–then realized I had gained 30# when I finally did step on the scale. Since I’ve been losing, I weigh myself every day, in the morning. *BUT* I only count the number for Monday. I fluctuate day to day as others have mentioned, so I find that counting the once a week number helps me see my progress as I lose.

    Debra, I agree with you, even though I lost weight my body is NOT toned or good-looking at all. On to more squats! :)

  33. MizFit says

    suze/debra—
    might I implore you to change up your thinking to:

    DAMN I look GOOD. Ive worked my ass off (literally) and Im healthier and happier and more energetic to boot!

    Im so excited to now shift what I have around a tad and pack some muscle on my frame.

    I cant WAIT until next week when MizFit rambles at us about protein shakes and her love o’her chocolate one!

    a shake mightcould be a tasty alternative in the summer heat and I KNOW when Im lifting (since I SO DO now that I have joined the Bumbling Band) I need more protein to CREATE the muscles Im working so hard to get.

    I LOVE ME already and I cant wait to see my next incarnation o’fabulousity.

    M.

  34. says

    I just realized yesterday, while walking to the therapist’s office (fun!), that I haven’t stepped on the ginormous Toledor scale at my gym (or any scale) since December. Four months might not seem huge, but I’m really happy. Body image expert or not, numbers can still get to you and I just got sick of feeling “bad” if it showed I gained a few pounds overnight…even tho logically, I understand it’s water weight and even if not, what’s a few pounds, really? Now, I don’t even need to worry about it. My pants still button (altho whenever my jeans come out the dryer, there’s often a quick moment of “WTF?” as I need a pliers to zip them. But overall, it’s so freeing and yesterdy I actually thought, “What if I never weighed myself EVER AGAIN?” How amazing would that be? Impractical, perhaps. But the thought made me smile.

  35. Mallory says

    I’m a once a week girl, but its also part of my training, track my progress. I also go my body fat % and clothing. Although I also like to go by fitness test. I may gain 2 pounds in a week but decrease my body fat % and increase the number of push-ups I could do, sounds like a fair trade to me. No one measurement is a good indicator of progress or hours of blood and sweat left on the gym floor!

  36. says

    I was such a Scale Junkie but I finally broke free from its clutches!

    Honestly, I’ll tell everyone, the SCALE LIES!! The hunk of glass and metal is a LIAR!! My weight remained unchanged for a whole month, thankfully I took my measurements because I had lost 3 inches from my hips and a few inches else where too…yes my weight was the same but my BODY wasn’t the same.

    I could go on and on until I ran out of space in this box but I just have to say to everyone…limit your scale time.

  37. says

    Late comment here, but that’s okay because I have nothing pertinent to add. I just wanted to say, “Yeah! What you said!” :-)

    V.

  38. says

    I’m with the daily weigh crowd.

    If I don’t weigh, the weight creeps on. I am large at over 200 pounds… and frankly, tend to wear stretchy style pants, lose T-shirts. You can gain and lose quite a LOT without noticing much in the way of clothes fit!

    Let’s just say that I have lost nearly 40 pounds over the last year and a half and I STILL WEAR THE SAME SIZE 2X PANTS that I wore at my high weight! They are just a bit more comfortable now, whereas before, they were getting tight. I still wear the same 2X swimsuit size as well. Again, the suit is not loose yet, but is a little easier to get into. I tried a 1X suit… still in danger of busting the seams, so not quite there yet.

    If I went by clothes size/fit, I’d go MAD, stark ravin’ CRAZY, I tell you! My body loses inches first around my extremities and slowly at that! By the time you can tell anything on my hips, lots of time and pounds have gone by! For me, the scale shows the creeping progress and I stay motivated. Clothes DON’T show it. If anything, they make it worse, because they tend to tighten in the dryer, so they still feel tight when I put them on, it’s just that now, when they relax a bit after I’ve been in them an hour or two, I can tell the difference in fit. I’d say the clothes lie way more than my scale does! This may change, as I continue to lose weight, but for now, I prefer a way to see some progress versus a way that simply leads to frustration.

    Those scale numbers are data, only data. I don’t fuss at all when I see a high number after eating something salty or carby. It’s just a reminder of where I’m at, that’s all. And I look at the month to month picture really.

  39. says

    What a great post. I responded on my blog as I have a tendency to hop on and off the scale on a somewhat regular basis (bad Erica!).

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