To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

I’ve received some emails lately from readers who ask when I weigh, how often I weigh, what time of day do I weigh, etc.  🙂  My responses have probably left them thinking “She’s not kidding: she really is a Hot Mess.”  Let me explain…

I get on the scale almost every day.  I’m the kind of person who needs to know what’s going on at the start of every day.  It’s a jumping off point for me and it keeps me honest with myself.  If I get on the scale and it shows my current weight, then I’m good.  If it shows an extra pound or two, I make note of it…but I don’t let it bother me.  I’m a woman and the scale naturally fluctuates.  Whether you believe in God, evolution, Mother Nature, or some other power of creation…whoever or whatever it was that created the female body sure had a hell of a sense of humor.  The joke is on us, ladies…especially with that whole water retention thang.

Fitness gurus and doctors galore will tell you not to get on the scale more than once a week.  Some say once a month.  As always, I’m here to shout “BULLSHIT!” at the top of my lungs.  I say do what you need to do and ignore the experts – in this instance, anyway.  I have never understood why I should only get on the scale once a week.  Getting on the scale every day (again, with a healthy outlook about it) makes me look the devil in the face every day.  It keeps me honest with the extra helping of chips & salsa I had…or the fact that I didn’t eat a proper dinner because I munched out all night.  Why would I want to wait until scale day to find out that the extra time I did on the treadmill wasn’t enough to turn that around?

I do recommend, however, if you get on the scale every day…or if you’re thinking of getting on the scale every day…that you do some soul searching as to what your true relationship is with Mr. Scale .

Here it is, quick & dirty:  if you can’t handle the number on the scale, don’t get on it.  If you’re the kind of person (and I was, too) who will do everything right and then beat themselves up because the scale doesn’t move…don’t get on it.

The biggest reason to avoid Mr. Scale:  If you are going to end up feeling worse about yourself than you already do, don’t get on it.  DON’T!!!  It’s not worth it.  Think about it:  you’re embarking on a major life change, trying to live a healthy life, making sacrifices and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone…why on Earth would you want to make yourself feel bad right before you take on such an enormous task?  There’s always time to get on the scale later…don’t set yourself up to fail.

Now, there are some situations where you need to get on it.  If you’re just starting out, you need to find out where you are.  You need to weigh and measure and then lock that shit up somewhere if you can’t handle it.  If you had a midnight snack of cake batter ice cream & cheerios, get your butt on it.  You know what you did and you know it’s not gonna be pretty.  Put your big girl panties on and get on the scale.  Look that number hard in the fact.  Know it.  Feel it.  Understand that you own full responsibility for putting that number on that scale.  Promise yourself you will not do it again.  Tell yourself you’re sorry.  Do not attack yourself or play head games with yourself.

Grab the reigns and don’t let go.  It takes balls to face up to something unpleasant.  Give yourself credit.  Face it, know it, understand it, and then put it away.  Don’t let it control you – you control it.  Sit down and make a plan.  Think back to all the mistakes you’ve made in the past and find ways around them.  Don’t make those mistakes again.  Once you’ve dealt with the bad behavior that got you here, kick it to the curb.  It has no business here anymore.  In fact, one of my favorite sayings is perfect here:


Deal with it and keep on stepping.  We all know what happens when we throw out hands up and give up.  We reach for the Reeses and it’s all over.  Just one time…don’t do it.  Just one time, keep moving ahead.  Keep going.  Don’t take a break…just keep moving.

If you’re going to face the scale, do it with a level head and a solid plan to protect yourself from negativity or stay away from it.  As a general rule, we place way too much importance on what the scale says.  We end up feeling terrible about ourselves and we keep going back for more.  This is crazy behavior!  There was a time not too long ago when I asked Hot Mess Hubby to hide it from me because I knew I couldn’t resist the impulse to get on it and I played such horrible head games with myself when weighed myself.  I was so crazy in my head that even after a solid week of eating super healthy and working out, if I got on the scale and it didn’t budge I would immediately question all my hard work.

I only did 20 minutes on the treadmill on Tuesday instead of 30.  I’m so weak!

I knew I should have had 8 glasses of water yesterday…I only had 4.  This is all my fault.

Am I sure I worked out yesterday?  I wasn’t really pushing the envelope…

Crazy talk.

It seems unfair, but sometimes even if you are eating less, eating healthy, and moving more…the scale doesn’t budge.  Your only real choice is to just keep going.  Trust in the fact that science is not going to fail you.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  It will move.

The scale is a tool for you to use.  It doesn’t own you, it doesn’t have super powers.  So if you allow it to have an effect on your mood, you need to just kick it under the bed and leave it there until you come to your senses.

Make sure you’re making the decision to weigh or not to weigh based on your needs alone.  Don’t listen to what anyone else things you should do.  Listen to your gut.

The day will come when you have the courage to deal with what Mr. Scale says.  You’ll know when that is – and when you do come out to confront him, Mr. Scale will be your bitch.  Don’t shy away from this.  Grab this bull by the horns and ride him out…it’s cardio.  🙂



My Weigh Elite Series Bathroom Body Weight Scale – 400 lb

EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale w/ 400 lb. Capacity & Auto Recognition Technology


15 thoughts on “To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

  1. I weigh once a week, in the morning after I wake up. I found weighing more often showed too much fluctuation based on silly things, like drinking a glass of water or if it was before or after exercise. It caused motivation to falter because I was focusing on the scale TOO often. And especially with women, weight can fluctuate often (I once weighed every day during a menstrual cycle and my weight fluctuated in a SEVEN lb range in both directions. none of the #s were my true weight). I found my balance in once a week. I’ve lost over 100lbs and still consistently lose and have about 50lbs to go. Everyone has to find what works for them. For me, once a week works perfectly and after doing this for over a year, I am still motivated and accountable every single day. It’s also good to find a place at least once to get on a scale that will tell you your water weight, fat to muscle ratio, etc. It’s quite eye opening. Those numbers mean more than just simple BMI which takes limited #s into consideration. 

  2. Hi there,
    I get on the scale twice a day, once before bed and when i get up. Both just with underwear on. Maybe its because i have been doing so well. It’s mostly all down for now… yes it fluctuates but usually only when i have eaten something with high carb (not just sweet but starch too). I know that and this is motivation for me at this time. It keeps me on track. I don’t know how i will do when i hit a plateau but for now i feel good when i stand on that scale and see like this morning that i am down some more. I also get a happy go to sleep feeling knowing that in the morning (after i go to the bathroom) the scale will be down 1 or 2 pounds 🙂
    Right now i am doing what feels right for me and i think that is the only way to go 🙂 I started Weight watchers on January 4th and yesterday i was down 12,4 kilo (=27.3 pounds). I think i am doing awesomely well and i am proud of ME 🙂

    1. Jacquie!  How’s life in Holland today?  I’ve gotten on the scale at night before, just out of curiousity’s sake…but that number is often wrong for me.  I do know that when it’s lower than it was in the morning, it usually means I’ve lost weight and the scale will reflect that in the morning…but as a rule, I don’t get on it right before bed.

      Awesome job on the 27.3 pounds!!  (And thank you for not making me find a metric converter online…LOL)  You’re doing great!

  3. I weigh myself first thing in the morning and go through many of the same mind games you do.  I see nothing wrong with weighing in everyday.  

  4. How did you get so smart about this weight thing?  It is hard to believe you were ever not in control of your weight.  You have the bull by the horns now for sure.  I encourage people to weigh every day. It is easier to see the relationship of too many carbs, salt, sore muscles – all of which cause fluid retention.  As you put it so well – the number will move DOWN if you keep eating right and moving more.  
    You are such a shining example of someone getting it right.  Your head is in the right place and you are sharing your insight.  You are in control!!

    1. Thanks, M.  🙂  In a way, I feel like I’m stalking myself…but in a good way.  LOL.

  5. I am a scale jumper once a day usually.  I also like to know where I am in the morning.  Just to be sure, keep things in mind.  The fluctuations don’t bother me much.  I don’t get things all up in a bunch unless it’s more than 3 pounds one way or the other.  If it’s 3 lbs. up…I need to pay attention to what’s going IN my mouth more & maybe move a little bit more.  If it’s down 3 lbs…I usually do a little bit of a happy dance & it also helps motivate me to keep up the good/healthy work.
    I’ve just recently started making changes to SERIOUSLY start eating clean.  I have made just a couple of minor changes & in 3 days 4 lbs just fell off.  Holy Crap.
    AND I feel better.  AND I have slept good FINALLY…it’s been so long. 
    I don’t consider myself a crazy health nut person.  If I can’t stand the craving some day I’ll run thru a drive thru somewhere sometime & order me a kids meal cheeseburger & fries. I’m not afraid to admit that.  The moment I completely DENY myself something is the moment that it’s all that I CRAVE. But I have decided to take as MUCH sugar out of my diet as I can & slowly remove some of the processed food that I eat. 

    Keep up your good work, honey-bunch!  I’m anxiously waiting to hear what kind of new walking/workout shoes you get.  Shoe shopping is shoe shopping no matter how you look at it =)

    1. I’m still waiting to sleep well, ZombieMom!  For example, I took Ambien at 8 tonight and it’s almost 11…and I’m still up.  Although I did chop off the end of my thumb tonight…but still…  (I wonder how much weight lost in that little piece of thumb.  Just kidding!)

  6. I’m an everyday weigher as well! I’ve always told anyone who asked why that it’s because it keeps me motivated and honest. If I see a gain then it makes me work that much harder to get it off! I don’t want to weigh in once a week and see a 5lb gain for some horrific reason, I’d rather stay on top of it before it gets ugly! I say a weigh a day keeps the jiggle at bay!

  7. yup, I am a daily weigher too.  It’s just too important to me to not see what’s going on for a whole week!

  8. Thank you for this post today. I needed it. Mr. scale and I are going to have to seperate for a while because we are not in a happy place. I am trying and doung well in my eating and moving, but a bad combination of medicines, fenderbenders, and stress (oh they joys of grad school!) have made him a horrid bastard. Thank you for reminding me I AM doing better for myself and I CAN chose to ignore the scale until it’s time for my monthly weigh-in. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, April…thanks for reading & commenting!!  Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember, too…this kind of challenge is a BIG challenge.

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