Thursday, October 7, 2010

To scale or not to scale

A few months ago, I decided to weigh in at Weight Watchers once a month, because getting on the scale weekly was frustrating. Depending on what I eat during the day can mean I lose a tad of weight – or at times – gain a pound.
But that doesn’t keep me from getting on my scale daily, before I jump in the shower. I am scale obsesses, and I really don’t think it is healthy. According to an article I read on, I’m right!
The website quotes Keri Gans, RD, a nutrition consultant in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.=: "People get frustrated with the movement of the scale, and it might take them away from sticking with their plan. Especially if they see it going up one day — that could affect their sticking to their plan.”
One study of Minnesota junior high and high school students found that girls who frequently weighed themselves often resorted to unhealthy dieting tactics such as skipping meals, smoking, and using diet pill or laxatives to reach a healthy weight. Frequent self-weighers also tended to gain more weight than girls who did not weigh themselves that often.
The problem is that a person's body weight can fluctuate wildly day to day, and even hour to hour. "If you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, you're going to have a different weight than if you weigh yourself at 5:30 p.m.," Gans says. "You weigh less in the morning because you're on an empty stomach, and you're usually a little bit dehydrated."
What you eat also makes a difference. For example, if your meal the night before was high in sodium, you might be a little bloated, with water affecting the weight on the scale. In addition, women's menstrual cycles can play havoc with the amount of water they are retaining. These hormonal variations can cause the scale to tip in a way not reflective of your overall healthy weight.
Gans recommends a once-a-week weigh in, at the same time of day on the same day so there is consistency. Starting today, I am going to try once a week at home, monthly at Weight Watchers.

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