Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tracking Your Weight

Tracking your weight is the most direct and accurate way to know if you are gaining weight, losing weight or maintaining your weight. How you feel about your weight once you get on the scale depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to lose weight, of course you will be happy to see the numbers go down. On the other hand, the last thing you want is to see the numbers climb. Don’t let fear of what the scale might show keep you from weighing yourself regularly. The best way to know if your weight loss program is working for you is to check your weight as often as possible without becoming obsessive about it.

What the Numbers on the Scale Mean
  1. Tracking your weight will tell you if you are gaining weight, losing weight or maintaining your weight. The results are generally an indication of whether or not your diet is working for you. If you want to lose weight, the scale should reflect this. If you are losing an average of 2 to 3 pounds a week, you should feel pretty good about the results. At this rate you can lose 8 pounds or more a month without going on a dangerously low-calorie diet. 
  2. If the scale indicates that you are gaining weight, you need to take an objective look at what you are eating as well as how much. You also need to look at your exercise routine to see if there is anything else that you can do to burn more calories. DO NOT IGNORE THE CHANGES ON THE SCALE IF THE NUMBERS KEEP CLIMBING.
  3. If you are exercising a lot, you could be building muscle while losing fat, but you might not know that from the numbers on the scale. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you might not see much change in your weight; you might even see the numbers go up slightly. Don’t panic if this happens. A good way to find out if you are losing fat is to measure your waistline. It should be shrinking even if the scale shows otherwise..
Tips for Weighing Yourself
  1. Weigh yourself at the same time each day (or at whatever intervals you weigh yourself.)
  2. Weigh yourself in the same amount of clothing each time. The best time to weigh is upon awakening and just before jumping in the shower. After voiding and having a bowel movement in the morning is also a good idea.
  3. If you prefer to weigh yourself at night, do so at the same time every evening.
  4. Use the same scale to weigh to weigh yourself each time. Scales are not always calibrated equally; therefore you might get one reading on one and a totally different reading on another. This is especially true if you weigh yourself on the scale in a supermarket or other business. Even the scale in your doctor’s office could give you a different reading from what you see on your home scale.
  5. Keep track of your weight. Whether you use a formal chart (preferred) or just jot the date, time and your weight down on a piece of paper is not critical. What is important is that you write down the information promptly and regularly. Keep it in a secure place where you can access it to track the changes in your weight..
What to Do Next
  1. Track your weight at least once a week (more or less frequently, if desired). This is a personal choice, but don't do it too often if you get stressed out when the results are not in your favor. At the same time, don't weight yourself so infrequently that the results, which may fluctuate from time to time, are of little value to you.
  2. Make changes to your diet and exercise program, as needed. Keeping a record of your food intake and exercise on a regular basis will help you do this better.
  3. If you reach a plateau, don't panic. Relax for a few days, then switch your diet and exercise routine around a bit. You may need to make changes in the types of foods and or the amount you eat. You will need to make changes in your exercise routine, as well.
  4. Talk to a registered dietitian or someone who can support your effort and help you to reach your goal.