Updated: Nov 2
When working with our clients on weight-loss our first conversations focus on healthy living rather than the specifics of weight-loss. Our goal is to create sustainable change, not to provide quick fixes that only work in the short-term. Establishing healthy eating practices is one facet of weight loss; exercise, sleep, stress and work life-balance are all involved. Sometimes our clients might focus on improving one or several of these areas of their health before addressing weight-loss itself.
For some, dependent on their stage in their health journey, the act of weighing-in can be a hurdle to overcome. As such, the number on the scale might not even be relevant or appropriate to measure at the outset of their health journey. It can be more effective to first focus on tracking changes to other factors, for example: eating practices, weekly exercise volume or sleep quality.
However, when the time is right to track the number on the scale, taking the measurement becomes a reality. So, dear reader, assuming that you are ready to weigh-in note that when and how you measure the number can affect the outcome.
Weight fluctuates on a daily and weekly basis; the body is in constant flux. A single (salt laden) meal can cause a couple of days weight gain from water weight. A sweaty workout can cause dehydration and weight-loss over 24 hours. In warmer climates this can really affect the numbers. Other factors affecting weight include: food weight in the intestine, the gut microbiome, stage in the menstrual cycle and hormonal changes.
A weekly weigh-in is of little value, you cannot see the real trend as your weight on Monday morning might appear higher than the previous Monday even if actual fat-loss (what we are trying to measure) has occurred.
In a similar fashion, it is useful to track and understand one’s daily fluctuation in weight. The difference between morning weight, preferably measured after peeing and a poop, and night-time weight measured last thing before going to bed. These numbers too can fluctuate, sometimes by as much at 2.0kg (4.4lbs) overnight.
Daily weigh-ins lead to greater weight-loss over time. It keeps you accountable to yourself.
While this article is not specifically about how to lose weight it is worth mentioning that diet is more important than exercise. “You can’t outrun a bad diet” says Felicia Koh, co-founder and nutritionist at The Whole Health Practice. “Exercise supports health but it’s relationship to weight-loss is less than most people expect. A daily large, store-bought mocha Frappuccino, frequent sugary snacks or biscuits and burgers will likely outweigh any exercise you do for weight-loss.”
Weight management is complex. It takes time to develop the habits that support a healthy and sustainable weight loss journey. No weight-loss journey is linear, there are always plateaus and rebounds. This is a normal part of the process, so do not be deterred by the occasional set-back: learn from it and move on. Taking that first (and second) step onto the scales, when the time is right, is essential.
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