BEST DAY OF THE WEEK TO GET ON THE SCALE? It Depends...
Brittany Risher attempts to answer the question, “What is the best day of the week to weigh yourself?” for Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal.com blog.
Part of me doesn’t want to know! It’s the part that resists stepping on the scale to avoid seeing the number. Mostly I don’t weigh myself because it works against me, it seems, leading me to focus MORE on what I eat. I do best with my weight when food is not on my mind, and I eat healthy foods in smaller portions.
Or so I tell myself.
BUT I will need to record my starting and ending weight for a new summer challenge that I am trying out this year (to be discussed in a later blog post). Earned Runs IS NOT ABOUT DIETING. The challenge will involve an effort to be a stronger runner.
Thus, Risher’s article caught my attention. Could it help with weigh-in phobia?
What I knew before reading: consistency is essential. It’s important to follow the same routine prior to every weigh-in, especially with regard to state of hydration. Strictly limiting fluids and salt or trying to diurese before a weigh-in, like boxers, bodybuilders, or fashion models to prior to a competition or event, is not helpful or healthy. Also, it seems most sensible and possibly scientific to perform weigh-ins at roughly the same time of day, if daily, and on the same day, if weekly.
Risher starts with frequency; apparently there’s no consensus that more or less frequently is better. Weekly may or may not be better than daily. That’s “it depends…” number 1.
Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays? Whatever works for you is the conclusion. Wednesdays avoid the weekend effect. A good or bad result on that day doesn’t give you the permission to overindulge Friday night through Sunday from elation or discouragement. Or reflect weekend indiscretions that are best left behind with greater resolve to get back on track.
There are similar pros and cons to consider for the other two days, and the article covers them.
That’s “it depends…” number 2.
I looked for more advice.
The Today Show’s “One Small Thing’ piece, by A. Pawlowski piece had similar information. It advised that that daily scale-tipping may not be best for those who tend to become ‘freaked out’ by the reading. “It depends” was the message again.
The article reported that if a weekly schedule is to be followed, Wednesday is best, according to one group of researchers, and that others disagreed. Again, “it depends”. One thing that surprised me is that the experts whose opinions were gathered did not think it best to weigh in on the day you’re likely to be lightest! Oh no. That’s been my strategy forever.
MedicineNet.com recommend a ‘first thing in the morning’ routine, after visiting the restroom. “Because of variations in food and fluid consumption, we often ‘gain’ different amounts of weight throughout the day.” From a physiological perspective, this is good advice.
Weight Watchers™ requires weekly weigh-ins on the same day. It suggests Thursdays may be a good day for this scary task if Mondays or Fridays aren’t your top choices.
FAST COMPANY’S Laura VanderKam argues for Thursday as the best day to establish new routines, in her 07.16.2015 “Hit the ground running” article, “Why Thursday is the Best Day To Start a New Habit”.
Take away message: find by trial and error what weigh-in practice works best for you. Don’t torture yourself if daily weighing leads to a ‘freak-out”. Switch to once a week if necessary. Determine which day allows you to handle the weekends successfully. Don’t weigh in on the day you are likely to be your “lightest” self if weight loss is the goal. If you hit a plateau or the direction is opposite of what's desirable, it could be the result of normal physiological fluctuations.
Just like fitness plans, nutrition plans require that progress be periodically assessed. If the desired results aren’t seen after several consecutive weeks, re-examine the components of the plan including the weigh-in process, and make changes. Or seek help from an expert.
That’s another huge topic.
But don’t give up on yourself.
Note: watch for the new summer challenge description in June.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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