I saw this cartoon on social media and “get it” all too well. Even if you feel this way, I’m going to encourage you to hop on the scale. Regularly.
It’s important to have and use data. The classic analogy is a GPS mapping device —it needs to know where you are now and where you want to end up before it can tell you how to get there. Same with weight.
It doesn’t always feel this way, but data is data. It is just information, neither good nor bad. Without specific numbers, we will be constantly floating around, aimless and frustrated.
It’s important to know where you are. Knowing your current reality is empowering. Getting on the scale, especially after a prolonged hiatus, can feel scary. But facing the scale is the first action step toward realizing your preferred future. It doesn’t matter how long it has been or what has gone on before today—you get a new beginning now.
It’s important to know where you are going. Have a goal in mind. Maybe you are there now. Maybe it is within close reach. Maybe it's miles away. Whichever the case, once you know the gap you can start to make decisions in an effort to close it.
I highly recommend realistic goals. Goals that are doable and most importantly, maintainable.
Here are 3 ways to pick your number:
1. What is the number you remember feeling good weighing? Not necessarily your High School Weight (especially if you are over 40), but a recent weight that you felt awesome about.
2. Decide on a weight in the healthy range of the Body Mass Index (visit NIH’s BMI calculator here to determine yours.)
3. Choose an article of clothing you want to fit into (again). Once it looks just right—weigh yourself and that is your number.
It’s important to know your ongoing progress. Are you gaining, losing, staying the same? Without this info we have no say in the matter. If we are gaining we can decide to do something about it. If we are stable, we can keep on keeping on.
During any weight loss period, I recommend weighing once a week—same day, in the morning, before breakfast with minimal to no clothing. During weight maintenance I recommend weighing every day—in the morning, before breakfast, minimal to no clothing. This way some variables are fixed so the numbers are comparable.
Ideally we get to a place where there is no emotion when looking at the number on the scale. It is just a number—information. Like the outside temperature—will we need a sweater or shorts? No emotion, just a number and decisions based on that information.