Several weeks ago I wrote an opinion piece on how often to weigh yourself. Since then, I polled 30 clients and friends, asking them “How often do you weigh yourself? Is the scale motivating or depressing? Do you consider yourself overweight, just right, or just out of shape?” Of the 26 respondents, here are the results:
7 weigh themselves daily or every other day. Of these respondents, all considered themselves overweight, and 2 actually found the weigh- ins depressing . The other 5 found it motivating, as they were on “diets” and were feeling successful.
9 weighed themselves once a week, and most felt it was motivating, but all made the comment that it was only motivating when the scale shows a lower number.
4 respondents do not weigh themselves, and can tell if they are losing weight by how their clothes fit-and all felt that the scale was depressing.
4 respondents weigh themselves once a month, and did not feel particularly depressed or motivated by the number. This seems like a happy middle ground- even though this group was not any thinner or in better shape than the other respondents.
Finally two people, one man, weigh themselves only once a year. The woman who responded said she does not have a scale, and finds weighing depressing, and does not allow her two teenage girls to weigh themselves either. Ironically, this woman is very fit, and of healthy, normal weight.
Conclusions? There are several, despite the variations of opinion and technique. Those overweight people who are successfully dieting find it helpful to keep them on track. Most others find the scale depressing, and should STOP weighing themselves so frequently if this is so. Overwhelmingly, women judge themselves, and are influenced greatly, by what the scale says. If the number is lower, they are happy, if it is not, they are depressed. HOW CAN WE LET A MACHINE, WITH SO MUCH INHERENT INACCURACY AND FLUCTUATIONS, JUDGE OUR BEAUTY AND WORTH?