I recently discovered that my body scale at home was inaccurate. It’s a doctor’s scale like those our healthcare teams have us step on when we go in for check-ups. You know the type: it has two measuring bars, one in 10 pound increments (starting at 100 pounds) below a second measuring bar in 1 pound increments. We stand on it and first move the 10 pound measurement, then move the smaller 1 pound one until the scale balances at our weight.
My recommendation is to weigh at the same time on the same day on the same scale in our birthday suits before we’ve eaten or had anything to drink. This way we’re comparing apples to apples. And it’s what I do.
I weigh myself once a week at home. That’s reasonable and what I suggest to patients who are trying to lose weight. Weighing ourselves too often, unless there’s a medical reason to do so, can backfire a bit on us. We have daily fluctuations in our body weight that can make it seem like we’ve gained weight, when we really haven’t. If we see this on the scale, it can be defeating. It can also make us focus too much on this one indicator of healthy weight. Also note that muscle weighs more than fat, so if we are building muscle, we may not see the scale budge right away, but we will still be benefitting.
So what went wrong for me? Well for about two months, the 1 pound increment measurement bar wasn’t set at pounds. Somehow it had been put on kilograms (kg). Why is this a problem? One pound equals 2.2 kg. Because of this, it turns out that I weighed close to 7 pounds more than I thought I did. I have to admit it was a sad moment for me. I thought that my clothes had become a bit tight, but because the scale showed my normal weight, I chalked it up to other things.
We have a variety of tools for monitoring our weight management progress. The scale is just one of them. There’s body mass index (BMI) a height/weight ratio. We want that number to be between 18.5 and 24.9. There’s also waist measurement. For females we want to have a waist circumference of 35 inches or less. Males should be 40 inches or less. We can also look at other indicators such as clothes fitting better, lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and more.
When we use the tools to track our weight management progress, it’s important to make sure that we use them correctly. In the case of the scale, it’s not a bad idea to make sure that it’s properly calibrated. That way we won’t have the type of unwelcome surprise that I did. But should we gain unwanted pounds, don’t despair. Getting back on the healthy eating and exercise track will get you back where you want to be!
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