How often do you weigh yourself?
We often hear that it is useless to weigh yourself more than once a week. Weight can fluctuate in the short term (eg whether you are well hydrated or not), which makes frequent weighing yourself superfluous, but is it really useful to weigh yourself at all? At LauGau Nutrition, we believe that the majority of the time, no.
Before continuing, it is important to state that there are some valid reasons why your doctor or nutritionist should know your weight, for example:
- Medication: The dose of certain medications should be adjusted according to weight.
- Growth: The growth chart is used to track our weight and height as we grow. If a child or teen suddenly moves off their curve, it could indicate a problem, such as an eating disorder.
- Medical condition: A rapid and involuntary change in weight may indicate a condition requiring medical investigation.
- Treatment of an eating disorder: For a person who has lost weight due to an eating disorder, weight is one of the measures to assess the severity , as well as progress towards recovery.
Now here is a list of items that are not determined by the number on the scale:
Physical and psychological health
Weight does not determine a person’s physical or psychological health. Just because you get thinner or thinner doesn’t mean you’re healthier. To learn more about the relationship between weight and health, see our article entirely dedicated to this theme which will be published soon!
Body image and body satisfaction
While it’s true that weight can influence body image (the relationship we have with our bodies) and body satisfaction (like how we look), knowing our weight often tends to degrade them. Focusing on the number can add a lot of pressure to achieve a measurable (to the nearest pound!) and difficult to achieve ideal, in addition to causing guilt and frustration.
Also, although a person may initially want to lose weight, getting there rarely results in better body satisfaction. So, no matter what our body weight or appearance, we would benefit from working to improve our body image and satisfaction regardless of the number on the scale. This is what really makes you feel better about yourself.
The number on the scale tells us nothing about our frame, muscle mass and hydration level, among other things. Often, people who lose weight through restriction also lose muscle mass, which can have significant negative health impacts.
Weight can fluctuate with a change in lifestyle, but only for some people. Even if a person increases their level of physical activity in the pleasure, is more attentive to their signals of hunger and satiety and/or improves their sleep without losing weight, they still obtain the benefits on their health, such as reducing the risk of suffering from a chronic disease.
In addition, weighing ourselves can have a negative impact on our emotional state. To realize this, the next time you have the irresistible urge to pull out the scale, take the time to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my thoughts, emotions and expectations before stepping on the scale?
- How will I feel if the number is above/below/equal to the last weigh-in or my expectations?
- How does the number affect my emotions and thoughts during the day if I don’t like it?
- Does the number on the scale affect my food or physical activity choices?
Exercise your right not to be weighed:
Not all healthcare professionals are aware of the prevalence of eating or body image disorders and the possible impact of discussing weight with their patients( e)s. This is why it is important (and in your right) to clearly mention to them if you wish:
- Refusing to be weighed
- Refusing to be told about your weight
- Asking not to know your weight in case it is absolutely necessary for your healthcare professional to know.
If you think you have an unhealthy relationship with the scale, your body image or your diet, do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our specialized nutritionists, who will be happy to accompany you.
Danya Beauregard, Nutritionist, Dt.P, RD