Monday, January 25, 2010

Diet Tip

When Should You Weigh In?

How often are you weighing yourself? Tell the truth now!

Okay, here are the rules: You can weigh yourself only once — not once an hour, once a week. On the same day every week. In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed. Before you eat or drink anything. On the same scale you used last time.

Wearing only your birthday suit and a smile.

Sure, I know the temptation to peek at the scale more often so you can secretly celebrate all that progress you're making. But if you peek right after lunch, there might be a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat toast, hold the mayo, sitting in your stomach. Suddenly, it seems as if all the progress you've made has been wiped out with one sandwich.

How heavy can a turkey sandwich be? Not very. The reason the scale seems to be going haywire is that weight fluctuates throughout the day, depending on what you eat and drink and how fast your metabolism is churning at the moment. Every person's weight spikes up and down during the day, but the number on the scale balances out over time.

The scale is probably reliable, but your body is not. It's constantly changing. You can retain five pounds of water right before your menstrual cycle or the day after eating a bag of chips. (But what are you doing eating a bag of chips?!)

The danger of weighing yourself too often is that it gives you a false sense of either hope or despair. When you feel hopeful, great. But if the scale tells you something depressing — even if it's wrong or misleading — you're liable to slip up and ruin all your hard work. Unless you want your life and your mood to revolve around a silly bathroom scale, stay away from it — at least till next week.

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