Many of us, especially women, have an ideal weight in our head that we should weigh. This could be our “playing weight” from high school sports, the weight we were at when we felt best in the past, or the weight we think we should be at to find love. This number in your head is causing far more issues for you than you realize. This issue compounds every time you step on the scale and don’t see the weight you think is ideal for you.
This is a basic function of how your brain works. If you go on a diet, you expect to see results immediately. If you start exercising/working out, you expect to see muscles immediately. It’s simply not possible for those two things to happen (in a healthy way) but we’ve become wired to expect results today.
The healthy way to lose weight is 1-2 pounds per week. And that’s an average. You may lose 5 pounds one week and nothing for the next 3 weeks. Over 4 weeks you still lost 5 pounds for an average of 1.25 pounds per week. Any good medical professional will tell you those are great results. But psychologically most people get depressed during that 4th week when they haven’t lost weight for 2+ weeks. Especially when the numbers really look like this:
What do you do?
First off, stop weighing yourself daily. That’s a huge mistake and puts too much focus on the number on the scale. Your weight is a piece of your overall health, but having a low weight doesn’t automatically make you healthy. On the flip side, it’s pretty hard to be healthy internally while being overweight. So I’m not saying ignore your weight, just don’t focus so much on it that it drives your emotions crazy.
Try to get in a routine of weighing no more than 3 days a week. Pick the same days each week so you know Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I’m going to weigh in the morning BEFORE eating anything. Next you take these three numbers and ignore them by themselves but rather keep a log of the weekly average. So now you are keeping just one number - the average weight for the week. Applying this to the table above you get these numbers.
Week 1 = 248.2
Week 2 = 245.7
Week 3 = 244.8
Week 4 = 244.3
Now you see weight loss every week. This is more like real life. Your weight fluctuates from day to day whether you are trying to lose weight or not.
After you have 4 weeks of average weights, average those. There are thirteen, 4 week periods each year. This is better than averaging by month because you are looking at similar 28 day periods. Now all you are tracking is 13 numbers for each year. If you are following a proper healthy nutrition plan and exercising routinely, you will see your weight drop from one 4 week period to the next. Here’s where you will see the numbers change the most.
Once you begin to get closer to your ideal weight (I’m talking about your medically ideal weight here and not the weight you think you should be) your weight loss will naturally slow. When you get to this point - throw away your scale. No seriously, if you are at a medically ideal weight you no longer need to check your weight. All you need to do is make sure your clothes fit at this new weight. If your clothes get tight, you will know that you’ve strayed from your health plan too much. Get back on the plan quickly and the weight will drop quickly. Let the weight hang around too long and it will become a struggle to get it off again.