Monday's Health Tip: Stay Sane -- Don't Weigh Yourself

January 25,2010
Lindsay Hutton( )
Ahh. Losing weight. It's about as fun as going to the dentist. For most of you who are struggling to lose a few pounds, you probably diligently weigh yourself once a week, or even once a day. And you might cringe when you see that the number on the scale hasn't budged, despite your best efforts to eat right and exercise, even with your busy schedule. Well, good news. I'm here to tell you to stop. I've never been a big fan of scales, for a couple reasons: 1.) I don't think your happiness and self-worth should be based on a number. 2.) Weighing yourself obsessively can be very bad for your mental health and body image. 3.) Your weight doesn't always accurately determine how healthy you are. If you've been on a diet and exercise program for a while (I'm talking to you, New Year's Resolutioners), chances are you've probably lost fat and inches from your body. However, in return, maybe you've gained some muscle (that's a good thing!) But the thing to keep in mind is, a scale can't tell the difference between the two. Therefore, you might weigh the same (or more), but still have gotten thinner, due to fat loss and muscle gain. Get it? So, for your mental sanity, I'd like to offer a few alternatives to determine whether or not your diet and exercise efforts are paying off. 1.) Take measurements of your body, such as around your waist, hips, legs and arms. This will help determine how many inches you've melted off your frame. 2.) Get your body fat percentage taken by your doctor or a personal trainer every couple of weeks. If your percentage goes down, that means you're reducing the total amount of fat on your body. 3.) Use your clothes to determine if you've slimmed down. Clothes don't lie -- we all know that! -- so baggy pants trump any number you see on a scale. 4.) Same thing goes for belt holes! And lastly, listen to your friends and family. If you start getting compliments on your newly trim body, believe them. And give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.