To use or not to use the scales, that is the question

Not everyone should be using the scales. But, if you’re someone who does use them, please listen to this episode. 

Using the scales may seem simple (you just step on them, right?) but there are a few VERY IMPORTANT factors that can influence just how useful or useless the scales can be

Time Stamps

00:00 Intro
01:00 The Divisiveness of Scales
02:29 How to Use the Scales
03:55 The Importance of Timing
04:26 Frequency of Weigh-ins
06:23 The Fluctuations of Weight
07:23 The Benefits of Longer Intervals
08:38 Reconsidering Weekly Weigh-ins
09:08 Alternative Measurement Methods
09:38 Conclusion


Welcome back to the Bite Me Nutrition podcast.
Your hair is looking especially good today. And if this is the first episode you've ever listened to welcome if it's not the first episode you've ever listened to Go leave a review. Come on. It takes like two seconds. These podcasts take me at least this one's gonna take me at least six minutes So I do six minutes you do ten seconds. That's a fair trade, right? Yes. Good. Thank you very much. I Won't wait. I assume you've already paused it and gone to do that do the review. So I appreciate you. We're going to be talking about how to use the scales today. Now for some people, this will not be relevant. Scales are quite a divisive topic on social media. I think there can be a lot of emotion attached to that. And I think unfortunately that can sometimes get in the way of having a evidence-based discussion about it. And so absolutely, some people find seeing their weight and jumping on the scales triggering. Dramatically impacts their mental health. If that is you, please do not listen to this episode. It's not for you, okay? I have lots and lots of clients who I don't know what they weigh, they don't know what they weigh, they don't get on the scale because we have agreed or they have already decided before they come to see me that is a bad idea for them to use the scale. And I wholeheartedly agree and support that. So if that is you, if you know that the scales are not good for you, please do not listen to this episode. Oh, well, I mean, you can if you want, but please know that I'm not trying to convince you to start weighing yourself, right? If you don't have that relationship with the scales, if you find that seeing that number doesn't negatively impact your mood or emotions or the way that you eat for the rest of the day, and you want to use the scales as part of a body composition goal, then I think it's really important that we learn how to use the scales, which I know sounds kind of dumb. You just stand on them, right? But there are definitely some key things that people need to get right about using the scales to make sure that the data that you're getting from the scale is actually helpful. And I'm going to go through what those are. Yeah, that made sense. It sounded weird when I said I'm going to go through what those are. Yes. So, the first and most important thing is get up, go to the bathroom, and get on the scales. That should be the only time of day that you get on the scales. I do not care what you weigh after your coffee. I do not care what you weigh after your breakfast. I do not care what you weigh before or after the gym or at 6 p.m. or any other time of the day. The second we add food or fluids or training or just kind of being awake and up and at them for an extended period of time, the second we add all of those things to the mix, the signal or the noise in the signal gets too messy. Your weight gets impacted by all of those things and so it doesn't really give you a helpful bit of information. So please, if you have been weighing yourself at any other time of the day, stop. If you're weighing yourself multiple times a day, that's actually not a great sign. So please also stop that. And if you're struggling to stop that, please chat to someone like your doctor or your dietician. Outside of, unless your dietician or your doctor is specifically asking you to do that, because there's certain times where I need clients to weigh themselves a couple of times, but I digress. So get up, bathroom. And by bathroom, I mean, you know. Your morning ablutions. I love that word needs to come back. I do that in the morning and then jump on the scales and take that weight. Now, the next most important thing is how often should I get on the scales? That's something I get a lot. And you might have heard me talk about how much I hate weekly weigh-ins. And I still hate weekly weigh-ins. I think you've got two useful frequencies for jumping on the scales. Most days does not have to be seven days a week, but probably needs to be more than three to four or once every three weeks, once every four weeks, maybe even a little bit longer than that. And the reason is when you're tracking your weight most days, you're going to notice that there's a fluctuation. You're going to see it go up and go down. And that's so natural and so normal for your weight to fluctuate by. Other clients gain two kilos overnight. Now that is not body fat. That's not physically possible, biologically possible for your body to gain that much body fat overnight. So we know it's not that. But if you're weighing yourself every day, you'll see that weird spike and then the next day you'll see it come down a kilo or over the rest of that week, you'll see it kind of average out. And that's really what it comes down to. If you are weighing yourself regularly like that, you can get a decent average or you can have a bit of a trend line, whether you actually map that out in something like Excel or whether you just kind of keep tabs on it mentally, you'll be able to notice. Common things that occur with your weight. And so you might notice after the weekend because I ate a bit more and had a bit more salt, so I'm holding onto a bit more fluid. I'm a bit heavier on Monday, but I noticed by Tuesday, Wednesday, that's all gone. If you're weighing yourself regularly, you'll know that sort of stuff. You'll know that if you go out and get a big Asian dish the night before, again, typically fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, a higher in sodium, you'll probably be heavier the next day because again, holding more fluid. If you ate dinner later, if you ate dinner earlier, if you trained, if you didn't train, you'll start to notice how these things impact your weight on a daily basis and you won't flip out and base your whole progress on that one measure. And that is exactly why I don't like weekly weigh-ins. They are not frequent enough for you to learn the natural fluctuations of your body weight. All they are good at doing, I think, is giving you a piece of the puzzle and usually that piece is a good way to derail you, right? So let's all van weekly way in, shall we? So go for frequently most days or because some people don't find the scales triggering, but they do find jumping on most days triggering also totally fine. If that is you, please go on every three to four weeks or like I said, longer. I'd say three to four weeks is probably a good rhythm though. The reason being Yes, you're only capturing one data point. And yes, there will still be fluctuations going on there, but it will have allowed enough time for the change in your scale weight to be big enough to sit outside of those fluctuations. I hope that makes sense. So let's use fat loss as an example, because I think most of the time when people are weighing themselves, it's for fat loss. Obviously, you need to be mindful of that for muscle gain as well, but I'll speak to fat loss. For now, let's say that you've waited four weeks to jump on the set of scales and you're down two kilos. Even if you have weighed in on a day where you're a little bit heavier, the magnitude of the weight that you've lost in those four weeks is going to be big enough that it won't be washed out by those fluctuations. It will still be obvious. Whereas in a week, you're not gonna lose, or you shouldn't really be losing two kilos. You might have lost half a kilo of body fat. But if you happen to jump on that one day of the week where you're a bit heavier, you won't notice that. And you shouldn't do this, but you will feel like you failed that week, right? Because you've seen no change. And if you stack a few weeks like that on top of each other, that's a really good way to give up, understandably, because you're trying something and by all reports, it's not working. Whereas if you'd waited four weeks, you actually would have lost enough weight. for it to sit outside that fluctuation. Now, if you've waited four to six weeks and you jump on the scale again and you're basically the same weight, it probably isn't a fluctuation. You're potentially not losing as much body fat as you think you are, and that's a whole other podcast, which I think I actually have recorded. But anyway, that's a whole other kettle of fish. So. Hopefully, I'm just checking. I think that's everything I wanted to talk about. If you are weighing in weekly, you have realized the error of your ways. And I don't blame you, it's weirdly the industry standard. I'm not sure why. It's what a lot of people get their clients to do. But hopefully, now that you know why that's not a great idea, you can think about do you wanna, oh, I'll repeat. Do you wanna go to most days or do you wanna go to allowing larger gaps in between? either of those frequencies I think are fantastic or the third frequency like I alluded to right at the beginning of the podcast is also never. That's also perfectly fine. Even if you have a goal of fat loss, there's plenty of other ways, measurements, photos, the way that clothes are fitting that we can track and assess fat loss. So please don't feel you need to use the scale if you have a goal of fat loss. But if you do, most days or once a month and always, always first thing in the morning. Cool, if you've made it this far and you haven't left the review, come on. I, no, that's fine. If you don't wanna leave a review, what you could do instead is you could take a picture of this and add it to your story and tag me so I can feel good. All right, chat to you next time, Bye.