Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Saturday, September 28, 2013
How regular weigh-ins help weight loss

When was the last time you stepped on a scale? Has it been a week, a month or longer than you can remember? The more time that passes between weigh-ins, the more likely you are to be overweight.

Adults who weigh themselves consistently are more likely to lose weight or prevent weight gain than people who don't. That's so important that I'm going to say it again. Adults who weigh themselves consistently are more likely to lose weight or prevent weight gain than people who don't, and here's why.

Knowing that you'll have to see the results of excess food you eat can serve as a healthy deterrent. Regular weigh-ins can also help you catch weight gains early, before they escalate. Then you can evaluate what's causing the increase and change your behavior to prevent further gains.

If you're overweight, make a resolution to weigh yourself on a regular basis, either daily or weekly. To keep yourself accountable, get a notebook and track that number. Carry it with you as a reminder.

Here are a few rules on how to make sure the results are consistent, and what type of scale may be most appropriate.

Weigh yourself at the same time every day and on the same days every week. The weight of a typical adult can fluctuate by 4 or more pounds a day. Measuring yourself at different times can make it appear like you're doing better, or worse, than you really are.

To make it an easy habit to remember, step on the scale in the morning. Do it after visiting the bathroom and before you eat. Weigh yourself naked, so you don't have to deal with the varying weight of clothing. If you must wear something, choose the same amount of items each time.

Make sure the scale is on a hard surface, not carpet or padding. Then adjust the "feet" so that the scale is level. If it rocks, the readings will be erratic.

Analog or digital?

Analog scales come in two primary versions. One is weight-based, like the scale you see at a doctor's office. You stand on the scale and move weighted blocks along a bar. These tend to be among the most accurate scales you can use, but they take up a lot of space and can be quite expensive.

Spring-based scales are the ones that used to be found in most homes. When you step on the scale, the spring spins a numbered dial. They're often the cheapest scale you can buy, but they have several problems. They can be difficult to read. The springs wear out the more you step on them, providing less and less accurate results. Something as small as a temperature change or where you place your feet can throw the results off. Plus you need to remember to set them to the "0" position before stepping on.

Digital scales tend to be more accurate than spring scales. They use "load cells" that convert pressure to a digital signal. Before you buy one, put it on the ground and make sure the display is clear and easy to read. Some offer a talking feature that's convenient, but it may be annoying or interfere with your privacy.

Make sure whatever scale you choose can handle your weight. A typical household scale is designed to weigh people up to about 330 pounds (150 kilograms). If you're heavier than that, you need to look for models designed for higher capacity.

Finally, before you buy any scale, give it the repeatability test.

Step on, weigh yourself and step off. Do that five times in a row. It should give you the same result every time.

If it doesn't, return it. You can make adjustments for a scale that weighs a little high or a little low, as long as the results are repeatable. You can't adjust for scales that aren't reliable.

CAUTION: Before beginning any diet or exercise program check with your doctor or health care professional first. For a FREE consultation with a WeBeFit Trainer call us at (305) 296-3434. You can read all our articles online at www.WeBeFit.com and get updates by "liking" us on Facebook.

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