The bathroom scales....: When I look back on... - Weight Loss NHS

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The bathroom scales....

Itsmesally2020 August

When I look back on my life, gaining weight has always been accompanied by avoidance of the bathroom scales. I always know when I am going in the wrong direction but do not want to see the ugly truth, so I push the scales out of sight and avoid full length mirrors.

Deep down I know I will have to address 'the issue' and usually kick start a new regime by taking a long look at myself in a full length mirror and stepping back on the scales. I have no idea why I am surprised by the new weight reading but I am always excited by the fact that the first week of losing weight is usually very productive.

After that, I used to feel disheartened if I didn't continue to lose a little weight on a daily basis but weight loss is not like that. There is not a straight line of decreasing weight linking large me to optimal me. It is a road filled with fluctuations, heavy days and light days and as long as the overall trend is downwards, it is going well.

Although I have learned to accept daily fluctuations, in the knowledge that I am here for the long haul, I still find them difficult. Logically, I know that if a gain pound today I may lose two pounds later in the week, but I want my efforts to be acknowledged by a consistently decreasing number on my bathroom scales. Don't we all?

I am sure people will suggest just weighing in once a week ..... but that day could be a 'heavy day' and then it would be even more disheartening. You may know, or it may be interesting to learn that the most successful way to keep the weight off, is to weigh yourself not once but twice a day, morning and evening (according to clinical trials). I am usually at least 5 pounds heavier at night!

What do you think?

57 Replies
Itsmesally2020 August

References for above claim, "Greater frequency of self-monitoring weight has been associated with greater weight loss across multiple studies"

Self-weighing in weight gain prevention and weight loss trials.

Linde JA, Jeffery RW, French SA, Pronk NP, Boyle RG

Ann Behav Med. 2005 Dec; 30(3):210-6.

Pacanowski CR, Levitsky DA. Frequent self-weighing and visual feedback for weight loss in overweight adults. Journal of Obesity. 2015;2015:9

Steinberg DM, et al. Weighing every day matters: Daily weighing improves weight loss and adoption of weight control behaviors. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115:511–51

Thehappyman2020 April

weighting once a week would do my brain in.

am on and of the scales so often I would say its definitely played a part of my weight loss 😁

I treat it more as a friend that tells how am getting on with other friends help.

I only look in mirrors when I really need a shave, but it must be with the lights dimmed a bit. 🙂

when it comes to knowledge and the science behind all the low fat, high fat, and other things you want to know, there's lots of members on here that can help with that.

for me personally all of it has been down to will power, reducing some foods and cutting out some foods completely.

staying committed and focused.

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Thehappyman

Hi Happy, thanks for your comment, I like the idea of scales being a friend; sometimes supportive and sometimes critical, both being helpful. BTW love your long beans, my broad beans are great at the moment and there is plenty of produce coming on in my vegetable garden. Finally, I have yet to find a mirror that shows me what I want to see!!!!

Thehappyman2020 April in reply to Itsmesally

thanks ltsmesally, I do love broad beans, they bring back so many happy memories growing them in my mother garden.

in truth I don't think I would have been very successful in losing weight if I did not buy the weight scale, I think I put myself into such a mode that there was never any doubt in my mind that i would up slip up in getting to look and feel normal again.

my young son's could sit on my big belly when I was standing up in the swimming pool and we would laugh.

I probably said this on the forum many times now, but I lost 10 kilos in 10 weeks and it was no where near as hard/difficult as used to imagine.

and again in truth I was never hungry at any time when I changed the way I was eating, ofcourse you have a bit of a craving for something's but that wears off slowly and then completely.

you have a vegetable garden, fresh vegetables. what a wonderful way to use your time. I love it.

as for the mirror bit in your post, all I can say is if your nice to the mirror then am sure the mirror will eventually show you what you want to see. just remember to smile at it in the meantime 😊

Well, some experts recently have advised throwing away the scales altogether, in favour of the tape-measure. The trouble with the scales is their accuracy can be iffy, with people reporting their weight drops or rises by a couple of pounds if they've moved the scales off the laminate and on to the carpet, for example. So, there's that. Keep the scales in the same place, and don't be tempted to weigh yourself on someone else's scales as it is likely to be different.

Weighing yourself twice a day is counter-productive. Nobody gains or loses 5lb in a day of actual weight, it'll be water weight or bloating, or if you just ate a heavy meal. It isn't reflective of actual weight physically gained or lost. Once a week is more likely to be representative of actual weight lost, but even then, as you say, it could be a day when you are carrying more water than usual, or it's your time of the month if you are female.

In short, the numbers on the scale are useful, but aren't the be-all and end-all. Weighing yourself every day can be a motivating factor, but it isn't really telling you much.

I had to make a real effort to stick to once a week weighing, but I much prefer it to spending each day looking at the number and going, 'OMG, I put on two pounds since yesterday' (I looked that up after I was alarmed by it, which was where I discovered it wasn't likely I'd gained that much actual fat in one night). I became obsessed with the number on the scales at one point, and as I've said, nobody gains that much in real weight overnight or in one day.

Don't torture yourself. Stick to once a week, always at the same time of day with no clothes on. It's more accurate and far less stressful. You don't need to stand on the scales to know when you've cheated a bit on your diet. Once a week is just as motivating, I find.

Thehappyman2020 April in reply to Sherlock20

Your weight will vary throughout the day depending on what and how you eat and drink. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work that one out and not take it as actual weight gain in fat.

These so called experts who are advertising to throw away the scales in favour of the tape measure are just talking utter nonsense.

The last thing you notice there's a change is in your waist size and that can take some time.

Weight yourself as little or as often as your heart desires. What you feel comfortable with is the best way to go.

I get on the weight scale many times in the day, I do that for fun, I enjoy doing I suspect many others are doing that for the same reason.

There is only one weight that I take seriously and that's in the morning after the bathroom duties. If I see its creeping up above the level I want, that will make me be more aware of what i will eat that day.

It works very well for now, but am sure there will come a time when I won't use a weighting scale or a tape measure.

Having said all that, my curiosity got the better of me with all this talk and I got out of bed to use the tape measure.

I know about 3 months ago I was about 44 inches and just now midnight I am under 36 in

Round the belly is the last place the fat like to hang out/down so i can easily lose 3 or maybe 4 more inches.

Time for a midnight snack now , medication kicking in.

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Thehappyman

Well done Happyman - enjoy your snack!

RaggedClown2 stone in reply to Thehappyman

Exactly this. Knowledge is power.

I fnd it fun to weight myself just before bedtime sometimes and get a kick out of losing 2.5 pounds over night. I don't take it seriously though and the only weigh-in that matters is the one in the morning after my business is taken care of.

Thehappyman2020 April in reply to RaggedClown

I have my two young son's with me and when I bought the weight scale they couldn't get over how much lighter they were in the morning compared to when they went to bed., as it happens me to 😁

Itsmesally2020 August

Hi Sherlock,

Thanks, some great comments!

I agree my daily weight gain is not fat, but water and the contents of my stomach etc. Daily weighing works for me, but clearly weekly is best for you... interesting that we are so different and I am sure there will be plenty of support for both of our camps (so to speak).

Loving the tape measure suggestion.... mine is sitting on my desk and I have not been brave enough to start measuring (yet). I think as a woman the idea of aligning my waist measurement with a dress size would be most uncomfortable at the moment.

My 'lockdown joggers' have extremely flexible waistbands and an indeterminant size which leaves my current shape blissfully obscured!

Sherlock207lbs in reply to Itsmesally

Biggest stress I ever had was weighing myself on one of those machines in Boots that calculates your BMI and body-fat ratio. I nearly had kittens after the results, but then realised it was the depths of winter, I had about 7 layers of clothing on and all the rest of it. Back to home scales and things didn't look quite as bad, but I still think the shock jolted me into some action. Whatever works for you.

Measuring's great because sometimes if you haven't lost weight on the scales you might still have lost inches. You know those times when you think you look lighter but the scales don't say so? The tape measure might.

Food4Fuel1 stone

Hi Itsmesally! I can relate to the dread of standing on the scales too - now I’m back into the habit of eating healthily and exercising not so much - but I weigh in on Sundays so there’s always a bit of trepidation then 😂😂 one thing I’ve learned from people on here is measuring ourselves. Tbh I can’t be bothered to measure everything as I find it a bit of a faff but I did measure my waist and now on the 1st of each month I measure it again and I love seeing progress this way! 😊

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Food4Fuel

Have you thought of weighing in on Wednesdays? If one falls foul of the weekend trap things have usually stabilised by midweek! Sally

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Itsmesally

Have to admit to 'weighing everthing' - guilty as charged and I also calculate my macros for the day..... obsessive? maybe ... but I have it all on a spreadsheet and with lockdown restrictions have had plenty of time to indulge my desire for control and perfection!

SM2021Visitor in reply to Itsmesally

SpreadsheetSally? Love it! ☺️

elliebathMaintainer in reply to SM2021

Cue for a song? 😆

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to SM2021

Spreadsheet Sally think you'd better slow your weigh rate down?

Food4Fuel1 stone in reply to Itsmesally

I did think about it but the Sunday Slimmers are a supportive bunch and I want to stick with them 😊 I also find it keeps me balanced with my food intake on a Saturday too!

RedUnicorn7lbs in reply to Food4Fuel

Yay for the SuperSundaySlimmers!

Great post , Itsmesally , and especially interesting the part about weighing twice a day being part of a successful weight loss regime. For two years I did just that, weighed twice a day, kept a log in a little notebook, and eventually it enabled me to see a weekly overall loss, rather than me focusing on the daily ups and downs that naturally occur. I found it very helpful, but I mostly kept quiet about doing it as it appeared that most people believed it to be counterproductive. I can’t remember why, but I stopped doing it last November, but after a gradual weight increase over the past year, I have recently decided to go back to daily weighing and logging. Now that I am recording daily, I feel much more in control, and it’s encouraging to hear that doing so might help me sustain my weight loss. Good luck with your weight loss. 😊

Janecj2020 August in reply to Trimmerteacher

This is such an important point - I think the scales have been demonised a bit, and it's not always the case of course, but in my observations those who struggle with weight are often either not using them, perhaps because they don't want to know or face up to the problem, or using them ineffectively and emotionally and letting it rule their day. Yet they CAN be so helpful.

I sometimes have a battle with myself about whether to weigh when I get up, especially if I know I have overindulged, but it's about facing up to my responsibility to myself to keep my weight under control, and keeping my emotions out of it and recognising there are various factors that will affect it, being aware of them, and seeing the relationships over time. If it starts creeping up over time I know I need to adjust something, so I do, before anything has a chance to get out of hand and while my clothes still fit!

I do not see the benefit in weighing later in the day though, and for me that would be likely to trigger disordered thinking when seeing a gain from the morning which is only natural and as there are so many variables that can affect our weight through the course of the day it seems to me to be counter-productive as it is not comparing apples with apples, but with pears.

Sticking to a single point in the day with the minimum amount of variables, ie first thing in the morning and always under the same conditions is the way to go for me, and has been for the last 9 years.

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Janecj

I agree with you evening readings can be offputting. I only record my morning weigh in but I am astonished by how much heavier I am in the evening. I think being vegan, eating huge amounts of veg and drinking lots of water makes the evening reading 4-6 pounds heavier but it never fails to surprize me!

Itsmesally2020 August

Thanks Trimmerteacher. I think it's important that we do what feels comfortable and fits with our lifestyles and personalities when dieting. If weighing works for you, weigh on and keep noticing those little successes along the way to your goal. We are not all the same.

Janecj2020 August

Great post. It was only when I started weighing daily (always and only first thing in the morning under the same conditions that I truly started to take control of my weight. It gives pretty instant feedback and accountability and prevents late night snacking. It’s been 9 years maintaining now.

BUT it’s only effective if you can be objective about the number and also rely on other evidence such as photos and clothes as there will always be daily fluctuations but I have the information to make the connections over time with my weight and my behaviour and it gives me complete honesty and accountability.

By just taking note of it but concentrating on my daily actions being in support of my goals I can stay in control and monitor my progress.

Being scared of the scales and avoiding them is dangerous for me. Using them as a tool to give me instant feedback is effective. But for me there is no point weighing at any other time of day than first thing in the morning as there are too many variables when weighing at any other time.

At the end of the day if it you get lasting results then do it. If not then don’t, there is no one size fits all. But if not weighing equals burying ones head in the sand then the issue is about honesty and accountability and the scales can help, along with other measures.

IndigoBlue61Administrator in reply to Janecj

“BUT it’s only effective if you can be objective about the number and also rely on other evidence such as photos and clothes as there will always be daily fluctuations“

Bathroom scales ( our body ‘weight’) only ever show part of the picture

Janecj2020 August

Also just to add I found weekly weighing caused me to develop a disordered eating cycle of starving beforehand and binging afterwards. Weighing daily takes that pressure away and I still get my weekly average which takes into account my weight throughout the week not just at a moment in time.

elliebathMaintainer in reply to Janecj

Welcome @Janecj pleased to meet you as a fellow maintainer, and I wonder if you'd like to pop into our monthly Maintainers meeting, which posts on the first Sunday of every month. You can find all the previous maintainer posts under Topics and there is a new meeting today 1st Aug hosted by Trimmerteacher .

With an impressive 9 years under your belt, you'd be a great encouragement to the rest of us, who are still getting the hang of it . Hope to see you there later 😊

Janecj2020 August in reply to elliebath

Thank you, I would be happy to :)

TrimmerteacherHost in reply to Janecj

So true!

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Trimmerteacher

Really impressing maintaining Janecj, well done!

Maisie481 stone

Hi - I think it has to be what works for you.

I used to own some scales but eventually they owned me as I was ruled by them so I threw them out - that was years ago. I couldn't resist the temptation of stepping kn them constantly, not just once a week.

I am using my son's scales, in his room, once a week and I don't have the slightest urge to step on those scales any other time; they do not rule me!

My weight loss journey is that, a journey and though I would like to lose all the excess weight in a fortnight(!) I am now realistic to accept that the journey will be steady, but sure, with maybe a few stops or pauses along the way.

I liken this to a road journey from London to North Yorkshire - I'm on the A1 at the moment and had a few temporary rest stops in July (1/2 lb loss) and was in top gear last week (3 lb loss!). This works for me.

I haven't read about weighing twice a day - I don't think I'll go down this route (not enough time!!). I do understand that lovely feeling you get when the scales show a really good loss at the start of the weight loss journey, or after a blip - it's really encouraging to see those numbers move down!

Have a great week. 😊

Maisie481 stone

PS Lockdown joggers - ha ha!! Yes, I've been living in these - my waist and post-caesarian stomach is ALWAYS the last place to shrink!!

Writer20012020 August

I feel that! I started my own weight loss journey a month ago and Found that for the past couple of weeks I’ve weighted in at the same weight - which has been upsetting but I guess maintaining is much better than gaining right now. For me I was told to weigh myself first thing in the morning. Jump out of bed, go for your morning toilet trip and jump straight on the scales - it will probably be the lightest you’ll be all day! I think all we have to remember on this journey is our body is an amazing thing and it is allowed to have “heavy days” because it keeps us alive and sometimes by doing that it needs to bloat and be off for a day or two. Don’t let it get you down too much! If anything, days like that make me motivated to do a little bit more exercise which hopefully leads to a bigger loss the following week :)

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Writer2001

Stalls in weight loss are sooooo frustrating but keep going! Just a thought... as we lose weight, we require less calories to maintain our new weight. It might be worth checking that you are working with the correct calorie figure, if you have lost a lot of weight in the first few weeks and you are counting calories.

TheProf2020 July

I only record my weight once a week -using the lowest of readings from Friday or Saturday morning. (Friday is often the best because we eat better on Thursday ( shopping day).

Having said that - I do weigh in the week and I now know that any reading will be wildly different ( being tall and fat my weight can vary by a lot over a day).

So I only weigh once a week (I lied) but I have a good idea of the variations caused by outside sources (e.g hot weather).

I find it valuable to weigh in every day and use an app that shows a trend line that smooths out the daily ups an downs. I use Slimming with Strangers but there are several apps out there that do this.

The red dot (two packets of crisps and a beer last night 😫) is a good early warning sign that I have over-indulged — or had pasta; my weight consistently goes up by two pounds with even a little pasta — but the only number that matters is the slope of the long term trend.

Knowledge is power. The more you understand about how your weight fluctuates, the less you feel the need to freak out by a small gain here and there.

As you can see, my weight chart shows a daily excess of 295 calories but I don't need to panic. I'll be a little bit more careful this week (beer is my great temptation) and I'll be back to a downward trend in no time, like so many times before.


Whether we like it or not I reckon most of us get these same feelings. I used to weigh daily when I was losing but stopped doing it when I reached my goal. However, being in maintenance can be just as challenging even though most maintainers accept a weight range ( say 3-5 lbs leeway) so those "heavy days" are not so disheartening. Having said that, at the moment I'm clinging to the upper end and find I dont jump so gleefully on the scales in case of bad news! 😕

Fatbags12020 July

Weigh every six weeks. That's what I do. Always look forward to it and always have lost something. I put a rough estimate in my head (say 5lbs lost) and anywhere near there is great. Works for me.

I have a very unhealthy relationship with the bathroom scales. If they don’t show me what I want I avoid them and pretend everything is fine - not a good strategy.

I am a yo-yo dieter - last time I lost over 2 stone, maintained it for 6 months weighing in regularly and then it began to creep up. So I didn’t weigh myself for 18 months and here I am again with 2 stone to lose.

The courage it took me to stand on those scales again was immense - I knew it would affect my mood and self worth for days. But it did make me take action.

So I need to not let that happen again. Maybe weighing myself a couple of times a day will desensitise me, decouple the scales reading from my mood?

This time around I am also looking for non scale victories - getting into smaller clothes, how I look - I can’t be bothered to measure.

It is frightening how low and hopeless a bad scales reading can make me feel. I would love to find a cure :)

elliebathMaintainer in reply to walkthisway

Thats a very honest reply walkthisway and is one we can probably all relate to. The good thing is that you know you can lose that 2 stone and this is just the place to do it. Going by clothes fit is a good idea as long as you don't mind the initial delay, as I found it was 5-7lbs before things felt looser.

walkthisway5lbs in reply to elliebath

I actually managed to get into 2 pairs of old (smaller) trousers last week so was very pleased - and yes that was after losing 7lbs. I had not lost anything the week before and was looking for something to soften the possible blow of not losing again - and it definitely worked - but I did lose some anyway. Onwards and downwards hopefully 😊 x

elliebathMaintainer in reply to walkthisway

Way to go walkthisway !!! 😆

BridgeGirlAdministrator in reply to walkthisway

You have a lot of insight, which is what we need. I hope being a member of the forum, and the Friday weigh in team, will give you that extra boost.

Have you had a look at the Daily Diary? It's great for sharing meal plans and chatting about food choices

walkthisway5lbs in reply to BridgeGirl

I haven’t had a look at the daily diary but will. I have always felt on past weight loss attempts that focussing on food (as in planning meals) makes me feel more deprived. I am happy to say now I have had to plan better (due to lockdown) it is very beneficial. Now when I feel I am craving something or that I am hungry it is comforting to know what I have to eat next 😊 Another lesson learned to improve my relationship with food 😊

BridgeGirlAdministrator in reply to walkthisway

Another positive!

I find it interesting to see what everyone is planning though I haven't posted on the Diary for a while

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to walkthisway

Just do what you are comfortable with - you've got this!

Freeandeasy2020 June

Hi everyone

I’m another who steps on the scales every morning. I was using an old manual scale and was disappointed to learn than I was around 4lbs heavier on my new electronic scales. I ditched the manual ones and now go off the more realistic electronic ones. However, that encouraged me to lose a bit more. My ideal weight is 9 stone (I’m 5’ 4) and small boned and my waist/tummy is my worst area. I have been nearly 12 stone in the past. I thought I was 9st 7lb but when I got on my electronic scales I was 9st 12lb so that gave me the encouragement to get back down. Today I was 9st 6lb. I know compared to others this will be quite low but I feel so much better health wise when I am 9st (painful back and legs) and the smaller weight is better for me. For me, the scales are my friend.

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Freeandeasy

Well done free and easy, I understand how losing that last bit of weight affects pain only too well.

Nicely written ....I could have written that post...I totally get where you are coming from...and no, it's hard enough weighing myself in the morning, without trying it at night too (when, mostly everyone weighs a lot more) :)

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Shield-Maiden

Thanks for the nice comment.... it might amuse you to know that I have a second set of scales in the kitchen ... they serve as a warning!

Shield-Maiden1 stone in reply to Itsmesally

You're too funny...I can just imagine this naked lady baking cakes! lol

When I moved to Canada, years ago, I got rid of our scales, with Stones and Pounds, and bought digital ones in Pounds and Kg's....but I just can't seem to get under a certain wait.

Now I live in Spain, my new scales are great...they give me my weight in all three I can't decide whether to stick with Pounds, or, start using Stones and Pounds again! What a dilemma lol !🤣

So you see, I can join you with this predicament ha ha ....♡

Shield-Maiden1 stone in reply to Shield-Maiden

Oops...meant to say, weight

Itsmesally2020 August in reply to Shield-Maiden

I think I will weigh one foot on each scale and take the average! Canada to Spain - how exciting.... I am learning spanish at the moment.

I would agree with you on that weighing scale avoidance - I did that for a very long time, up to the point when I could no longer look at myself in the mirror without a degree of disgust on the fatty I became. Then I decided to weigh myself and I felt even worse.

That was the day I googled weight loss and the NHS weight loss came up, I downloaded the app, registered on this forum and here I am.

I am so glad I did that.

Itsmesally2020 August

I think we should all do what works best for us and keep supporting each other......

but..... I can't help thinking of my scales being like the most critical friend I ever had ....

They offer no whoops of delight when I lose weight

They fail to respond to my shuffling to get a lower reading

They do not tell me gently when I have gained a pound or two

They will not offer me a better result if I step off and on again

They will not adjust their reading to allow me a guilt free day off my diet

They do not hide when I am not in the mood for them!

Has anyone else shuffled? Or taken a second reading? Or moved the scales a foot, to left or right, to see if that improves the reading?

Oh yes! lol

Missdoubleyou2020 June

Personally, I don’t weigh because I have given up in the past after bad weigh ins. You have to do what’s best for you. Some see it as in incentive, I see it negatively. I go by my clothes.

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