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The Power of One Pound

Whatever your relationship with the scale, acknowledge other measures of success. Notice the changes you've made, the unhealthy food you no longer crave, the healthier items you look forward to eating, and the different food you currently keep in the house.
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Weight-A-Minute: Being a happier, healthier, more successful person is not what you do; it's who you are. -- Margaret Marshall

How many times a day do you weigh yourself, and why?

There are those individuals who never weigh themselves because they can't deal with the reality of how much they weigh and would rather live in denial. Many set their self-worth on their size, ignoring their many attributes. In fact for some, as their body size increases, they bury their talents and may never realize their full potential.

Some people get on a scale daily, or, even more than once a day. They may see a different weight each time, and each time the reading on the scale affects their mood, level of motivation, and self esteem. Then there are those who realize it's the lifestyle choices and healthy habits to focus on, not a number on the scale.

Those who weigh themselves many times a day or on various scales may see a different weight each time. There are many reasons for the difference, but what needs to be your concern is how this affects your health and weight. How does just one pound either way motivate or derail your weight loss efforts?

There is power in the pound. I've witnessed clients who did everything we planned during the week to lose weight and felt exhilarating at the start of our meeting. They get onto the scale and they have a one pound weight loss. The first words they speak are, "That's it!" That comment is enough for them to begin gaining weight the next week because many don't think losing one pound is enough. There is disappointment in a pound, where there should be excitement, and that one pound just gave them the power to retreat back to unhealthy habits. They are experiencing the "what's the use" feeling. On the other hand I've seen clients who claim they had a challenging week and ate too much. They know there will be a weight gain, yet they get on a scale to find they lost a pound. Very often they think, "Look what I can eat and get away with." In both these examples the pound had the power to derail long-term weight loss efforts.

I suggest you embrace two suggestions:

  1. One pound a week will continually add up during weight loss or weight gain. Either way, if you can enjoy each pound lost, the pounds-off will multiply. But if you allow your motivation and efforts to derail, the pounds gained will multiply. The question is which way do you want to go? I often ask a client, "Would you rather a slow weight loss or a rapid weight gain?" Ask yourself the same question and follow your answer.
  • There are many reasons the scale is not your only method of success. If your attempt at weight loss is strictly based on a number on the scale, chances are your efforts will be short-term. There are many factors that affect the scale. The number could change because you use different scales, the amount or type of clothing you're wearing, a change in weather, how much you drank before you weighed yourself, or whether you weigh yourself before or after exercise. It also matters where the scale is placed in a room. A tile floor, carpeting, or an uneven floor will cause the scale to read differently. All of these examples play a part in the number you see on the scale; yet for many, it affects the mindset and desire to continue the process.
  • Whatever your relationship with the scale, acknowledge other measures of success. Notice the changes you've made, the unhealthy food you no longer crave, the healthier items you look forward to eating, and the different food you currently keep in the house. Realize the amount of activity you've added to your life, the zest you have, how your clothes fit differently, or the different styles you now wear. Notice the increased level of energy, self-esteem, and how you smile and interact with others during your day. Look into the mirror and see how your skin and hair have a healthier glow because of the nutrients you are feeding your body. These and other examples cannot be measured on the scale.

    The cornerstone to sustained weight loss is knowledge, patience, and practice. There is much noise in the weight loss world, most of it misleading. Have the knowledge to know what is healthy and beneficial for you, the patience for long term change, and then practice new behaviors and habits to enjoy a healthier mental and physical life.