Thursday, May 5, 2016

My First Time to Own a Scale

Until about a week ago this thirty-something-year-old never owned a scale. Say what?!  You are a Registered Dietitian and counsel patients on weight management and you don't even have a scale at home.  That is correct.  Growing up my parents always had a scale in their bathroom. However once I left the house for college it happened that the places I lived did not have a scale.

Initially, I didn't necessarily seek out NOT to have a scale.  However as time passed without a scale in the house I came to a realization perhaps a scale was not needed.   I was able to maintain a healthy weight and have a healthy outlook on my weight without a scale.  Not having a scale in the house didn't mean I never weighed myself - I did step on a scale like once a month at work or when I attended a doctors appointment.   So yes I did have access to a scale, just not in a private setting.

What prompted me to get a scale after all of these years?  Funny thing is that I actually didn't purchase the scale - I was at a nutrition conference and it was provided as part of the registration bag (Thanks Fitlosophy).  My curiosity of what it would be like to have a scale in the house paired with the scale being free led me to go ahead and haul it back home in my luggage.  I made it work, but the scale was rather larger for my carry-on luggage (oh boy do I hate checking luggage).

How did I respond to the new scale?  The first few days after bringing the scale home I did find myself standing on it several times a day.   Part of this was experimental to see how much my weight fluctuated throughout the day.  Recently, I came across a blog post written by another dietitian, who demonstrated how much weight can fluctuate throughout the day by weighing herself nearly hourly.  My personal experience was similar to hers.  I noted up to a 4-pound weight difference when I weighed myself at different times throughout the day.

A common question I get is how often should a person step on a scale?  Is weekly or daily recommended?  Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question.  I work with clients that have great success with their weight loss and weight maintenance when they weigh themselves daily, however, I work with other people that develop obsessive behaviors when they weigh themselves this frequently. So the answer to this question is that the frequency of how often you step on the scale should be individualized.

The new thrill of the scale has worn off in my house.  Over the past few weeks I have only been on the scale a few times - perhaps I was burnt out after I noticed the fluctuating weights throughout the day. Currently, I plan to only weigh myself about once a week at approximately the same time of day wearing similar clothing.

Not wanting to step on the scale, no problem! There are plenty of other ways to measure and monitor your health status.  See below:

I would love to hear if you have a scale at home - and if so how often you get on it!
Your Family's Dietitian,

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