How to weigh yourself without tears

If you are embarking on a plant-based rejuvenation project or are planning to lose weight in the new year, it’s a good idea to weigh yourself regularly. You can tell if you are on track, or whether that avocado and walnut smoothie recipe you started making every day is derailing your efforts. Even if weight loss is not your primary goal, weighing yourself, as well as measuring your waist circumference and  blood pressure, is something you can do at home to track your progress towards a rejuvenated you.

A whole foods, plant-based diet is not necessarily an extremely low calorie diet. I ran a typical day’s food through CRON-O-meter and found that I am eating about 2300 calories per day. This may be high or low for you, depending on your activity level. I do about 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. Contrast this with a typical 1500 calorie per day reducing diet. I would lose weight faster on such a diet, but I’d be chewing my arm off from hunger by noon and wouldn’t have any energy for exercise. Instead, I eat without restriction and lost 1-2 pounds per week at first, tapering to a fraction of a pound per month.

The problem with weighing yourself daily is that daily variations in weight can be greater than your weekly or even monthly weight loss and it can be hard to detect progress or problems. Your weight can easily vary by 2 pounds due to hydration status, menstrual cycle, salt intake, what you’ve eaten and when you last pooped.

If the tone of your day is going to be set by the number on the scale, you are going to be riding an emotional roller coaster.

screenshot_2016-12-12-13-38-53

This is confusing – am I gaining, losing or staying the same? The daily number isn’t that useful.

A lot of times you see the suggestion that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily because of the variation. Instead, you should weigh yourself weekly. Unless you are at the beginning of a major weight loss, losing more than 2 pounds a week, you will run into the same problem. A weekly weight measurement would have a lot riding on it, and could therefore cause even more grief if it ends up in the wrong direction.

I don’t have a pretty graphic of my own weight measurements spaced 7 days apart, because I do weigh daily, but this is what my daily measurements look like averaged weekly:

screenshot_2016-12-12-17-39-31

I don’t know what to make of this either.

But look what happens when I weigh myself daily and chart the monthly average:

screenshot_2016-12-05-15-08-15

That’s better.

Here are my tips for weighing yourself without tears:

  1. Get an app or spreadsheet to record your readings. I use RecStyle, but there are many to choose from. Make sure it will display your readings weekly and monthly as well as daily.
  2. Weigh yourself daily, at the same time, and wearing the same clothes, or better yet, none at all.
  3. Record your reading.
  4. Now ignore it.
  5. Look at the monthly averages and smile.

Of course, your mileage may vary, but if you are eating only whole plant foods and are above your ideal weight, there’s a very good chance you will see similar results.

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