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Twitter Your Weight? No weigh!

By Michelle May, M.D.
Twitter Scale

Credit: Withings

An article in the LA Times about a Twitter-equipped bathroom scale hit one of my hot buttons.

A scale is an external device that doesn’t accurately measure what’s going on inside your body or your head. More importantly, it does not measure your self-worth but it can sabotage your efforts, as in…

  • I did so well this week. I deserve a treat!
  • I was so good but I didn’t lose any weight. I might as well eat.
  • I don’t have to weigh in until next week so I’ll splurge now and make up for it later.
  • I was terrible this week and I still lost weight. I guess I don’t need to be as careful as I thought.
  • I only lost a half a pound. It wasn’t worth it.

Some people say, “But I want to be held accountable.” Accountable to a metal rectangle on the floor? Accountable to a three digit number? Now, accountable to your Twitter followers?

The only accountability that really counts is your commitment to yourself. In the end, that is the only accountability that makes a difference.

If you do weigh yourself:

  • Be honest about how the numbers affect you. If knowing your weight tends to backfire, put your scale under the sink or out in the garage.
  • You can decline to be weighed at your doctor’s office or ask that they record it without out telling you the number.
  • Decide how often you need to weigh yourself. Some people prefer to be weighed only when they go to the doctor but for most people once a week or even once a month is a good interval.
  • You never need to weigh yourself more than once a day; if you do, you’re playing games by measuring meaningless physiological fluctuations.
  • Let go of old benchmarks. You may never again reach your wrestling weight or your wedding day weight but you can live an active lifestyle and make conscious choices that will serve you now.
  • Don’t weigh yourself to confirm what you already know. When you’ve been mindful of your choices don’t take a chance that the scale will give you an answer you didn’t expect and derail your confidence.
  • Don’t use the scale to punish yourself. When you know you’re off track, focus on the changes you’ll make rather than beating yourself up.

A man I met at a conference said “I don’t need to weigh myself. I have pants.” I love the simplicity and accuracy of his method! A few ounces won’t make a difference but a few pounds will determine how comfortable he feels.

Look for other ways to assess your health and progress too:

  • Resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol or fasting blood sugar
  • Minutes of walking, steps on your pedometer or pounds of weight you’re able to lift
  • How do you feel? Tune in to your energy level, mood, and stamina

Ultimately these are the measurements that really count.

(This post is an excerpt from Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May MD)

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

4 Comments

  1. DizFatty says:

    Thank you so much for this post- I really need to be reminded of this from time to time. I’m a chronic weigher. It’s a problem that’s been brought to my attention before. I love to weigh, but I totally sabotage or reward myself based upon what the rectangle box says. Ridiculous, I know! So reading posts like this are always good for me; esp this week when I’m struggling with what the rectangle box is telling me. Thanks- D

  2. Tamara says:

    I like to weigh myself once a week, just to make sure I stay within a certain 3 pound range. Any more often is useless to me because the number fluctuates so much: a pound up if I had dinner later than usual, a half pound down if I’m dehydrated after exercise….
    Bizarrely, the measurement I rely on most for health is how hungry I am. I’m not talking about rating your hunger before/after eating, but how hungry I am at certain times of day: if I’m starving at night, I know I’ve eaten too little fiber and protein during the day. If I’m ravenous for snacks, I know I need to add some veggie bulk to my meals. I’ve found that if I’m constantly hungry, I binge at night and gain weight. But if I’m full all the time, my pants loosen. Counterintuitive, but it’s true.

  3. Agreed, Dr. May. As a fitness professional I never weight my clients unless they ask and even when they do we put it into perspective. We track progress by logging sessions on a calendar, rating energy levels and talking about how their bodies function better in daily life.

  4. Excellent Allison. There are so many ways to assess the benefits of physical activity that are more meaningful and rewarding.

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