Posted by: Joe English | June 26, 2008

Training: some tips on tracking your weight

Lisa from Sioux Falls wrote to me asking a question that I seem to get all of the time:

“I’m so frustrated. I’m trying to lose weight and when I weigh myself, my weight seems to go up and down constantly. Even in the same day, I could be a few pounds up or down. What’s going on!?!?”

The first thing that I’d sugges to Lisa is that she stop weighing herself mutliple times a day. When you’re tracking your weight for weight loss purposes, it is important to realize that changes in your body weight should be tracked over time, but that differences in your weight within the same day are most likely caused by changes to the level of fluids in your body — not an increase or gain in fat, which is what you really care about.

Here are a couple of tips that will keep you from getting so frustrated:
— Plan to weigh yourself once or twice per week and write down the results. Over a period of time you can then look at the numbers and see if they are a trending up or down.

— Keep the time of day constant for your weigh-ins. I’d suggest weighing yourself first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. At that time, your stomach should be empty and you’ll be less likely to be impacted by fluid loss from workouts and other daily activities.
— Maintain the same conditions for your weigh in. For example, if you weigh yourself naked, always weigh yourself naked.
— Don’t get hung up on small fluctuations in your weight. If you are dieting, then you should be shooting for no more than 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
— If you’ve just begun a workout program, you may actually see your weight go up at first, as you put on muscle, which is heavier than fat.

So bottom line, while it may be hard, don’t jump on the scale every day. The changes that you’re looking for are long term, so be patient and keep working at it. With diet and exercise, you can get to your goals. Keep at it!

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News


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