A question almost every client has asked me is: ”how often should I weigh myself when I’m losing weight?”
It’s a highly personal decision, and I don’t have a strict rule for my folks. But still, there’s a bottomline to consider:
The worst time to weigh yourself is when you care too much about the number.
I’m not just referring to the mornings when you’ve had an indulgence the night before and you feel super self-conscious about your weight.
I’m rather talking about the overall state of mind which you are in:
How much do you care about what the scale says, if rating from 1-10 with 10 being the max? If you get anything above 5, it’s the worst time to weigh yourself.
The reason is simple. When you are too emotionally invested in the scale number, weighing yourself everyday reinforces a very harmful addiction.
It means you are still letting the number dictate a big part of your life. And a small difference of 1-2 pounds can easily determine how you treat yourself and interact with the world the next few days.
If you let that trend continue, you’ll face constant anxiety, desperation, and frustration for a long time. Your body will be chronically stressed. Your mind will always wrestle against itself on food. Your energy is always low as a big chunk of it is wasted on inner resistance. In this situation, no real weight loss will happen as neither your mind nor your body is in a stable, balanced state needed for that.
Is this vicious cycle what you are trying to get out of?
One big step for changing your relationship with your body is changing your relationship with the scale.
And how relevant are the scale numbers in reality? I’ve seen people lose 20 pounds but they don’t look like it. I’ve also seen people drop 3 sizes but only lost 8 pounds based on what the scale says. These phenomena are common enough that I have to give a thorough explanation on why in this post. One of the main gists: scale numbers don’t tell you the real story of your weight loss.
For instance, when you are losing muscle vs fat, your number drops faster, but your body becomes sicker. Because your fat % has increased, your body is more prone to chronic inflammation. This leads to every barrier to weight loss you can think of. As fat retains and attracts energy, your body becomes a fat attracting magnet.
And because muscle only takes 1/3 the volume compared to fat and weighs 300% more than it. If you started from 170 lbs and lost 20 pounds of mostly muscle, you may not look different physically. But if you’ve lost 10 lbs of mostly fat, you can look very sculpted even though the number seems small. This is why my clients can always see sharp differences on their bodies as early as 2-3 weeks into the program when they haven’t hit a big number drop yet.
Having said that, do you still want to rely on the scale number as the main indicator of your progress?
I’m not saying the scale number has no value. In fact, if you are losing weight in a way which is designed to help you lose mostly fat, the scale number is more relevant.
When I coach my students, I usually offer the following guidelines:
- If you aren’t weighing yourself often right now and don’t seem to care, keep it as it is.
- If you are addicted to the scale and stand on it a few times a week, put the scale away for 3-4 weeks as soon as you start working with me.
A major difference between a chronic, impulsive dieter and a free, healthy person is the intuitive trust in their bodies. My clients need to see that weighing themselves or not, their body is working for them when they do the right things. And that’s what I want them to get right off the bat during their transformation.
As they see one significant change unfolding after another, numbers become non-issues.
Usually at the 4-week mark, I invite them to stand on the scale. The purpose is to have them see in their own eyes how their bodies are reliably working things out on their own. They also see how much the scale number just follows the results like someone’s shadow does to him. They realize they don’t need to chase the shadow to prove themselves existing. They just focus on real progress. That’s how they’ve become anxiety-free in the areas of weight loss and eating.
It’s a beautiful process. It usually starts from panic for those who have been standing on the scale everyday for years because now, they are throwing the crutches away. Soon, the panic ebbs and confidence soars. Then these people finally see they are in control no matter if they have the scale or not.
Watch one of my clients’ experience at her first weigh-in after 4 weeks:
As you can see, we were at the beginning of the 5th week. At least 10 pounds vanished in four weeks without factoring in the winter clothes. She wasn’t dieting, counting anything, taking supplements, or doing cardio exercises.
And can you see that she’s not surprised or overjoyed at the number? This is because during the first few weeks of working together, she already sees how her body can effortlessly melt away 5, 10, 20, 30 lbs and more. And she knows if she can lose 20 this way, she can lose 50. Things all become very predictable. She’s very calm. And there’s no ‘hit the lottery’ type of ecstasy simply because it’s the norm for her.
(Want to know exactly how she manages to lose weight in such a reliable, predictable way? The method is laid out here.)
But what if you aren’t doing anything effective to sustainably lose weight yet? Weighing in won’t make a difference on your progress — except for creating more tension and restriction. So the question is “Why bother?”
Now here is the next logical question:
Without weighing yourself, how do you know you are on track towards your goal?
To gain quick confidence, my clients need to see they are making significant progress despite not using the scale. And my answer to them is very simple:
Observe the REAL progress that comes with REAL results.
There are three major areas of progress to look into:
- How do you feel — are you feeling lighter and more energetic day after day? Are you feeling less bloated? Are you feeling your thighs no longer rubbing each other when walking? Are you feeling your pants are becoming looser and looser and it’s easier to pull up your jeans?
- How do you look — do you notice your face has become smaller? Does your bust look slimmer? Do your legs look leaner? Are you seeing more curves at your waistline area? Are others noticing your changes too? 83% of my clients get comments from friends and family members like “you seem to have lost weight!” by Week Three of my Lean Instinct Formula™ Program. Again, this goes back to losing fat vs losing muscle that we discussed earlier. And they look so much different because they are shedding mostly fat.
- How are you doing — are you experiencing less and less craving triggers? Are you eating in a more balanced way? Do you more and more spontaneously want to eat that way as your body gets cleansed? Do you appreciate whole food more on its own? How’s your digestion going? Have you stopped over-thinking about food and feeling much more secure about it?
I’ve capitalized the word ‘real’ because they are much more real than the scale numbers. They not only present weight loss but also show the overall life-quality, confidence, and well-being. When these three shift, you are experiencing paradigm shifts in life already.
When you see consistent results in these main areas, the weight loss you experience can’t be more real. You will actually see, feel, and enjoy it. Again, the scale number is like the shadow- it follows you. You don’t need to chase it because you don’t need the shadow to know you exist. That’s also how you become anxiety-free about your weight.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is why a healthy, free-minded, and lean person can freely eat anything he wants without worrying about food or weight.
He’s able to do it because he has the ability to intuitively read the signs of his body and respond in subtle but momentum-shifting ways. And he trusts his body, knowing it runs on a perfect ‘algorithm’ so that he can be hands-free on it, doing things that he wants to do.
This in-flow, in-balance mindset and “body-set” should be your end goal. It’s the place where you don’t care about the scale number as I mentioned at the beginning. And once you get there, you are no longer back to where you are now. Weight loss is just the guaranteed side effect.
So what’s the best time to weigh myself?
When you are only curious.
You are only curious about how far you’ve gone, with a clear sense of detachment on the number you’ll see.
Here’s a typical scenario my clients experience:
Certain clothes that used to feel tight are now very loose. They are very satisfied with the change and want to know how much weight loss it translates to — just for the fun of it. And since they are now Size 8 vs Size 10-12 as they were 3 months ago, they don’t care about whether the scale says 10 lbs or 20.
So they are curious, confident, and detached.
If you’ve read my story, you’d know this is how I lost 14 pounds in that month too. There was no weighing until the pants became too loose that I had to jump onto the scale to find out what was happening. The main emotional drivers were curiosity and excitement.
Many of my clients find the less they care about the numbers, the easier and faster weight loss becomes. It makes sense, as nothing makes your mind mess with you anymore.
Leslie Chen is Creator of Lean Instinct Formula™, which helps people enjoy UNLIMITED food freedom while gaining a head-turning body — through re-writing their physical and emotional patterns towards eating, removing their inner weight loss blockers, jumping out of the western FAD labyrinth, and leveraging Asian wisdom that creates immediate organic results. Leslie is rated as one of the Top Weight Loss Coach in 2023 by Coach Foundation due to consistent results she brings to her clients. Book a 1:1 Clarity Call here.
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