Using a baseball analogy, counting your pounds of body weight is like counting runs batted in (RBI). The old-school baseball statistic is dependent on a multitude of factors, like whether your teammates get on base in front of you. It's outdated, just like body weight. So if body weight is RBI, body fat percentage is wins above replacement (WAR), which is how many wins a player contributes to his team above the replacement-level player at his position.
RBI isn’t indicative of a player’s performance like WAR, and your weight isn’t truly indicative of your health. But your body fat percentage is. If you’re a man, a body fat percentage between six and 13 percent is on par with athletes. For women, that range is 14 to 20 percent. A fit body fat percentage for men would be between 14 and 17 percent, and for women, between 21 and 24 percent. Average body fat percentages for men range from 18 to 24 percent and 25 to 31 percent for women.
Your body weight can fluctuate between one and five pounds everyday. I have personally seen my weight fluctuate by eight pounds in one day over the holidays. And now I have a new scale that estimates my body fat percentage, body mass index, water weight and even the percentages of my weight that is muscle and bone. (The company that produces it also donates a part of profits to end child trafficking and provide support services for victims.)
Using a scale isn’t as simple as stepping onto it, and determining our health isn’t as easy as reading the number on the scale. Knowing when to weigh yourself is the first step to ensuring the data you’re collecting is accurate.
When to Weigh Yourself
First of all, you don’t need to weigh yourself everyday. Since your weight fluctuates so much in a single day, collecting that data daily can actually be detrimental to your health. If you weigh yourself daily and find you’re not losing weight, it could affect you psychologically. You could lose interest in managing your diet before it even goes to work on your body. Dr. Daliah Wachs explains:
“Your body likes everything really rhythmic and predictable, and when it gets out of rhythm your metabolism slows as a protective defense...It will relearn what your new norm is, but that could take weeks.”
Wachs suggests you weigh yourself weekly, and my research supports that suggestion. But there is research out there supporting daily weigh-ins. If you struggle to remain dedicated to your weight loss goals, weigh yourself everyday to hold yourself accountable. It resulted in more weight loss amongst women in the study cited above.
I weigh myself daily out of curiosity, but I only log my weight in the MyPlate app by Livestrong every five days. But how often you weigh yourself isn’t the only factor to consider when collecting your weight data. When you weigh yourself during the day will also skew your data.
My research indicates you should weigh yourself upon waking and after using the bathroom for the first time. You don’t necessarily have to poop, but if you do, your weight data will be a pound on the light side on average. After my movement this morning, I weighed 161.6 pounds, but I’m probably closer to 162.6 pounds.
Don’t Get Down If Your Weight Doesn’t Go Down
As stated earlier, weighing yourself daily can get you down, especially when you’re starting a new diet that doesn’t seem to be working. But you need not worry if your weight doesn’t go down for a few weeks.
“Most diets include a lot of water, which also keeps your appetite down,” Wachs said, adding later that “you will notice an increase in water weight gain...by the couple-week mark you’ll start to notice it go down.”
Water makes up between 57 and 60 percent of your body weight on average, and if you make a point of drinking more water as a part of your diet, your weight will increase due to water retained. You can find out exactly how much of your weight is water by using a scale that measures body fat by sending a harmless electric current through your body. So don’t get down if your weight goes unchanged or even increases in the first few weeks of your new diet. And if you’re using a scale that measures body fat, don’t try to lower your weight by drinking less water. That’s just dangerous.
So how to weigh yourself properly starts with weighing yourself at the proper time of day and at the right interval for you, but ends with you not reading your weight at all and reading your body fat percentage instead.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live