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Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself?

Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself?

Scale Addicts

Over the years, I’ve dealt with my fair share of weigh-a-holics. That is, people who step on the scales far too often. Some do it every day of their lives. Morning and night. Some step on and off five times in ten seconds in the hope that a lower figure might magically appear between their feet. Then they do it again thirty seconds later. Sound familiar?

No, not crazy at all.

Some people give away their personal power to the ‘almighty scales’. Sadly, their morning weigh-in will either make or break their day. And their mental and emotional states. Some people think that if they step lightly onto the scales the figure might be lower. And some think that leaving part of their foot off the plate will yield a better result.

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Good grief.

An Unhealthy Relationship?

Overall, I’m not a big fan of scales. Sure, they have a place in the world of health and fitness and sure they can be a useful resource but far too often they become a source of anxiety, stress and frustration. Of course, weight is a relevant issue in the getting-fitter-healthier-and-sexier process but many (many, many) people have an unhealthy relationship with their scales. You might know such a person?

Very well, perhaps?

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Heavy Ain’t Always Bad

Before I share the following ‘How to weigh yourself sensibly’ tips, keep in mind that – in terms of health – body composition is much more important than bodyweight. Some heavy people are relatively lean (like me) and some light(er) people have a high body-fat percentage – which puts them at greater risk. According to a typical height-weight chart, I am currently obese and approximately 13 kilos (29lbs) overweight. In reality, I am heavy-ish (92 kgs, 202lbs) but not fat at all. My current body-fat percentage is about twelve. In fact, I don’t want to be any lighter because, for me, that would mean losing muscle. See? Weight is an issue but not always the issue.

So, with all that in mind, when should you avoid the scales?

1. Most Days. In most instances, weighing yourself every day is unnecessary and unhealthy. And often leads to obsessive thinking and behaviour. Weekly weigh-ins are adequate for most people in most situations.

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2. When you’re at someone else’s place. It’s best to weigh yourself on the same scales each time. That way – even if the scales are not perfectly calibrated – you will get a more accurate indication of what’s actually happening with your weight.

3. When the scales cost ten bucks. As a rule, the cheaper the scales, the less accurate they are. It’s my experience that most domestic bathroom scales are inaccurate – usually on the light side. For the last twenty years, I’ve listened to people complaining about how ‘heavy’ the scales are at my gym. Sadly for those clients, the scales are very accurate.

4. When it’s 8pm and you’ve eaten a cow for dinner. Under normal conditions, we’re all heavier at the end of the day. Not fatter, heavier. Natural variability means that somebody like me can easily weigh 3-4 kilos (6.6-8.8lbs) more at night time. Which is why it’s best for us to step on the scales at the same time of day each time. Preferably, first thing in the morning.

5. When you’re wearing hiking boots. Clothes can weigh as much as 4 kilos (8.8 pounds), so weighing yourself in the buff is the preferred option for accuracy. If that’s not possible, wear as little clothing as possible and wear the same clothing each time.

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6. After you’ve just completed a strenuous workout – unless you’re measuring pre and post-workout hydration levels. It’s easy to shed more than a kilo (2.2lbs) of water weight during a one-hour sweat session, so don’t delude yourself with a temporarily low reading on the scales. Water ain’t fat. By the way, one litre of H2O (or sweat) = one kilo. Exactly.

7. When the scales are sitting on carpet. Make sure the scales are on a solid surface (tiles, timber, concrete), otherwise your reading could be inaccurate.

8. Certain days of the month (you can skip this one boys). I know you girls don’t need me to spell it out for you but, yes, for menstruating women there will typically be somewhere between two and seven days per month when your weight is temporarily inflated due to increased water retention. Probably best to avoid the scales during this time.

9. When the thought of weighing yourself puts you in a state of anxiety. Stepping on the scales means whatever you decide it means. If you think and believe it will be a stressful experience, it will be. Weighing yourself can be a simple data-gathering exercise or it can be a traumatic event. If you can’t master your fear of the scales then you might want to use another evaluation tool for a while. Weekly girth measurements, monthly body-composition testing and monthly fitness testing are all reasonable alternatives.

10. When you’re happy with how you look, feel and function. If you look good, feel good and are in good health, who cares about a stupid number?

Are you a gym rat, or are you happy with your current weight? Tell us in the comments below!

More by this author

Craig Harper

Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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