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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 October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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