Our patients often ask about weighing themselves, specifically when and how often one should weigh to ensure the most accurate measurement. Weighing would ideally occur in the office on the Tanita scale, a specialized scale that analyzes your body composition. This scale gives more information than just weight; it shows what your body is made of by measuring fat mass, fat-free mass (i.e. bones, organs, muscle and water) and total body water. This information is used to help patients lose the right kind of weight – fat mass – while maintaining or increasing their fat-free mass (i.e. building muscle through exercise) and total body water.
However, we know patients are curious about their weight loss and will likely be stepping on their scale at home in between visits to our office. Here is some advice to help you if you choose to weigh at home.
The point of weighing yourself at home is to help you know yourself better, and keep your weight maintained or monitor weight gain/loss. Therefore, look for consistency in all that you do. Use the same scale each time and wear the same type of clothing. Also, be consistent in the time of day that you weigh, but don’t weigh more often than weekly (See You’ve GOTS to Do It for reasons why)! Morning weights are encouraged since weight changes throughout the day depending on your daily activities, hormones and the amount of sodium (salt) you’ve consumed. Your body loses some fluid weight each night, considering that you haven’t eaten or had much to drink for several hours. At the end of the day, you’ve [hopefully] had a healthy meal and/or snack about every three hours which means your body weighs more then.
These weight changes are common to almost everyone to some degree, so don’t worry. If you are still concerned that the weight change is too large, it couldn’t hurt to consult your doctor. Remember — a few pounds in either direction shouldn’t make or break anything if you are following your “Bariatric Recipe.”
When considering fat loss, the best measure is not the “number between your two big toes” but how your clothes are fitting. Are those jeans hugging your thighs a little less snugly than a week or two ago? Is there a little more room in your shirt when you cross your arms in front of you? Fluid fluctuation will not bring about those changes, fat loss will. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to post them here in our online community, or call the office. We are here to support you!
Trish Jarrell, RN, is the clinical manager of the Bariatric and Metabolic Services program at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital.