You know how it goes: you wake up in a good mood, only to step onto the scale and have all your confidence come crashing down. Sound familiar? Yup.
These days there are a number of alternate ways to look at weight (BMI for one), but if the scale is what works for you – especially if you’re tracking gradual weight loss over time – and you’re going to use one, just make sure you do it right. Here are some common errors people make, and how to avoid them so you can get the most out of this old-school weight-loss tracking tool.
Easy tiger! It can be tempting to check in too often, but weigh yourself weekly, not daily. Weight can fluctuate during the day due to fluid changes. Use a chart to track your progress.
2. You use your mom’s old hand-me-down
Seriously, get a quality scale. Newer model digital scales can measure body fat percentage and track weight loss, plus they’re more reliable.
3. You presume your reading is always right
Check for accuracy. Put a dumbbell or a bag of sugar on the scale. Check the reading and make adjustments as needed.
4. Your scale is on a carpet
Position the scale properly. The best place for a scale is a hard, flat surface. Carpeting can throw the scale off by up to 17 percent.
5. You weigh in whenever you feel like it
Weigh in at a consistent time, not erratically. Early morning before eating is good, although it may be deceptive thanks to fluid loss overnight.
6. You weigh in before you wee
Empty your bladder first. This is one extra source of fluid you don’t need to include in your calculation.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health South Africa.