For some people, getting on the scale can become an obsession. Checking your weight should serve only as a basic informational tool that you should learn to use with discretion to help you achieve or maintain your weight goals. A weight scale shows you how many pounds you've lost, maintained, or gained.
Before you buy a scale, make sure it's of good quality and will meet your needs. Your dietician will surely be able to recommend to you what some of the best options are, based on your budget and other needs.
The controversy over the use of scales has been going on for more than a decade. Some experts say it can cause people who are already self-conscious and/or have an eating disorder to become more obsessed with their weight. There are stories of models and idolizing teens that carry scales in their handbags everywhere they go as if they were wallets.
Another opinion about using scales is that they are not the most effective way to measure how your weight loss is progressing. According to an analysis conducted by the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, a better way to monitor body composition change is with what is called "anthropometry." Anthropometry means measuring the body's dimension using a tape measure, or other type of measuring device.
The study revealed that people who really wanted to lose excess fat learned how to take their own body measurements. Success was defined as dropping in clothes sizes and finally being able to fit into those pants that lay forgotten in the dark corners of the closet for so many years.
The study's most concrete example of why scales can be deceptive, was demonstrated by an individual whose muscle mass increased while fat was being lost. Some people may even gain some weight when they are on a weight-loss plan. This should not immediately be interpreted as a bad result or a sign of overweight or obesity . Since muscle does weigh more than fat, it is a possibility to see some weight gain when physical activity, and thus muscle mass, increases. Similarly, some individuals actually lose weight when the reason is that they're losing muscle mass and not fat.
A study done by the University of Seattle showed that an individual’s level of motivation is an important factor in helping achieve weight goals. Weighing oneself daily helps people who are on a diet or watching what they eat develop a positive attitude. In addition, experts from Seattle say that scales provide people with a quick way of monitoring their weight status, and this gives them the opportunity to react immediately.
Nevertheless, Rena Wing, director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at Miriam Hospital in Providence, states that stepping on the scale isn't a significant goal in itself. "Afterwards, each person should use the information they've received to start making small positive changes in their habits and daily behaviors. Sometimes this means eating less, other times it means becoming more active, but what's absolutely essential is that the key to success seems to lie in keeping an eye on your weight," she explained.
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