Why a weekly review and not just a weigh in?

May 29, 2008

I try to think of my weight loss efforts a week at a time.

And I try to focus on changing my behavior in ways that will make me healthier and ways that should eventually pay off at the scale. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t always cooperate by losing in a straight line, and sometimes a few bad days won’t register any change on the scale… My approach is about putting the scale in perspective — as only a piece of the information I use to assess how I’m doing.

So each week before I weigh in (and usually the night before), I review my week. What I ate, how I exercised, did I keep up my motivation, etc. The progress made on goals if I had any. I congratulate myself with -)ies when I did well, and I look for how I could have done something different when I made poor choices – especially in situations that could repeat themselves.

That assessment of how I did becomes the REAL valuable information for the week. I then know, with certainty, how well I’ve done and what I need to work on. The scale becomes only a small, secondary piece of info. If I lose and I know my week was full of errors, I don’t get too excited, and if my week was great but the scale doesn’t move I know the scale will catch up w my good behavior down the road and I don’t take it too seriously. I cannot overstate the importance this has had for me, as I’m usually a slow loser with many plateaus, and if I were to just go by the scale I might just give up in frustration. Focusing on what I am doing – not what the scale is saying – keeps ME in control, and the motivation high.

At the same time I also think through the week ahead – what days or meals will be challenging, how will I deal with them, etc. What things can I work on to stay motivated, eating well or exercising regularly? What days and when can I plan to exercise? I try to keep my goals for improvement to no more than 5, and I generally keep the goals in place until I’m pretty sure they’ve become habit and I can keep that going easily and add something else in.

I used to do this in a spiral notebook back in the day when I lost from 250 to 167 — I did it for about 2 years almost never missing a week. I’ve come back to it at some point on almost every serious weight loss attempt I’ve made since then, and seeing it come back these past couple of weeks has been really encouraging, as for me it’s a sign that I’m serious about this and that I’ve accepted to be in this routine for the long haul.

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