Weight days a week

There are some things in life that take an enormous amount of courage. Telling your boss that you slightly overspent on your expenses last month to the tune of $1,000, for instance. Or explaining to your mother-in-law why your decision not to eat dairy or sugar means you can’t eat any of the three-course Sunday meal she has prepared. Then there is the courage required to boldly wear the new shorts you bought even though they are a good three inches shorter than anything you have worn for years. Yes, life is full of small instances of heroism but is there any greater bravery than what is summoned to make yourself step onto the scales to measure your weight? Even with making sure you are full disrobed and exhaling to ensure that you aren’t carrying any excess air, it still takes a certain steely determination to see what your weight is. Adding to the situation is a new study which shows that there is a weekly weight cycle that might determine what you are seeing on the scales.

In the study subjects ranged in age from 25 to 62. These subjects were categorised, according to how much their weight varied during the study, as either weight losers (people who lost three per cent of their weight), weight gainers (people who gained one per cent or more), and weight maintainers (people whose weight fluctuated within the +1 to -3 per cent range). The subjects were asked to weigh themselves each morning before breakfast. Some were followed for 15 days while others were followed for almost a year (330 days).

The results showed a clear weekly pattern of weight fluctuation. Higher weights were recorded after weekends (on Sunday and Monday mornings) while during the week weight steadily declined reaching its lowest point on Friday morning. This suggests that people tend to have more time to eat over weekends and they may lash out with their food intake and perhaps exercise less. However, with the start of the week people tend to resume their exercise and healthier eating pattern. Interestingly, this pattern was strongest in the people who lost weight during the course of the study.

It suggests that you shouldn’t worry too much about the occasional indulgence provided you do the right thing most of the time; the old 80-20 rule. It also suggests, if you are prone to having your morale sapped by a high reading on the scales, that you might want to plan your weekly weigh-in for Friday morning.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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