Jessie takes a leap of faithResearch from the University of Colorado and Brown University shows that one of the unifying characteristics of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off is that they weigh themselves regularly.
While regularly weighing yourself provides a quantifiable indicator of your success, it's important that you don't do it too often. In my experience, once or twice a month is optimal.
If you weigh yourself more often than that, you may be inadvertently blocking your efforts to connect with your body and lose weight. Jessie's story is a good case in point.
Jessie - a vibrant, energetic woman - read The Don't Go Hungry Diet and came to my book launch in March 2007. Having known Jessie for a few years, I knew that she was a great advocate of my scientifically backed weight loss principles. However, I never fully realized the impact they have had on Jessie's life until July this year, when she attended one of my workshops.
As the workshop commenced and participants and I started to become better acquainted with each other, Jessie beamed from ear to ear and announced that she had something to show everyone.
She dug into her bag, and I was intrigued to see what might possibly emerge.
Finally, Jessie resurfaced with a thick, heavy, navy blue, A4-sized diary.
'At home, I have other diaries like this one', she explained. Jessie opened the front cover of her diary revealing a two-page overview of 2007. As with all her previous diaries, each day of the year was represented on the opening page spread by a little rectangle, and in each little rectangle was a neatly written entry.
'This is me before Dr Amanda's book launch' explained Jessie as she proceeded to read out some of her daily entries.
'Eight stone five pounds, eight stone five pounds, eight stone four pounds, eight stone three, eight stone four, eight stone four, eight stone five, eight stone five...'
Since she was seventeen years old, Jessie had weighed herself almost every single day. At fifty-two years of age, she has quite a few weigh-ins under her belt! Daily weighing was part of Jessie's strategy for keeping her weight under control and continually pushing it down towards her ideal of just under eight stone (50 kilos). Invariably however, Jessie's weight hovered around 53 kilos or above, and once she even went as high as 64.4 kilos.
'And this is me after Dr Amanda's book launch' announced Jessie jubilantly, pointing to March in her 2-page overview of 2007.
Whereas up until late March Jessie's yearly overview was crammed with daily weigh-in results, a few days after my book launch a giant chasm appeared on the page and the remainder of the page was blank.
Jessie had taken a giant leap of faith and had decided to weigh herself just once a month.
In the past, various health care professionals had suggested she stop weighing herself every day, but she did not trust them enough to put it into practice. However, in reading my book and hearing me talk, something clicked and Jessie decided to give it a go.
'When I finally weighed myself again after one month of putting into practice the things I learned from Amanda, I was three pounds lighter!'
After so many years of daily weighing, Jessie was astonished with the effects of letting go and allowing her body to control her weight for her. What's more, Jessie has continued to weigh herself just once a month, and her weight hovers reliably around 50 kilos.
While this 2 kilo difference on Jessie's small frame feels wonderful, the effects on her mental well-being are more far-reaching. After years of rigid mental control over her weight, she's no longer afraid of gaining weight. Jessie explained in an E-mail:
The other major benefit of letting go of this one behavior is that it has allowed me to get on with living - a phrase that you have said again and again - because I'm no longer preoccupied and taking up valuable brain space with thinking about food and eating namely:
I can't eat this or that because...; I want to weigh less in the morning so I'll eat less tonight; what will my husband say if I don't eat; I don't want to go out because I may overeat or eat something I prefer not to; I have to be strong and rigid about what goes into my mouth...
These are just an example of the myriad of thoughts that used to run through my brain which are now over!!!'
See what can happen when you let go of weighing every day and instead connect with your body?
What our readers say...
"Dear Dr Amanda, I heard your interview on the Margaret Throsby show late last year (2008) and I was convinced that you had finally uncovered the secret. However, it has been so slow a process for me that I have wondered if I were the exception that proves the rule. I realized that I often ate when not hungry and did not get enough steps in my days. I have grown to listen to and trust by body, and do my best with the steps, working on an average for a week. In the five months since November I have lost 2 kilograms and I believe that these will stay off. I believe I need to lose about 8 kilos. But as I put the weight on in small 1/4 kilo increments, this must be the healthy way take it off. I am 56 and thought that perhaps the middle age spread was my destiny, as I believed that I ate well and went to the gym regularly but without losing anything. I have recommended your method, book and website to many even though I was a little concerned that I was not actually losing. I work as an academic, so value both the research and evidence based approach, and the guilt free philosophy. Well done! And thank you. "