Stay away from the scales!

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There’s an understandable huge temptation to jump on the scales every morning, or even more often, after bariatric surgery. You want to see results and the reading on the dial matters, doesn’t it?

Well up or down, or stubbornly the same, those numbers can determine how you are going to feel for the rest of the day – defeated and down, or happy and victorious. And, well aside from the mental battle this ritual brings on, we have to ask ourselves is this a good reflection of ourselves and the surgery we’ve had? For the truth is that the scales are not a great way to measure your own and your surgery’s success when it comes to weight loss, health and body change.

For the scales don’t measure what your body is made of (most can’t differentiate between muscle, fat and water); the scales don’t measure if you’re losing fat or muscle they simply record the loss in pounds or kilos (so you could be losing weight but is it the right kind and from the right place?); the scales don’t tell you what’s going on in your body and how to address it; nor do they look at what is going on in your head; or come to think of it accurately record if you’re on track or not in relation to your current needs.

So why do we let such a poor system take up so much of our time and emotional energy? Ritual, regime and habit come to mind but this mind-set can and should change. So many bariatric teams recommend that you STEP AWAY FROM OR DITCH THE SCALES between surgery and hospital appointments (where they will accurately record your weight on reliable and tested equipment) and replace this activity with something that will more accurately measure your progress at home:They suggest that you:

Take your measurements the old-fashioned way with a tape measure. Record your chest, waist, hip, dominant arm, dominant leg, neck and any other measurement every month and see the difference.

Check to see if your shape changes by taking a regular photograph of yourself in the same position. Losing fat often means that you change shape not just change size.

Look in the mirror and see how your clothes are fitting – are they getting baggier? If you’re losing fat and toning up then you will lose inches and it will show in the fit of your clothes even if it doesn’t register on the scales.

Consider other medical numbers that can act as a barometer of how well things are going. What’s your blood pressure like, what’s your blood sugar level compared to last month, and how’s your thyroid? These are better indicators of your situation and more important than your current weight with regards to long-term health.

Make a note to record if your medication levels have changed. Have you been able to reduce or cut out altogether your pills and potions (with agreement from your GP)? Again these have much more ‘weight’ than those numbers on the scales when it comes to measuring wellness.

So the challenge for most bariatric patients is to break this bad habit if you have it or resist the urge in the first place, and to stop stepping on the scales too frequently. Once a week is recommended and more than enough between appointments with your bariatric team. Adopt some of the tips above instead – they will measure your progress better and be a more accurate reflection of your well-being.

About Ramsay Health Care Weight Loss Surgery Services

Ramsay Health Care is a leading provider of weight loss surgery in the UK. Highly qualified and experienced bariatric surgeons, who have undergone intensive specialist training in their speciality, perform a full range of weight loss procedures within Ramsay Hospitals. A 3 year aftercare programme to assist with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes throughout a patient’s weight loss journey is provided by a multidisciplinary team of nutritionists, clinical behaviourists and physiotherapists.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the aftercare process or require more information from one of our specialists.

This blog is provided by in collaboration with Ramsay Health Care UK.
Please note that all copy above is © and does not reflect views opinions of Ramsay Health Care UK unless explicitly stated. This information does not replace advice from medical professionals.

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