I had a conversation a few days ago with a friend who is trying to lose weight. I'm not going to name any names, but she's fairly intense about the whole thing. She'd gained a pound or two, and wasn't taking it all that well. That kind of thing, I suspect, is why a lot of weight-loss programs and experts suggest that we shouldn't weigh ourselves every day.

I DO weigh myself every day--or nearly every day--so I know from experience that it happens all the time. At least, it does to me. And I just don't care.

I don't usually talk about my weight in public, but I'm going to use an actual example here. This is a graph of my weight over a roughly ten-week period:


You'll undoubtedly notice right away that it's not a straight downward trend. I haven't graphed every day here, but even so, there are several points at which this graph ticks UPWARD. In fact, it reminds me a little bit of a roller coaster, and I think that's apt. For many of us, losing weight is a lot like a roller coaster in a number of ways. There is the inevitable up-and-down of the scale, of course, but that's not the only the beginning. There's the exhilarating feeling of taking control and making progress, followed in rapid succession by the resentment, discouragement, second-guessing...a new wave of energy and resolve...it's not a stable process.

But in the end, it simply doesn't matter.

Let me show you what I mean:


Same graph. Same time period. I've just cut out the middle; that is, I've cut out the ups and downs. That's what scientists look at--not each individual point on a graph, but the trend, the overall relationship between the axes.

Sometimes, I maintain the same weight for a week or two because I'm just sick to death of fish. And yes, on at least four days (and probably several more) during that time period, I gained a pound or two. Sometimes, those pounds were mysterious. Sometimes, they were the result of a weekend of socializing in restaurants or ordering in. In either case, it was a blip. That's the upside for me to weighing in every day--it allows me to tell a blip from a trend. If I gain a pound or two, I just don't care. That's a blip. And it's trends we're interested in, not blips.

I can promise you that this summer, when I've reached my goal weight, I'm not going to be looking back and saying, "Oh, MAN...I know I look and feel great now, but you know, on January 23 I was actually back up TWO POUNDS."

Are you?