The scale has become an indispensable species in the bathroom ecosystem, although it is a ruthless predator for some people and a faithful companion of fatigue for others. Getting on the scales every day is already a routine for many who care about their health, and very beneficial according to a recent work presented at a Congress of the American Heart Association. According to researchers who have made it known, weighing six or seven times a week can cause you to lose 1.7% of body weight in one year... at least that's what the 1,042 people who participated in the study got.
Psychotherapist Xavier Sanmartín proposes a theory to explain the conclusion to which scientists from the universities of Pittsburgh and California have arrived in San Francisco. "Weighing more often provides more information about our state and allows us to recalibrate our behavior. To be aware of the point where you are allows you to correct it and bring it closer to the desired one, ' says the psychologist. In other words, those who are more interested in losing weight resort to this custom more often, and commitment to goals counts a lot when it comes to meeting goals.
But do not pack if the conclusions of the new work are already making you weigh the chances of reconciling with the artifact, however much you are a white man of middle age (78% of those who participated in the study were men and 90%, white). These things require going slowly, and slimming needs to make things right. And more with this work, which, according to the nutritionist Néstor Benítez, presents limitations that invite caution.
Losing weight is healthy... If the ballast you loose is fatty
Without detracting from the new work, Benítez believes that researchers have not yet provided enough information to value it as it deserves. "The study is not published and does not appear in Congress reviews, so data are missing to analyze it. It is not known what is the body weight (if it is fat, muscle mass or water), it is unknown what types of restrictions could be made by people studied and there is no data about their level educational or the state of health that they depart (if they suffer Obesity, for example), "he stresses.
In addition, his experience suggests to the expert that most people who go through the scales every day do it blindly. "Measuring weight is something we have internalized as a habit, but it is only one more thing about our health that we often do not know how to interpret," observes the nutritionist. And it's not for lack of information.
The new scales transmit more specific and relevant measures than weight, such as body fat, muscle mass and body water. What happens is that many times you do not know how to give them meaning, which would be interesting. "We are obsessed with weight when its importance is relative, and we do not attend to what is behind it. The volume of an athlete or a muscular person will be composed of muscle mass and low fat, which is really harmful: weight loss has to be at the expense of fat mass, "emphasizes Benítez.
When the scale becomes a toxic counselor
The idea that weighing every day is a habit that is part of a healthy lifestyle is less innocent than it seems. Some people may come to suffer it as a sentence. "For those suffering from a food behavior disorder, it is evidenced that it is disastrous, as it feeds the exaltation of the body's perception. It is counterproductive because it leads to obsession with a figure that is also not very informative, "says Benítez.
The psychologist Xavier Sanmartín, collaborator with the Valencian Association of Relatives and patients with disorders of the food behavior, adds that the people to whom the entity helps support more in the abstraction of a number than in the bodily sensations. "They stop relying on their feelings as a compass of their needs and start doing it on something external as a number. It is like people who, instead of being guided by fatigue, do it by the number of repetitions and minutes on a tape, or by the calories instead of satiety, "explains the psychotherapist.
In order not to fall into obsession or eating disorder, the key is to use the information well. "The devices that count the water we drink, the steps we give or the calories we spend, give feedback that has positive and negative consequences. If the data serves to recalibrate the behavior helps us to know better, but if the external value replaces the self-regulation, and the sensations are left aside to prioritize an external objective value, then it is more likely to develop the dynamics of the disorder of Food behavior, "warns Sanmartín.
Biweekly scale and monthly selfie
In the absence of a confirmation of the benefits suggested by the new American job, nutritionist Néstor Benítez emphasizes that weighing every day is an inadvisable habit. Instead, the professional recommends doing it once every fortnight. "It takes a margin of time to set a stocking. There are days when we weigh more for being constipated or for having eaten more in marked dates, but it does not mean that we have gained weight. the weight is not an exact figure, but a variable that fluctuates in time, " explains the nutritionist.
Taking pictures over time also allows you to see the physical changes clearly, the expert points out. "Taking a picture of us every month or every two months can help us see our body evolution, but people who exceed the weight limit, above or below, should take it with caution," he warns.
And when there are minors at home, it is best that the scale is out of reach to prevent eating disorders. "These pathologies are beginning to start at an earlier age, among other reasons because if children see that parents are weighed every day they will copy that habit. If the parents do not know how to interpret the data, the children even less, and the obsession with the number can end in disorder, along with other factors triggering these diseases such as obsession with the body image, ' concludes Benítez.
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