Ah, the good, old bathroom scale. It sure is a device that can conjure up some truly polarizing feelings, huh? Some days it gives you an answer that makes you jump for joy on those bathroom tiles, and other times — well — it truly is the bearer of bad news. It’s kind of like your ultra-flighty best friend; you know, the one who can either make your day better OR make your day a whole lot worse…

But, if you allow this device to dictate your daily happiness, it’s important that you educate yourself on its purpose, and possible perils, before you get too emotionally invested in it. Just think of it as a potential spouse — you have to know him or her REALLY well before you let them be part of your daily routine. Capiche?

So, before you step on that scale one more time, be sure that you are not making these 9 common mistakes…

  1. You’re wearing your street clothes on the scale–shoes included!

    Did you know that your seemingly lightweight gym clothes may be making you a whole lot heavier? Like, an average of 1.75 pounds for women and 2.25 pounds for men type of average. Who knew?!

  2. You can’t recall the last time you weighed yourself

    Was it during your last annual doctor’s appointment? Was it a stealth weigh-in in an acquaintance’s bathroom? If you’re not sure, then chances are you may have also lost track of any lifestyle changes you’ve been making, which makes any weight loss or gain hard to understand. Best to stick to a weekly or bi-weekly weigh-in that’s WRITTEN DOWN in your fitness journal.

  3. You can’t remember when you originally bought your scale

    Like most devices, scales aren’t meant to last forever. If you feel that its readings seems particulalry “off,” then it may be time for an upgrade.

  4. You are weighing yourself on many different scales

    It’s common for there to be up to a 5-pound difference depending on the scale that is used, so don’t let their differing numbers drive you crazy! Instead, stick to one scale and weigh yourself on it consistently.

  5. Your scale has moved spots since your last weigh-in

    Have you recently moved your scale from your carpeted bedroom to your tiled bathroom? If so, the device may be giving you completely different readings depending on the surface on which it sits. Again, consistency is key — keep the scale on a flat, hard surface!

  6. Your “red tide” is due any day now

    Did you know that a woman’s weight can fluctuate up to 10 POUNDS when she is menstruating? Our advice? Give yourself a break and don’t weigh yourself during “that time of the month!”

  7. You have just completed a strenuous workout

    A weigh-in after a workout might make sense for a fighter attempting to cut weight fast before an official weigh-in, but it doesn’t make sense for anyone else. More often than not, it will give you a reading that’s up to a couple of pounds lower than your average weight.

  8. You are stressing about the number on the scale

    Why would you put yourself through emotional torture just to find out if you lost or gained a couple of LBS? In our opinion, it’s not worth it –especially if you have been working on strength training. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so if you feel strong and look great, stay away from that scale.

  9. You are healthy and happy

    Look, unless your doc prescribes it, there’s really no medical reason to weigh yourself weekly. If you work out regularly, eat right, and are generally happy, you don’t need to add unnecessary stress with that scale.

We’d love to hear your take on this list! Have you been using your bathroom scale incorrectly? If so, how are you going to change your habits? How often do you think a person should weigh themselves?