width=225Clearly the easiest way to measure your dieting success is to check the scale. Who doesn't like to step on a scale when dieting and see that they've lost weight!

But, too much reliance on the scale can actually have a negative affect on your diet progress. That's why we recommend only using the scale once a week.

Why? Throughout any given week your weight will fluctuate. What most dieters don't realize is that the amount of salt you eat actually regulates the amount of water in your body. And based on changes in salt intake the water level in your body will shift too.

The goal of weight loss is to lose fat, without losing too much water.

At the beginning of any diet, you will lose water in the first few weeks on top of the fat loss. Most people see a great deal of weight loss in the first few weeks of a diet, which gradually tapers off and becomes more consistent as the weeks progress. This is due to the fact that a diet will restrict the amount of sodium you eat.

Actually, restrict isn't the best word for this process as most people eat a diet that is super high in sodium, which causes excess water to stay in your system. What a healthy diet does is more like normalizing the amount of sodium you take in on a daily basis.

Here are some tips for scale time:

1. Don't weigh yourself more than once a week. If you follow a healthy diet properly, you should lose weight. Don't worry, just go about your business and do a once a week weigh-in.

2. Exercise. Even a little helps. (Note: before starting any exercise regimen, consult your doctor.)

3. Be consistent. Always weigh yourself at the same time of week and day. We suggest mornings before breakfast as they will give you an accurate and consistent reading.

4. For the women out there, remember this: Many times women will not lose so much weight as they will lose inches. Men, on the other hand, tend to lose weight quickly and lose inches more slowly.

5. There will be times as you get closer to your goal weight where you may see little or no change in the scale. Don't worry about this, it could be water level adjustments, or it could be a plateau. Plateaus happen occasionally. Sometimes you may need to eat less one week, or sometimes on a plateau you may need to eat a bit more. If you don't lose weight in two weeks, contact your dietitian or doctor.

This guest post was submitted by The Fresh Diet, a Florida-based meal delivery company whose food is based on the 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 30% fats diet concept.

Reprinted from DietsinReview