- How often should I weigh myself?
- How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
- Weigh the right way
- Best time to weigh yourself?
- Ask the Diet Doctor: How Frequently Should I Check My Weight?
- The solution
- PRO #1: Daily weigh-ins can serve as a red flag for your system.
- PRO #2: Daily weigh-ins will motivate you by monitoring progress.
- PRO #3: Daily weigh-ins are a constant reminder of your goal.
- Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?
- Be Kind To Me, Scale
- Use The Scale The Right Way
- Hit That Plateau?
- Remove Advertising
How often should I weigh myself?
If your goal is weight loss, it is recommended that you weigh yourself no more than once per week, and if your goal is increased lean body mass, the recommendation is once every two weeks. It is important when attempting to lose weight not to weigh yourself too frequently. Due to water weight fluctuations and the rate at which you lose body fat, weighing yourself more than once per week can be discouraging. In weight loss, depending on how many calories you are consuming and burning, recommended weight loss is one to two pounds. Considering the slow pace at which healthy weight loss occurs, weighing yourself anymore frequently than once per week will likely not provide you with the immediate positive feedback you are looking for. When you weigh yourself, in order to be as accurate as possible, you should keep certain variables constant such as the scale you use, the time of day you weigh, the day of the week, and the articles of clothing you wear. It is important to not take any single weigh-in too seriously. This means that whether you have not lost any weight at all, or have lost more rapidly than expected, do not adjust your program until you see the trend occur two weeks in a row. Because weight gain typically comes on more slowly, one half to one quarter of a pound per week, weighing yourself more frequently than once every two weeks can also provide misleading results. When weighing yourself with the intention of lean body mass gains, the same variables and recommendations should be applied as in weight loss.
How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
Imagine this: You decide it’s time to make a concerted effort to lose weight. You start exercising regularly and embark on a healthy eating plan. The time comes to check in on your progress, so you step on the scale for the moment of truth.
You haven’t lost any weight.
What do you do? Continue with the exercise and healthy eating plan? Throw in the towel, and go back to what you were doing before? Start restricting your eating even more as an effort to make weight loss happen faster?
These are all completely normal and reasonable reactions to a lack of success on the scale. Weight loss, maintenance or gain can be tricky to navigate. Put more plainly: The scale can be tricky to navigate.
Weight fluctuations are common because your weight is determined by a variety of factors. These include but are not limited to how hydrated you are, what you recently ate, your bathroom habits, the climate and your exercise routine. A few pounds of weight fluctuation here or there are usually not a result of fat gain but a result of your body doing exactly what it needs to do to regulate its physiological functions. So, how often should you weigh yourself? Whether your goal is maintenance, loss or gain, let’s talk about the scale.
READ MORE > 3 KEYS FOR WEIGHT LOSS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The very first question you need to ask yourself is: “Will weighing myself (daily, weekly, periodically, etc.) help me or harm me?” Since there’s no magic answer for how often to weigh yourself, figuring out what is helpful and motivating for you as an individual is how you decide.
Many people find weighing in daily provides a sense of accountability and is helpful for having a good idea of where they are with their progress. For many, it helps to keep progress on track. If you’re able to look at the overall trend and not stress about the fluctuations, then by all means, weigh yourself daily.
Does a 0.4-pound weight gain sour your mood? Or, are you absolutely elated to see that you’re down 1 pound? If the daily weigh-ins powerfully affect your mood and behavior, then you might want to reconsider how often you weigh yourself. The number on the scale should not have the power to dictate your mood, the events of the day or your overall quality of life — it’s just a number.
Weighing weekly can have its advantages — it allows you to track progress while still having six whole days to not focus on your weight.
For best results, pick a consistent day each week, and weigh yourself in the morning. Look for trends, but don’t get caught up in the minutiae. Recognize that it will take a few weeks to get a picture of where the trend is heading. This can be a good tool to help you feel accountable without making you ride the daily emotional roller coaster that is (or can be) the scale.
Some people opt for the occasional weight check-in. People may do this at home or rely on the scale at the gym or doctor’s office to get an idea of where they are. People who opt for the occasional weigh-in often have alternative ways of identifying weight shifts, like the way their clothes fit or how strong they feel while exercising.
There are many people out there who smash their scale and never look back. Some people find it helpful to focus on how they feel in their clothes, the balance of their meals and snacks and how they perform with their exercise rather than focusing on the number. This can be a valid way to approach health — there’s much more to health than a number on the scale!
If you are weighing yourself multiple times per day, stop! With rare exceptions, you should not weigh yourself more than once per day. Obsessing over a number on the scale can turn into a very problematic pattern that can disturb the peace and happiness in your life. If you decide to weigh yourself, the scale should be a tool that helps you, not harms you.
Overall, ask yourself about what is most helpful for you. For some, daily weigh-ins are the best route. For others, weighing less often is better for overall health. Each of us has different ways of experiencing things and inviting motivation and positivity into our lives. Find what works for you and stick to it!
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Does it make any difference how often you weigh yourself? While stepping on a scale doesn’t use many calories the results can have a profound effect on motivation to continue (or abandon) your weight loss efforts.
If you’ve been dieting you might feel especially virtuous because you’ve had a good day. You ate reasonable portions and avoided desserts and other calorically dense foods. If you step on the scale the next morning and find that you’ve gained two pounds how would you feel? You could get discouraged and might be tempted to give up. Would you be better off if you didn’t weigh as frequently?
Opinions and practices vary widely. I remember one anorexic patient who refused to be weighed. When the hospital staff required her to get on the scale she faced backward so she wouldn’t have to see the result. A bulimic college student I was working with weighed herself before lunch, halfway through lunch and again when she was finished.
If you look at diet books the issue is ignored or if it is addressed, you’ll get conflicting advice. For example, The Beverly Hills Diet is insistent that you weigh yourself every day while The Beck Diet Solution, like many commercial programs, advises you to limit yourself to once weekly weighing. In contrast, Eating Mindfully wants you to, “Put the scale away. Hide it, trash it, give it away, or tape over the numbers.”
The first thing to consider in planning weigh-ins is your weight goal. Rather than setting a specific number as a goal, it’s more realistic to set a five-pound weight range. This will minimize the discouraging effects of temporary fluctuations that might result from water retention, constipation or any of the other bodily functions that have nothing to do with long-term progress.
Once you’ve established a reasonable weight range goal consider weighing yourself every day, the first thing in the morning, before you get dressed and have anything to eat. A recent review of the research suggests that contrary to the frequent advice to limit yourself to once weekly weighing, daily weighing can be a useful strategy to lose weight and prevent regain after weight loss. Seeing a small loss may be rewarding. On the other hand, if there’s been a gain over yesterday’s weight, it’s a reminder that an increased focus on today’s intake is needed. The review didn’t find any evidence of harmful psychological consequences of daily weighing. While this advice doesn’t apply to people battling anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, for the rest of us, daily weighing can be a useful strategy to help with weight loss.
Major weight loss takes more than just putting sneaker to treadmill or fork to plate. Odds are, you’re probably weighing yourself every once in a while, too—and we don’t blame you if it’s the scariest part of your day.
But when it comes to the dreaded scale, there’s nothing to fear! According to the National Weight Control Registry, 75 percent of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off weigh themselves weekly. Plus, a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who lose weight are less likely to gain it back if they regularly weigh themselves. Also, try these 50 ways to lose weight without a lick of exercise.
Weigh the right way
When you step on a scale, do so mindfully, science says. Get this: apparently there is a “right” way to weigh yourself. And as long as you follow this simple rule, you may get results that you can be proud of (and that are a little more accurate!)
First off, doctors recommend scheduling one time of day to weigh yourself and sticking to that time no matter what. Since your weight fluctuates throughout the day, it’s hard to get an accurate read when you weigh yourself at a different time each day.
It’s a good idea to regularly check that number, according to Holly Wyatt, MD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. It will help you make better decisions for your health, she says.
But then you’re faced with a choice: When is the best time to weigh yourself? According to the experts, you should step on the scale in the morning, after you’ve emptied your bladder and before you’ve eaten breakfast or hit the gym. Not only will you get a lower number (woohoo!) but you’ll also see a more accurate reflection of what you actually weigh—sans any extra pounds thanks to water, food, etc.
Plus, make sure your scale is on a hard, flat surface (no carpets) and that you are standing still with your weight distributed evenly across both feet. Getting the most accurate measurement of your weight is guaranteed to put your mind to rest and boost your weight loss motivation.
Still not happy with the number on the scale? Don’t fret! Try these 40 fast, easy tips to lose weight from the pros.
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
If you’re trying to lose weight or simply don’t want to gain unwanted pounds, how often should you weigh yourself? Many popular weight loss plans, such as Weight Watchers, do not recommend weighing yourself daily. Instead, they recommend stepping on the scales once per week or even less frequently. Our weight fluctuates somewhat from day-to-day, and daily weighing can lead to discouragement and potential diet sabotage if you see a higher number on the scale than you saw the day before. Most diet experts believe that a once-weekly or even monthly weigh-in is a more accurate reflection of weight control progress.
But a group of doctors who studied obese and overweight adults who were trying to lose weight as well as overweight adults who were trying to prevent weight gain found that those who weighed themselves more often lost more weight and prevented more weight gain over two years than those who weighed themselves less frequently. Contrary to the advice given in many popular weight loss regimens, this study suggests that at least some people can benefit from the accountability brought on by daily weigh-ins. Potential advantages of daily weighing include recognition of slow patterns of weight gain that may not be immediately apparent and the chance to modify lifestyle habits before the total weight gain becomes extreme and difficult to control.
The personality of the individual dieter likely plays a role in deciding how often to weigh oneself. If you’re easily discouraged, daily weighing might cause you to give up your attempts if you don’t see rapid progress. On the other hand, if you crave control and feedback, daily weighing might satisfy more of your needs and fuel your motivation. Whatever weigh-in frequency you choose, keep these tips in mind when stepping on the scale:
- Weighing yourself first thing in the morning is usually best. Because of variations in food and fluid consumption, we often “gain” different amounts of weight throughout the day.
- If you’re weighing frequently, remember that daily fluctuations in weight are common. Just because you’re heavier today than yesterday doesn’t mean your weight control program isn’t working. Don’t become a slave to the numbers.
- Monthly variations in weight are also common in menstruating women.
- “Plateaus” in weight loss aren’t necessarily bad. If you’re exercising a lot, your weight may remain constant for a time even though you’re still decreasing your body fat content and getting healthier.
- Finally, cues other than the numbers on the scale are equally important. How do you feel? Are your clothes getting looser or tighter? Do you feel stronger, healthier, leaner? Your own perceptions can be the most valuable tools to help you track your weight control progress.
For additional information, please visit the Weight Loss Center.
Reference: Linde JA, et al. Self-weighing in weight gain prevention and weight loss trials. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 30(3), 2005.
Best time to weigh yourself?
The first question you are probably thinking is: Am I a healthy weight? Most answers to this question will involve a calculation of your body mass index or BMI which uses your height and weight to assess whether you are a ‘healthy’ weight. The calculation is BMI = Weight (kg) / Height (m)² so if you are 70kg and 1.68m high, you will have a BMI of 24.8 and just sneak into the range of 18.5 – 25 which is considered healthy for a woman. But what is this not telling us? It is not telling us how much exercise you do, how much lean muscle you have, how much body fat you have and where it is stored around your body. If the BMI calculation reminds you too much of school maths lessons, you might just look at your weight measurement and that can be even more misleading; if you have lost weight, you might have lost fat, but you might also have lost muscle or just water. If your weight has gone up, is it because you have more stored fat, or might it be because you have built more healthy muscle? So, the question you should be asking is not ‘how much do I weigh?’, but ‘how healthy am I?’
Ask the Diet Doctor: How Frequently Should I Check My Weight?
A: How often should I weigh myself?
Q: The scale is a very poor marker of short-term progress, but it is a good long-term measure of body weight change. Therefore I recommend that you weigh yourself every day.
Not too long ago, I was reading a research review of 12 studies that looked at the impact of “self weighing” on body weight and weight loss. The researchers found that people who hopped on the scale daily or at least weekly maintained up to a 6.6-pound weight-loss advantage over people who did not frequently weigh themselves.
In one study reviewed, people were asked to check their weight four times a day (a little excessive, don’t you think?); these people lost twice as much as those that never faced the scale. While four times is overkill, this review illustrates the point that monitoring your weight is good for losing weight and maintaining your ideal weight.
I stress the importance of daily weigh-ins to clients for the following reasons:
1. It is a very easy habit to master. Get up, go to the bathroom, step on the scale. Pretty simple.
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2. It keeps you aware. As the old business slogan goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” Daily weight checks keep your goals and progress in the forefront of your mind.
3. It just plain works! As you see from the studies I mentioned above, frequent self-weighing leads to more pounds lost. Scientists are still unclear on the ideal frequency (Daily? Weekly? Some other magic formula?), but we do know that weekly is the minimum. I prefer daily because what happens if you are holding water on scale day? Daily gives you the most accurate long-term picture of your weight loss.
I know you hear many people say the scale doesn’t matter and that muscle weighs more than fat (to the latter point: One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat; a pound is a pound). The scale does matter because it is a very simple measurement to take and understand. But it is not perfect and doesn’t distinguish between water, fat, muscle, or brain cells gained or lost. Women can drop two jean sizes without the scale budging. This is why the scale shouldn’t be your only measure (girth measurements are also key and perfect to use in conjunction with your scale weight).
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The key to most effectively and objectively using your daily weights is to not look at one particular day’s number by itself, but to look at your weight trends over the course of two or more weeks. Day to day your weight is just too variable. I have one client whose weight can swing 10 pounds on any given day-and I can assure you that he is not gaining 10 pounds of fat and then losing it in the subsequent 24 hours.
The best way to look at your weight trends is to graph them. You can use a simple spreadsheet, an app on your phone, or a Wi-Fi scale that takes your weight, records it, and graphs it before you can even stop off the scale.
Keep weighing yourself every day, but don’t get caught up in your daily weight.
- By Dr. Mike Roussell
How is that new year diet going? Weighed yourself lately? How often should you do so? Weight Watchers recommends that you weigh yourself once a week, while some dieting sites suggest throwing away your scales so as not to become demoralised. Scales can seem extraordinary fickle at times, with weight fluctuating by nearly 1kg from day to day. So it is timely that research in the journal PLOS One has come up with the optimum frequency for stepping on the scales. The answer, however, may be surprising. The researchers say that dieters who weigh themselves daily lose the most weight – the average period between weight checks without gaining weight being 5.8 days. Elina Helander, the lead author from the Tampere University of Technology in Finland points out that cause and effect isn’t clear. It may be that the most serious dieters are the ones who keep hopping on the scales because they like what they see. So should you weigh yourself more often or do you have better things to do?
This particular study analysed 2,838 weight measurements from 40 people attending a health promotion programme, who wanted to lose weight. It is a small group, but the authors say it reflects findings from other studies, including those looking at keeping off the weight. Most dieters are back to their previous baseline weight within three to five years. A study in the New England Journal on maintaining weight loss in 314 successful dieters (who had lost an average of 19.3kg in the past two years) found that those who weighed themselves daily were less likely to gain 2.3kg or more over the next 18 months. The authors argued that there is little evidence for frequent weighing lowering self-esteem or having negative effects.
Another study, in the journal Obesity, examined data from 3,003 people on a national weight control registry and found that more frequent weighing was associated with greater “cognitive restraint” and those who weighed in daily were less likely to increase their fat intake than those who got on their scales less than once a week.
But even if you just get on the scales out of curiosity, studies confirm what you probably already know, that weight fluctuates during the week, increasing over the weekend as people eat bigger meals and move less. We usually weigh the most by Sunday and Monday and then, over the course of the week, our weight generally decreases. The authors of the PLOS One study also published a paper in Obesity Facts (although, again, the study was small) showing that people whose weight fluctuated the most over the week were actually the most likely to keep their weight steady – perhaps because this is actually the normal rhythm of our weight.
Let’s face it: We all have a love-hate (tipping more toward hate) relationship with our scale.
On a good day, the scale is the best friend who cheers you on. On a bad day, the scale is the sworn frenemy who we secretly side-eye. Hot and cold relationship aside, that scale might be one of the most crucial tools you have for weight loss.
A recent study of 91 overweight adults in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics even found that those who weighed themselves daily lost more weight compared to those who did it weekly, or not at all. But there are actually opposing opinions on the best weigh-in frequency.
In fact, “the benefits of daily self-weighing have long been a topic of interest among obesity and eating disorder experts,” says David B. Allison, PhD, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
So, if even the experts can’t agree, how often should you subject yourself to the scale? Let’s find out—here, we break down the pros and cons of weighing yourself each day.
PRO #1: Daily weigh-ins can serve as a red flag for your system.
With weight loss, ignorance is not bliss. A daily weight check-in can prevent unpleasant surprises—you’ll notice any increases immediately (as opposed to weeks or months later when things may have gotten out of hand), and you’ll make sure not to gain too much.
However, a Cornell study published late last year noted that this tactic may only be a useful strategy for “certain adults.” Who, exactly, are these certain adults? (Our guess: Those who don’t relate to Con #1 on Page 2.) But for now, the study’s authors are not sure about all the factors at play it will take more research to pinpoint those who will benefit from frequent weigh-ins.
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PRO #2: Daily weigh-ins will motivate you by monitoring progress.
Tracking your weight-loss journey and keeping an eye on trends can boost your confidence. Even if you’re just noticing tiny incremental changes, seeing that your efforts are paying off can help you stick to the plan when your resolve is wavering.
One of the ways that the CDC suggests losing weight is to continually check in with yourself to see how you’re improving. What’s more, research by the National Weight Control Registry, an organization that tracks people who have successfully lost and kept off weight, also tied that success to daily weigh-ins.
PRO #3: Daily weigh-ins are a constant reminder of your goal.
Your weigh-in can be a reset button—the act of stepping onto the scale every day serves as a course correction. The authors of the Nutrition and Dietetics study cited previous research that self-monitoring spurs people to attain their goals, and experts know that subtle goal reminders influence your eating habits, which keeps bad behavior in check.
Other research in the same study note that daily weigh-ins can even lead to better food and exercise choices. Meaning, you’ll think twice about having ice cream or deep-dish pizza for dinner (or skipping a workout) if you know there’s a date with the scale the next morning.
The idea of stepping on the scale is a little controversial. Some experts, including Harley Pasternak, will tell you not to have a scale and not to weigh yourself. Psychotherapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling agrees, pointing out that fixating on the numbers on the scale can turn into an unhealthy obsession and make you forget about the importance of focusing on “feeling good in body and spirit.”
“If you have gained a pound, then very often that will lead to emotional depression,” Dr. Smerling said. “If you have lost a pound, it can lead to elation and a feeling that you can reward yourself. Being on the scale tends to have a yo-yo effect on our emotions and our weight.”
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But if weight loss is your goal, the numbers on the scale can be a valuable piece of information and way to monitor progress. If you’ve recently made a change to your diet or your activity level, weighing yourself can be a good indication of whether what you’re doing is working.
If you choose to use the scale as a tool, NASM- and NSCA-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Chad Hargrove isn’t a fan of once-a-week weigh-ins but rather weekly averages. “You should get on the scale more, not less,” he said. If you weigh yourself every morning, you can calculate the seven-day average to more accurately illustrate true progress over time.
What’s great about weighing yourself daily is that it gives you more of the big picture. As shown in the graphic, if you only weighed yourself on Fridays, you wouldn’t see that you are in fact losing weight faster than you thought.
Still not convinced? A small study run by Cornell University found that men and women who weighed themselves daily and tracked the results not only lost weight, but after two years, the average weight regained was close to zero pounds.
Be mindful that you will see fluctuations every day. It’s totally normal based on whether or not you’ve had a bowel movement, how much you ate or drank the day before, how much you exercised, whether or not you’re retaining water, etc. Knowing you’re taking the average of those seven days can put your mind at ease about those daily fluctuations.
On a personal note, I’ve been using this method for a few months, and it’s been so helpful in monitoring my progress. Of course, we’re not saying that weighing yourself daily (or at all!) is absolutely necessary to reach your goal. But if you see progress, it can inspire you to keep going. Do what works for you!
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?
The scale can help motivate you to lose but can also become frustrating. Hint: Once a week, at the same time is most beneficial.
Regular weigh-ins help you monitor your weight loss efforts, but how often should you do it?
Research shows that monitoring your weight on a regular basis helps with losing weight and maintaining weight loss. But does it matter how often you weigh yourself?
Be Kind To Me, Scale
Weighing yourself at least once a week has been linked to more significant weight loss than stepping on the scale less frequently. Daily weight measurements appear to have the greatest weight loss advantage, but this habit does have drawbacks.
Checking weight frequently is thought to help you identify small weight changes quickly so you can take corrective actions early. However, watching the scale drift up and down from one morning to the next can be discouraging. Daily weight fluctuations can be due to water retention, what you recently ate, your hormones and other factors. That’s why some experts suggest that weighing in once a week is a more accurate reflection of your progress.
Use The Scale The Right Way
Whatever frequency you choose, keep these tips in mind when you step on the scale:
- Weigh yourself at the same time. This will give you the most accurate comparison day after day or week after week. Try to wear similar clothing at each weigh-in. Many people step on the scale in the morning. Remember, you want to compare apples to apples.
- Accept slowed weight loss rates over time. You may expect weight to drop quickly when you first start losing weight, but over time the changes on the scale won’t be quite as dramatic. Don’t get discouraged – instead use it as an indication that you’re making forward progress.
Hit That Plateau?
A team of registered dietitians can help you with nutrition counseling, custom menus and cooking demonstrations. Reach your goal with UVA Nutrition Counseling Center.
- Don’t panic with plateaus. It’s normal to hit a plateau every once in a while as your body adjusts to a new weight. Just keep doing the right things and the scale should start going down again soon.
- Pay attention to upward ticks. If the scale starts steadily creeping up, it’s a good idea to evaluate what you are doing. Be honest with yourself about any changes you are making to your eating or exercise habits.
- Don’t become addicted to the scale. Weighing yourself can be a great way to stay accountable, but for some people it can become an obsession. It’s better to base your concept of success on more than just numbers. Are you less winded? Are you sleeping better? Is your blood pressure or blood sugar levels dropping?
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Weight Scanner is a free high tech fingerprint scanner application for your device that attempts to determine how much you weigh based on your thumb print scan! You simply place your thumb on the fingerprint scan tray, wait for the scan to complete, and the app will give you your weight, measured in imperial units (pounds and ounces). It’s a great prank to show your friends and fool your neighbors!
Weight Scanner is meant to be used for entertainment purposes only. The accuracy of the fingerprint scan is not meant to be used in a professional environment. I am talking to medical professionals who might be inclined to use Weight Scanner in their office. It’s not a good idea. For the average Joe though, it is a great scale replacement that fits in your pocket!
Weight Scanner is a totally free app, but users may wish to purchase a premium upgrade license which removes all in-app advertising and supports further development. Generally, the premium license can be purchased from each individual app store, but if you buy the license directly from Ape Apps, you will recieve a physical license key file that allows you to unlock the premium ad-free experience on every supported platform. Find out more at the Weight Scanner purchase site here: Purchase Weight Scanner Rate Weight Scanner
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