How often have you asked yourself this question? You may have Googled the answer, but the answer really depends on your weightloss goals.
Whilst keeping regular track of your weight is recommended, weighing yourself too often, or not often enough, can have negative effects on your weightloss plan and motivation.
Knowing how much you weigh is generally recommended - whether you’re aiming to lose weight or not.
However, there are mixed opinions on how frequently you should weigh yourself. The answer ultimately depends on your weight loss or weight gain goal. As leading UK suppliers of professional gym and fitness scales, we’ve created this blog post to explore how often you should weigh yourself depending on your end-goal.
Should I Weigh Myself Every Day?
The topic of weighing yourself every day welcomes mixed opinions with a range of arguments for and against.
Weighing yourself every day can be motivational when you’re trying to lose weight. However, if you’re aiming to maintain your current weight, then we recommend weighing yourself less often.
Unless you are an athlete attempting to safely lose weight in a short space of time for a competition or event, you mustn’t concentrate too much on your daily weight reading. Being faced with a weight reading every day can sometimes have a negative effect, lowering both your self-esteem and motivation if you do not see a significant change. Instead, focus on your overall weight loss journey and aim to lose weight healthily and steadily rather than being concerned by any day to day fluctuations.
However, to avoid falling out of your weight loss routine, it does help to regularly weigh yourself and keep track of your weight readings. Some research suggests that weighing yourself every day when dieting does help with motivation and helps you to reach your weight loss goal.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine conducted a year-long trial with 1,000 adults with various weighing patterns.
Those that weighed themselves daily - or, on average, 6-7 times a week, lost 1.7% of their body weight. Those who never weighed themselves, or only checked their weight once a week, didn’t lose any weight during the trial.
In another study, 18-25s weighed themselves daily and compared weightloss to another group who weighed themselves less frequently. The result was better weightloss when weighed daily.
However, there is a theory that weighing daily can be approached wrong. Seeing your weight go up could lead to a drastic knee-jerk reaction, or cause you to lose motivation. “You can be obsessive about it,” says Amy Walters, a psychologist and director of behavioral services at St. Luke's Health System Humphreys Diabetes Center in Boise, Idaho in this heart.org blog post. "We want to focus on trends and not get hung up on today's number. Weighing daily may be distressing if you don't see the scale change."
However, by looking at the overall pattern of weightloss, rather than individual days, daily weighing can be very useful. “By being more aware of your weight, you can quickly react to lapses in your progress and make necessary adjustments to maintain your goal,” says healthline.com.
Be sure to weigh yourself at the same time each day, as your weight may fluctuate slightly through the day. The accuracy of your scales could also affect your weight readings. Thehealthy.com recommends that the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning to get your true weight.
If weight loss is your goal, and you don’t feel that weighing yourself daily and witnessing fluctuations in your weight readings will demotivate you, then weighing yourself daily might be the best decision for you. Weekly weighing means you’ll be able to respond to your progress and make any required changes to your diet and exercise routine to meet your ideal weight.
Should I Weigh Myself Once a Week?
You may prefer to weigh yourself once a week rather than daily, especially if your aim is to maintain weight. This can be an efficient way to keep track of your weight journey progress without being too focused on the daily weight readings.
Plus, if daily weighing is likely to cause stress and affect your behaviour - unhealthy eating (or lack of) for example - go for weekly weighing.
Many slimming clubs such as Weightwatchers and Slimming World recommend weighing yourself weekly, and host weekly weigh-in meetings for their members. The NHS also recommends weighing yourself once a week if you are working toward a target weight, as it allows you to recognise any changes in your weight and respond appropriately.
“Weighing weekly can have its advantages. It allows you to track progress while still having six whole days to not focus on your weight,” says myfitnesspal.com.
The best way to approach weekly weighing, as with daily weighing, is to pick a specific time of the day, on the same day of the week.
The Harvard Medical School suggests weekly weighing for some dieters. Daily weighing does not work for dieters, it says, because so much attention to detail could be misleading - or, as we’ve mentioned above, disheartening. Daily weighing, could, too, lead to unhealthy eating - or lack of eating - choices, whereas with weekly weighing you will see more of an averaged-out pattern.
The Harvard Medical School concludes by suggesting that weighing daily may be better if you need more frequent prompts to eat healthy and exercise. Otherwise, once a week is enough.
You Should Establish a Regular Weigh-In Routine
If you choose to weigh yourself daily, then be sure to establish a routine and weigh yourself at the same time each day as your weight can often fluctuate throughout the day. For a true weight reading, aim to weigh yourself in the morning.
If you choose to weigh yourself weekly, then you should also establish a routine and weigh yourself at the same time of the day, on the same day of the week.
Should I Weigh Myself at All?
Weight is not the only measure of health and you may not even find the need to weigh yourself at all. It’s important to note that muscle mass weighs more than body fat, and for some people who are working out and transforming their body, their overall weight may not be a factor.
Therefore, some argue that weighing should not form part of your routine at all. Instead, you may rely on visual indicators of weight loss such as how you look and how your clothes fit. Or, you may notice how you feel in terms of your energy and fitness levels.
Psychology Today suggests that weighing yourself at all can cause you to go into panic mode. Ultimately, weight is “not a good barometer of overall health.”
Mentally, you may feel better losing the burden that regularly weighing can be. By stopping the regular weighing, you may become happier.
As we’ve highlighted above, the results of several studies have shown that regular weighing results in more consistent weightloss results. But make sure that, whether you choose to weigh yourself or not, you are making a decision based on what makes you happy.
Body weight results have also been connected to mental health. If weighing yourself is affecting your mental health and you feel you may be struggling with an obsessive desire to weigh yourself, body dysmorphia or an eating disorder, then please contact your GP.
How Accurate Are My Scales?
How reliable your weighing scale is may play a big part in how successful your weightloss journey is.
A BBC One Show feature in 2016, which we discussed in this blog post, argued that the accuracy of scales is largely irrelevant, if you weigh yourself on the same scale every time.
But that theory is flawed, since it does not take into account being weighed by your GP, during a hospital visit, or by your slimming or weightloss group.
Scales used by medical professionals are Class III Approved - i.e medically approved - weighing scales, which will weigh with greater accuracy than standard bathroom scales. So whilst using the same weighing scale can in theory make no difference in terms of its accuracy - to avoid confusion you’d need to avoid (or ignore) what any other weighing scale tells you!
If you are serious about losing weight, and accurately tracking it, Marsden would always recommend using Class III Approved scales.
Weigh Yourself with Marsden Scales
At Marsden, we offer a range of accurate Gym and Fitness scales ideal for keeping track of your weight journey.
Our gym scales include the Marsden M-560 Premium Slimming Scale, which is used by more UK slimming groups than any other weighing scale. We also offer Body Composition Scales such as the Marsden MBF-6000 capable of providing a wide range of measurements including Body Fat Percentage, Muscle Mass (MM) and BMI.
For more information on any of our gym and fitness scales, call the Marsden team on 01709 364296 or email email@example.com.
Are you worried that you're skinny fat? Read our blog post to discover what skinny fat is and what you can do about it.
Building your weightloss plan of action? Read our ten weightloss myths.
Looking to lose weight, build muscle and overall body health? Consider a Body Composition Scale and read our guide to understanding your measurements.