How often should I weigh myself?
This entry was posted on 22/01/2020.
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. Based on opinions from bloggers, weightloss experts and slimming groups, we’ve compiled this guide to how often you should weigh yourself.
Should you weigh yourself every day?
Weighing yourself as regularly as every single day could be extremely beneficial, or it can have entirely the wrong effect. As the myfitnesspal.com blog puts it, daily regular weighing could ‘help you or harm you.’
Weighing yourself every day may only be essential if you are planning to lose weight quickly. If you are losing weight steadily, over a longer period of time, you may see little change day to day. Especially if your weightloss goals are not that strict. ‘If you’re able to look at the overall trend and not stress about the fluctuations, then by all means, weigh yourself daily,’ continues the myfitnesspal.com blog.
‘If you’re trying to lose weight, it can be helpful to weigh yourself - and to do so regularly,’ recommends Carole Anderson Lucia on the Jenny Craig Healthy Habits blog. The blog post highlights that keeping daily track of your weight can help motivate you. But, by slipping out of a daily weigh-in routine, you could potentially gain weight.
By way of evidencing the benefits of daily weighing, 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. Bodybuilding.com’s blog also suggests that daily weighing leads to better weightloss results.
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.
Summary: if you are serious about losing weight, and seeing fluctuations does not de-motivate you, weigh daily.
Should you weigh yourself every week?
If daily weighing is likely to cause stress and affect your behaviour - unhealthy eating (or lack of) for example, go for weekly weighing.
Weightwatchers recommends that you weigh yourself once a week, according to an article in the Guardian newspaper. Indeed, both Slimming World and Weightwatchers have weekly weigh-ins organised by their representatives.
The NHS also suggests weekly weighing coupled with a controlled, planned diet.
“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.
Healthline.com provides a guide to weekly weighing, which highlights the importance of weighing on the same day, at the same time, every week - but stop if it triggers anxiety or disorder eating.
WendyB on this Fitbit Forum weighs herself weekly. “I myself think I get a picture,” she says. “The experience would be less frustrating to do it weekly,” suggests fellow user tractorlegs.
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.
Summary: If you would prefer to see an overall average pattern rather than the detail then weigh yourself weekly. Especially if you are aiming to maintain weight.
Should I weigh myself at all?
Some argue that weighing should not form part of your routine at all. Rather, measurement of weightloss should be determined by how you feel and the fit of the clothes you wear.
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.
Summary: If happiness is your goal, rather than specifically losing weight, don’t weigh yourself and see how you go.
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.
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