How Often Should I Weigh Myself?

woman on scaleI have friends and clients often ask:”How often should I weigh myself?”

When it comes to how often you should step on the scale, there isn’t one answer. The frequency of weigh-ins depends on the level of emotionally attachment you have to the number of the scale, how badly you want or need to lose weight and your level of commitment to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.

Frequent weigh ins will help you peel off pounds and it will help you maintain a healthy weight, if you’ve recently lost weight. However, many women have sensitivities around body image and their weight and if so, these women do better weighing themselves less frequently.

For women who feel depressed, ashamed and an overall lack of self-worth if the scale doesn’t read what they want, a better bet can be measuring your health status with how your clothes fit and whether or not you fan fit into your “tight” pants.

If you really want to start dropping pounds, then I’d say weigh yourself at least twice a week. (Monday/Thursday or a Tues/Friday schedule work for many people.) But, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off, daily reads on the scale is one of the best ways to succeed.   Other studies also show that dieters and maintainers who weigh themselves the most are also the most successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

According to results from the National Weight Control Registry, the largest study of successful dieters, some 36% of dieters reported weighing themselves once a day.

The reason daily weigh-ins make sense is because you have the opportunity to reduce your intake as soon as you see the scale start to nudge upward rather than stepping on a scale a few times a year to see that you weigh 5 or 10 pounds more than you expected.

A recent survey of more than 9,000 dieters from Consumers Report asked dieters how often they weighed themselves. Here’s how often most people said they weighed themselves.

Once a Week:  35%

Every day:        31%

Somewhere in between:  24%

Less than once a week:  10%

If you weigh yourself with clothes on (not shoes), be sure to find out how much you can subtract for your clothing here.

Comments

  1. Daily reads on a scale? Wow. This is scary advice–especially for anyone struggling with body image or any level of disordered eating. It makes me wonder what we would find out if everyone who was asked this question was also assessed for an eating disorder. Many “successful” dieters live a life of restrained eating and a compromised relationship with food. In the same “registry” the average calorie intake of successful dieters is around 1200 calories. They basically diet all the time.

    I am concerned on several fronts. Fluid balance impacts weight and changes dramatically with exercise. Depleted glycogen stores impact weight, so does the loss of muscle mass (especially since a pound of muscle only yields 700 calories). All of these changes can happen in a few hours or may be noticed day to day. Fat loss (or gain) doesn’t happen so dramatically. For women, day to day measures don’t allow for any consideration of the natural rhythms of weight change throughout the month–especially during childbearing years.

    If one must weigh, a better measure is comparing weight and body composition is possibly week to week at most. For women who are menstruating, it is advisable to measure and compare at the same point and time of their monthly cycle. Throughout any effort to decrease body fat, it is critical to assess how you feel and your overall metabolic health. When you consider the big picture, fitness trumps weight every day. Weight is a poor surrogate measure of health.

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