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 is positively linked with losing weight and maintaining weight loss. But does it matter how often you weigh yourself?
Weighing yourself at least once a week has been linked to greater 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. But 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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? Are your blood pressure or blood sugar levels dropping?
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Date Last Reviewed: March 11, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD