Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Healthy Habits: To Weigh Or Not To Weigh?

To weigh or not to weigh yourself everyday while working on a weight loss plan is an oft debated question.

Some say you should weigh no more than once a week. The school of thought is that you will get freaked out by the numbers. You may develop anxiety as your weight fluctuates each day due to water retention, exercise, etc. If you don't lose anything for several days depression can set in. Others say that when you weigh yourself every day you will become obsessed with the numbers and develop eating disorders. Also, it's hard to see progress on a daily basis. A weight loss of about two pounds a week is considered healthy but unless you have a scale that shows your weight in tenths of a pound, you won't see that progress showing up on a daily basis.

The flip side of the coin is that weighing every day helps keep you accountable to your food and exercise choices; it's a daily reminder to stay on your eating plan and remain committed to better health. Some feel daily weighing makes you more accountable to yourself and can show where you need minor adjustments. Some find it motivating to see the scale down a half of a pound, or when it stays the same three days in a row and then drops two pounds.

Personally, I weigh every day or two. I know when I have slacked on my exercise or eaten too many calories. At this point I can predict pretty accurately whether I will be up a pound or down a pound before I even step on the scale. But seeing it on the scale does keep me accountable to myself and it is easier to 'catch it' before a couple extra pounds become five or ten pounds.

Whether you prefer to weigh every day or once week, it is important that you understand and recognize things that can affect your weight by a few pounds on any given day, such as eating out (high sodium), not drinking enough water, not getting enough sleep, no exercise, or eating late at night. Whenever you weigh, be sure to do it the same time of day, in the same clothes (or no clothes). Weight will fluctuate during the day as we eat, sweat, etc, so if you get on the scale in the morning one day and then in the afternoon the next day, you may see a "false" weight gain.

Only you can decide what will work best for you. If you need a regular reminder of the goals you are striving for, you may want to weigh yourself daily.If you think you will get frustrated and give up if you see a day where your weight does not go down or where it temporarily rises, you should probably weigh yourself once a week, twice at the most.

No matter how frequently you choose to weigh, I recommend that you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after using the bathroom, before eating or drinking anything.

What works for you? How often do you weigh yourself and why? Weigh in with your opinion!


  1. Good points. I also weight myself in the mornings, right after waking up and before breakfast - generally after I'm dressed for work. But I wear the same basic thing every day.

    Best advice I give anyone, do what works best for you. If a daily reminder does not discourage you and keeps you focused, then do it. Otherwise you may want to do so only once a week.

  2. Good point Jeff. As long as you wear the same amount of clothing each time you weigh, you will see accurate progress. I know you are headed in the right direction in your own program...keep up the good work! You inspire me!


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