To Weigh or Not To Weigh

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • When you're trying to lose weight, it's hard to know how often to step on the scale - once a day?  A week?  A month?  The recommendations for weighing yourself when trying to lose weight are varied. Depending on whom you talk to or what you read, you will hear anything from weigh yourself daily to throw out your scale entirely.


    Your best strategy for watching the scale depends on you and your weight-loss style. Weighing yourself can be equally a help or hindrance. Studies have shown that frequent weighing can lead to an unhealthy obsession with weight, particularly in teen girls. But for adults, it can be an important tool for weight loss and weight maintenance.

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    Some people find that weighing themselves daily is a helpful way to keep them on track, while others find the daily fluctuations to be discouraging. It’s important for you to determine which category you fall into and adjust your weighing in schedule to best meet your needs.


    Whether you chose to step on the scale daily, weekly or monthly, the important thing to remember is that number is not the only measure for your weight loss success. Weight can fluctuate daily due to many factors including:

    ·          Water retention

    ·          Food that you’ve eaten

    ·          Clothing

    ·          Muscle mass

    ·          Hormones (for women)


    If you are strength training, you may see more of a difference in the way your clothes fit than the number on the scale because muscle weighs more than fat. In fact, how your clothes fit your body is a great indicator of your progress. Weight loss can be reflected through inches lost as well as pounds. You might also consider measuring your body with a tape measure to help monitor the number of inches you are losing. Ask a family member or friend to help you measure your waist, hips, thighs and upper arms and track these numbers so you can see your success.


    If you do weigh yourself daily, remember that you will not see the numbers go down every time you step on the scale. In fact, you may see your weight go up and down by several pounds so do not panic. Your goal is to see a general downward trend of one to two pounds per week.


    Finally, keep your decision about how often to step on the scale flexible. If you find that waiting a week between weigh-ins has become an excuse to overeat early in the week than consider weighing in once or twice a week. If you are weighing yourself daily and find that you are discouraged by the fluctuation, than weigh yourself less often. The goal is to do whatever is most likely to guarantee your weight loss success.

Published On: May 24, 2007