Do you have a love hate relationship with your scale? Does it feel like it has too much control over you? Or does it motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
One of the things we here at Bluebird have different views on is how often you should weigh yourself. However, one thing we do agree on is that it depends on your relationship with your scale. If weighing yourself evokes a roller coaster of emotions, then less often is better, perhaps once or twice a month or not at all if you are comfortable focusing on other non-scale victories such as clothes fitting better and having more energy.
If weighing yourself is a neutral, information-gathering event, and you can cope with the daily fluctuations, then research suggests that weighing yourself daily can help you lose weight and keep it off.
What Does the Research say?
In a randomized 6-month study in 2016 by the University of North Carolina, overweight participants who participated in a weight loss program and weighed themselves daily lost significantly more weight (13 lbs on average) than those in the program who weighed themselves less frequently.
In a different study, also by the University of North Carolina, overweight participants in a weight loss program were randomly assigned to either weigh themselves daily or not. The daily weighers had a higher percentage of people who lost 5% or more of their body weight (52%) at 3 months than those that weighed themselves less frequently (28%). The average weight loss was slightly higher in the group that weighed daily.
Several other studies showed similar results with participants losing more weight and having higher rates of success at keeping the weight off.
Why Does it Work?
Weighing in daily gives you timely feedback on your actions. If you are eating healthily and exercising and you see your weight drop it can reinforce and motivate you to keep up your healthy actions. If you eating in a less healthy way and gaining weight, it can give you information that may trigger you to change your actions.
If you do Want to Weigh Yourself Daily, Here are Some Tips
Record your weight daily and after you have a month of data, compare your daily results to the same date the previous month. This will help you keep track of the bigger picture, identify normal monthly fluctuations in your weight, and allow you to not get too hung up on whether a particular day is up or down versus the day earlier.
You should expect your body weight to fluctuate from day to day due to what your eating, water retention, bowel movements, and your monthly cycle. That’s why paying attention to the longer-term trend can be helpful.
Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink, wearing similar clothes. This will minimize weight fluctuations from food in your body or what you’re wearing.
Daily Weighing is not for Everyone
If you find that weighing yourself daily causes anxiety, low self esteem, or just doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, then don’t do it.
Don’t Just Focus on the Scale
The scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Whether or not you weigh yourself daily, you should also consider non-scale victories. Is your muscle tone improving? Are your clothes fitting better? Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy? How does your skin look? Is your stomach less bloated? Is your blood sugar more stable? Is your cholesterol lower? Do you have fewer cravings? Is your mood better? Is your digestion better?
Bottom Line: Frequent Weighing can Help with Weightloss
Weighing yourself frequently may give you the little extra motivation you need to stay the course with your healthy eating and exercise plans, but it isn’t for everyone, and it is only one data point to focus on in your wellness journey.
Do you weigh yourself daily? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.
Join us for Weightloss and Wellness coaching at www.bluebirdweightloss.com. Isn’t it time to look and feel your best?