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Why You May Want to Weigh Yourself Every Day

At any given moment, an estimated 24% of men and 38% of women
in the US are trying to
lose weight
(1).

Meanwhile, obesity
has skyrocketed and working-age adults are gaining about 2.2
pounds (1 kg) annually, on average (2, 3).

Recent studies have shown that daily self-weighing may be a
powerful tool for both losing and maintaining weight.

However, many people believe that weighing yourself daily
contributes to bad mental health and disordered eating habits.

So what should you believe? This article sets the record
straight on whether you should start weighing yourself daily.

Fit Woman Holding Scales

Weighing Yourself Daily Helps You Lose More Weight

The simple act of self-weighing has received lots of attention
and stirred up controversy for years.

Some people have even thrown away their scale, claiming that
it’s a highly misleading weight loss tool that results in bad
self-esteem and disordered eating habits (4, 5).

However, recent studies generally agree that daily weighing is
associated with greater weight loss and less weight regain than
less-frequent self-weighing (6, 7, 8, 9).

One study showed that participants who weighed themselves daily
for six months lost 13 more pounds (6 kg), on average, than
those who weighed themselves less frequently (10).

What’s more, those who weigh themselves daily tend to adopt
more favorable weight control behaviors, exercise better
restraint toward food and eat impulsively less often (10, 11).

Interestingly, adopting healthy weight-related behaviors has
been shown to be especially important when people emerge from
adolescence into adulthood (12).

One study in participants aged 18–25 showed that daily
self-weighing resulted in better weight loss than less-frequent
weighing (13).

The researchers concluded that daily self-weighing is a
particularly valuable self-regulation tool for this age group.

Furthermore, another study showed that people who weighed
themselves every day ate 347 fewer calories
per day
than those who did not.

After six months, the group that weighed themselves daily ended
up losing a whopping 10 times more weight than the control
group (14).

Bottom Line: Daily self-weighing may cause
people to lose more weight and gain less of it back, compared
to less-frequent weighing.

Daily Weighing May Motivate You and Improve Self-Control

Tomato, Broccoli, a Bell Pepper and a Tape Measure on Bathroom Scales

Being aware of your weight is a key factor in successful weight
loss.

Awareness of your weight trend — that is, whether your weight
is going up or down — is also important.

In fact, weighing yourself more often is linked to weight
control, while weighing yourself less often has been associated
with weight
gain
.

One study found that participants who weighed themselves less
often were more likely to report increased calorie intake and
decreased restraint toward food (15).

Self-weighing promotes self-regulation and awareness of your
weight trend and weight-related behaviors. That’s why it
generally results in greater weight loss (14).

Although the exact number on the scale may be unimportant,
monitoring weight loss progress motivates you to keep going and
generally improves weight-related behavior and self-control.

Also, by being more aware of your weight, you can quickly react
to lapses in your progress and make necessary adjustments to
maintain your goal.

Since most people are able to sustain a habit of daily
self-weighing, the adherence and acceptability of it is
generally quite high (16, 17, 18, 19, 20).

It’s a minor addition to your daily routine that may help you
reap major benefits for your weight.

Bottom Line: Daily self-weighing helps you
maintain awareness of your weight. Monitoring weight loss
progress further motivates you to keep going and improves
your self-control.

Daily Weighing Helps You Keep the Weight Off

Frequent self-weighing has been shown to be a great way to
prevent weight gain in the long-term (15, 21, 22, 23).

One study investigated how much self-weighing frequency
predicted weight change over two years in working adults
(24).

It found that there was a significant link between
self-weighing frequency and weight change. In normal-weight
individuals, daily weighing resulted in a slight weight loss,
while those who weighed themselves monthly gained 4.4 pounds (2
kg), on average.

However, the largest difference was in overweight individuals.

Those who weighed themselves daily lost 10 pounds (4.4 kg),
while those who weighed themselves monthly gained 2.2 pounds (1
kg), on average (24).

Another study came to a similar conclusion, showing that
self-weighing was a significant predictor of body weight over
time. Participants lost an extra pound (0.45 kg) of body weight
for every 11 days they self-weighed (25).

The main reason why this is so effective is that consistent
self-weighing allows you to catch weight gain before it
escalates and make the necessary changes to prevent more weight
gain (15).

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Bottom Line: Daily weighing may help prevent
long-term weight gain, especially in overweight people.

Weighing Yourself Daily Is Not as Bad as People Think

Woman Weighing Herself on Bathroom Scales

Not so long ago, frequent self-weighing was thought to be
damaging to your mental health. This notion still exists today.

Self-weighing is claimed to have negative effects on your mood
by continuously reinforcing that your body size is not ideal or
appropriate, resulting in an increased risk of developing an
eating disorder (4, 5).

Although this may be true in a small group of people, most
studies have repeatedly come to a different conclusion
(9, 26, 27).

The available research suggests there is very little evidence
that frequent self-weighing is a cause of negative mood or body
dissatisfaction, especially as part of a weight loss program
(8, 12, 14, 26, 28, 29).

In fact, studies indicate that frequent self-weighing may
increase body satisfaction, rather than decrease it (9).

That said, there is a group of people who may develop a
negative body image, low self-esteem or undesirable eating
behaviors as a result of daily self-weighing (30).

If you find that daily self-weighing causes you to have bad
feelings about yourself or your eating behaviors, you should
find other methods to measure your progress.

Bottom Line: Most studies do not link
frequent self-weighing to negative mood or body
dissatisfaction. Some even associate them with higher body
satisfaction.

How to Weigh Yourself for Best Results

Weight Scale

The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up,
after going to the bathroom and before you eat or drink.

Your weight tends to fluctuate less in the morning than later
in the day when you’ve had plenty to eat and drink. That is
also why people weigh the least in the morning.

Also, it is best if you always weigh yourself in similar
clothing each day.

However, you need to keep in mind that your weight may
fluctuate from day to day and can be affected by many factors,
including:

  • What you ate or drank the previous day

  • Bloating
    or water retention
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Whether you’ve had bowel movements recently

Therefore, it is important to assess the trend of your
weight over a longer period of time, instead of drawing
conclusions from each and every weighing.

A basic scale will do just fine. However, many scales also have
the ability to measure your body mass index (BMI), body fat
percentage and muscle mass, which may help you get a better
picture of your progress.

There are also several apps available for your phone or
computer that allow you to easily enter your daily weight and
see the trend of your weight change. Happy Scale for
iPhone and Libra for Android are two such apps.

Bottom Line: It is best to weigh yourself
right after you wake up, after going to the bathroom and
before you eat or drink anything.

Other Ways to Track Your Progress

Tape Measure

Although self-weighing may be a valuable tool, it has some
limitations.

If you’re exercising and gaining muscle, the scale may not show
your progress and instead simply show that you have gained
weight.

While losing weight can indicate progress, a scale does not
differentiate between healthy weight (muscle) and unhealthy
weight (fat).

Therefore, it may be good to add other ways of tracking your
progress to your regimen. Here are some examples:

  • Measure circumference: Muscle has much less
    volume than fat, so your circumference may be decreasing even
    if your weight stays the same or goes up.
  • Measure body fat percentage: By measuring
    your body fat percentage, you can observe changes in fat
    mass, regardless of your weight.
  • Take pictures of yourself regularly: You can
    observe any changes in your physique by comparing photos of
    yourself in similar clothing.
  • Note how your clothes feel: Any changes in
    your weight will probably affect how your clothes fit.
    Feeling them become looser or tighter is one of the best
    indicators of changes in your body.

Bottom Line: Other ways to track your
progress include measuring your circumference, measuring your
body fat percentage and taking pictures of yourself.

Take Home Message

Weighing yourself every day can help increase your awareness of
your weight and weight-related behaviors.

It may help you lose more weight and prevent you from gaining
that weight back in the long-term.

Daily self-weighing may just be that extra motivation you need
to achieve your weight goals.

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