Why You Should Weigh Yourself Daily
In the past, we would often hear claims that "you should only weigh yourself once a week". Sure, there's some logic in this. Many people have a difficult relationship with the scale. They allow a number to dictate their self-esteem, or how confident they feel in their own skin. To them, the idea of getting on the scale more frequently than that may feel compulsive, excessive or even disordered. So, let's unpack the rationale behind why we actually encourage you to monitor that number on the scale every day.
First and foremost, the number on the scale is merely a data point. It simply represents your body's relationship to gravity. It is by no means the sole indicator of your health or attractiveness. It is, however, one of many indicators that are affected by how well or how poorly you take care of your body. By looking at the overall trend of your weight and other metrics, you can see how your body responds to a diet of whole, healthy food. That said, it is certainly not the only metric we look at to determine success. Energy levels, mood, sleep, inches lost and changes in BMI/body fat percentage are just a few of the other factors we take into consideration when assessing a client’s progress.
Here are 6 reasons why we encourage stepping on the scale daily, especially when weight-loss is the goal.
1) Studies show it contributes to greater weight loss, less weight re-gain and more moderate food consumption.
People who weighed themselves every day ate 347 fewer calories per day than those who weighed less often.
In one particular study of overweight individuals, after six months, the group that weighed themselves daily ended up losing TEN TIMES more weight than the group that did not.
2) It allows you to correct unhealthy behavior quickly.
Maybe you've been indulging in late night pizza a little too often lately and your body is starting to respond by storing it. By weighing yourself daily, you can take control of a little problem before it becomes a big problem and adjust accordingly. It's a lot easier to lose two pounds than it is to lose twenty.
3) It helps you understand how different foods affect your water weight and digestion.
Some people bloat terribly from legumes- a few garbanzo beans on a salad and the next day the scale ticks up and their stomach looks like they swallowed a melon. Does this mean they should never have another chickpea? Absolutely not! But knowing how certain foods affect you allows you to consume them when the extra bloat won't be as bothersome. It also helps you understand the “how’s” and “why’s” behind the number.
4) Weighing daily paints a more accurate picture by giving you multiple data points.
If you only weigh yourself once a week and you happen to step on the scale on an “off” day, you may get the false idea that you aren't making progress. We recommend weighing daily and tracking your weight in apps like Happy Scale. Happy Scale smoothes your weight trends over time and gives you a more accurate overall picture of your projected weight loss/gain based on your current habits.
5) Smart scales now help you see a much more than a number.
Often as you improve your health your weight may not change dramatically, but your overall body composition does. Bluetooth smart scales like RenPho help you see your progress on a much more granular level by tracking muscle mass, fat, water, visceral fat and more.
6) Contrary to popular belief, studies show it does not cause disordered eating or poor self-esteem.
Many people assume that weighing daily causes compulsive behavior or can negatively impact your body image. While this may be the case for a small percentage of people, studies have repeatedly shown that it is typically not the case. Frequent self-weighing has either no impact or a positive impact on self esteem. That said, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a few days off if you find yourself allowing the scale to affect your mood too greatly- do what feels right to you.
So knowing all this- when is the best time to weigh yourself?
- We always recommend weighing yourself first thing in the morning, before consuming any food or drink, and after using the restroom. You should weigh naked, with the scale on a level surface.
- Make certain your scale is properly calibrated. For digital scales you can typically calibrate it by stepping on then quickly off and waiting for it to return to zero or the word CAL.
- Be aware that the scale will fluctuate! You will do everything "perfectly" some days- eating well, exercising and drinking water- and still see a random bump up here and there. Your menstrual cycle, digestion and water retention will all cause your weight to tick up and down. By weighing daily you'll desensitize yourself to these little fluctuations and learn to focus on the overall trend.
When making dietary changes, other than weight, what else should you look at as an indicator of your progress?
- Inches lost- measuring your waist, thighs, hips and chest and monitoring any change will show where you're losing fat and gaining muscle.
- How your favorite jeans fit- jeans are unforgiving! Sweatpants and joggers can trick you into believing that all is well in the kingdom, but as soon as you put on those skinny jeans, the truth is revealed.
- Energy levels- eating whole, real foods should improve your overall energy and help mitigate those afternoon slumps. Are you waking up refreshed? Do you feel like your energy is more stable? Do you no longer crave that second (or third) cup o’joe?
- How does your skin look? When you're hydrated and nourished from the inside out you should have a glow.
- Photographs- Take “before and after’s”! These progress photos tell a much more accurate story than the scale ever will. Stronger legs, a tighter core- that may not show up in a number, but a picture is worth a thousand words!
The bottom line is, weighting yourself daily is associated with improved success in weight loss, more moderate food consumption and does NOT negatively impact self esteem for most individuals. This morning ritual is an easy way to track your progress and quickly adjust your program as needed to meet your goals!
*Note: we are not medical professionals, nor should this be regarded as medical advice. We do endorse or reject any one particular dietary theory or method; rather, we simply believe in the power of eating whole, real foods as nature intended. Please consult with your physician before embarking on any new diet or supplement regime.
In good health,
Megan + Robyn