Why You Should Weigh Yourself Daily

Back in the day you'd often hear "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 some, daily weighing seems compulsive or excessive. Some clients are very apprehensive when we say we ask that they send us their weight daily.  So let's unpack the logic behind why we encourage frequent self weighing.

First off, the number on the scale is merely a data point.  It is a number that represents your body's relationship to gravity.  It is not 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.  It is certainly not the only metric we look at to determine success. Energy, mood, sleep, and how inches lost are all other metrics we ask clients to think about as they assess their progress. 

Here's why we have our clients weigh daily:

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 daily you can notice 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 20.

3) It helps you understand how different foods affect your water weight and digestion

Some people bloat terribly from legumes- they have a few chickpeas on a salad and the next day the scale shoots up and their stomach looks puffy.  Does this mean you should never have chickpeas?  Absolutely not! But knowing how they affect you enables you to consume them when the extra bloat won't bother you. It also helps you understand when a number isn't "real" because you indulged in a bloating food.

4) Weighing daily paints a more accurate picture by giving you multiple data points.

If you only weigh weekly and you happen to weigh on a bloated day you could get the false idea that you aren't making progress. We rely on clients weighing daily and tracking their weight in apps like Happy Scale.  Happy Scale smoothes your weight trends over time and give you a more accurate picture of health and your projected weight loss or gain based off 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 decrease, but your overall body composition may improve.  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, we certainly have had clients take days off when they were allowing the scale to affect their mood too greatly- do what feels right to you.

 

So knowing all this- when is the best time to weigh yourself?

We have our clients always weigh 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 weight will cause your weight to fluctuate. By weighing daily you'll desensitize yourself to these little bumps up and down.

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 can show you where you're losing fat and gaining muscle
  • How your favorite jeans fit- jeans are unforgiving! Sweatpants and joggers can have you thinking all is well in the kingdom, but the second you put on jeans you know the truth. 
  • Energy levels- eating real, whole 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?
  • How does your skin look?  When you're hydrated and nourished from the inside out you should have a glow.
  • Photographs- We love when clients take progress pictures because they tell a much stronger story than the scale ever can.  Stronger legs, a tighter core- that may not show up in a number, but you sure can see it!

 

BOTTOM LINE:

Weighing daily is associated with improved success in weight loss, more moderate food consumption and does not negatively impact self esteem.  This morning ritual is an easy way to track your progress and quickly adjust your program as needed to meet your goals!