Weighing yourself only every now and then can lead to unnecessary stress and self-hatred. You need to see your scale as a tool, or better, a compass that can help you get your bearings if you haven’t been paying attention to your weight or if you are on a diet. It lets you know the direction your weight loss effort is going. Getting on the scales too often may result in disappointment, stress, and anxiety, which only makes sticking to your diet more difficult. So, how often should you step on the scale then? First of all, here are the reasons why weighing yourself shouldn’t be an everyday thing.
It fluctuates all day long!
For those of you who weight yourselves multiple times a day, it can be nerve-wracking watching the scale bounce around. For those of us who have been on a scale more than once a day, we can promise you will likely see three to four pounds worth of fluctuation from morning to nighttime. Yes, it’s true – your weight goes up and down all through the day, and this rise and fall can be due to many reasons. First, your daily bowel movement is a factor, and that is whether you go once, twice, or three times a day. Second, your fluid intake is a temporary influencing factor. If you drink 64 ounces of water, two cups of coffee and an iced tea, the scale will reflect your consumption of fluids rather than weight gain. Third, your body may be retaining water due to too much salt consumption, ovulation, or menstruation.
These factors can determine what you weigh on the scale but really have nothing to do with the weight you are actually losing. If you weigh-in too often, disappointing results can make you feel like all your weight-loss efforts had been wasted.
Once a week should be good!
You may be wondering, if it is not advisable to weigh yourself every single day, how often should you measure your weight then? It is better to weigh yourself once in a week (at the same time, on the same scale, and on the same day). Put on similar clothing every time you step on the scale and write down the numbers in your diet journal. The reading on the scale will let you know whether you should make changes or stick with your present weight loss regimen.
Keep in mind that losing just a single pound is a step in the right direction. In addition to a weekly weigh-in, we also recommend you take a picture of yourself in the mirror and use the fit of your clothes and comparison of photos to judge yourself. In most cases, this is more helpful than even taking measurements (no wondering if you are holding the tape in the same place and at the same tension as last time) and let’s face it, in life we usually look to our reflection either in the mirror or in photos to gauge how we look and where we are with our weight and weight loss efforts.
Procrastination is bad!
While it is not advisable to weigh yourself every day, this does not mean you should wait until your annual doctor’s visit before measuring your weight. Your weight is used by your doctor as a predictive factor of your overall health. People that have a normal weight and body mass index have normal health risks associated. Those in the overweight BMI classification have moderate health risks associated and those that are overweight, have an associated higher risk status. You don’t want to wait for your annual physical to see where you stand.
So, we recommend you step on the scale every week, whether you feel like it or not. Your scale can let you know if there are any significant changes. And you will need to record it and discuss it with your health care provider or diet coach.
5 Tips for weighing yourself
- Tip 1: To make sure you get a correct reading when you are weighing yourself, place the scale on a solid surface, such as wood or tile (no carpet).
- Tip 2: As is usually the case, the more expensive the scales, the more accurate they are. So, purchase reliable and accurate scales to prevent bad results.
- Tip 3: Ideally, you will purchase a scale like the IdealSmart scale or another body composition analysis scale that will allow you to monitor your lean mass and fat mass in addition to weight itself. Weight loss alone does not mean that you are losing fat, which is the true goal of weight loss.
- Tip 4: As a reminder, make a habit out of the weekly weigh-in by referring to it as “Weigh-In Monday”. Take a picture when you weigh yourself and save it compare with your previous reading or better yet, compare the photo with your starting photo.
- Tip 5: If you are on a keto diet, like Ideal Protein, it is advisable to replace your daily habit of weighing yourself with ketosis readings. When on a ketogenic diet, it is more important to check your ketosis readings than your weight. If you are in ketosis and following the diet, you are losing weight.
So, back to the question – how often should you weigh yourself?
Once a week is enough. You should see weighing as a mission to collect data and guidance for your body. If you are ignoring this information altogether or weighing yourself too often, you may be misinformed about the effectiveness of your diet, the status of your health, and overall well-being (mental and physical). Remember, your weight on the scale doesn’t inherently make you good or bad, it’s a reflection of where you are today and should be used for information, not deprecation.
Need more tips on when and why you should weigh yourself? Schedule a complimentary consultation today to learn more.