Q: I’m trying to lose 25 pounds and am tempted to step on the scale every day (sometimes twice a day), but I’ve heard that everyday is too often. How often should I weigh myself?
A: We typically recommend that you start out by weighing in twice per week. This gives you a good picture of the trend in your weight (i.e. are you losing, gaining, or staying the same) — and allows you to identify and change an unwanted trend right away — but it isn’t as likely to reflect the day-to-day fluctuations caused by hormonal shifts or salty meals.
That said, when it comes to weigh-ins, what works for you may be a bit different than what works for someone else, and that’s perfectly okay. Some people like the sense of support and accountability they get from daily weigh-ins and this motivates them to reach (and maintain) their goals. In fact, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) followed 3,500 people who maintained a 60 pound (or more) loss for at least one year and found that 44% of them weighed in daily. On the other hand, your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, and from day to day, which can lead to unnecessary disappointment (and weaken motivation).
While the scale gives you one specific piece of information, we always recommend having another measure of success beyond the scale, such as waist-to-hip ratio or the way a piece of clothing fits, in addition to measures of health (blood pressure, cholesterol, stamina during exercise, etc.). It’s also possible to skip the scale altogether and focus on other measures to determine your weight loss goals. Again, try several methods of measuring your weight loss/health goals and stick with the one you find to be the most positive, motivating, and sustainable.
Do you weigh yourself? How often? Do you use other measures for weight loss/health beyond the scale?