Monday, June 15, 2015

How often should you weigh yourself?

How frequently to weigh yourself seems to be a topic of debate among individuals trying to lose weight and among professionals.  The frequency advised to weigh yourself ranges from "not at all" to "every day," depending on who you listen to.

Weekly Weighing

The advice to weigh weekly tends to be the most common.  Weight Watchers, for one, encourages people to only weigh themselves at weekly meetings/check-ins on their scale.  The theory being that you are seeing a week's worth of effort reflected and a bigger change than if you were weighing yourself daily.  For some, this proves to be less frustrating that weighing oneself daily and only seeing small changes.

Daily Weighing

The daily weight advice is controversial but also becoming more popular.  The theory behind daily weights is that it helps you to recognize how your weight might fluctuate day to day, based on the foods you eat, fluid retention and other factors.  This also helps some to "stay on task" with their goals.  If you overindulge one night, the scale will show it the next morning.  For some, this is a motivator to get right back on track again with their goals.  The controversy lies in the risk of becoming too obsessed with your weight and/or too frustrated at not seeing enough of a change in the right direction daily.  This approach is not recommended for those with a history of eating disorders or significant body image issues. 

No Weighing

The advice to stay off the scale is recommended as part of the "Intuitive Eating" approach, pioneered by book authors and Registered Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.  The theory behind not weighing yourself at all is to take the focus completely off the number on the scale and focus more on the act of  tuning in to your body's queues for what foods to eat and how much.  The theory is that eventually, your body will migrate to the healthy weight it is meant to be at and that the number doesn't really matter at all.

Bottom Line

Personally, I've tried all three approaches.  Although my goal is to maintain, not lose weight, what works best for me are daily weights.  They do help me keep focused and on track with (or quickly resume) my goals. I truly believe that this method has helped me to stay at my preferred weight.  Bottom line, despite the fact that I have chosen to weigh myself daily, I have no recommendation at all about frequency except to do what motivates you the most.  What motivates each of us is personal and individual.  If you're not sure, try each approach for a month and see how it works for you.  One piece of advice remains constant though; do choose the same scale to weigh yourself on and try to weigh yourself at the same time of day for consistency.