Stepping on the scale is not always easy, but weighing yourself is a necessity to track your weight loss progress. How often should you weigh yourself? It’s a common question, and one that can vary from person to person.
A study published in PLOS One found those who weigh themselves daily lose the most weight. The research was based on 2,838 weight observations from 40 individuals. Going longer than one week or one month without stepping on the scale was associated with weight gain, while the average time between checks without gaining weight was 5.8 days. During the maintenance phase of weight loss, researchers recommend weighing in weekly.
Although this study was smaller, other larger studies back up regular weigh-ins. Another study published in the journal Obesity, based on about 3,000 individuals who had lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for one year, found regular weigh-ins were associated with lower BMI and better cognitive restraint. Researchers believe monitoring weight regularly allows individuals to catch weight gain early and make behavioral changes sooner to prevent the scale from continuing to escalate.
Stepping on the scale is a part of losing weight. Don’t dread it or be scared of it; embrace it as something that will get you where you want to be. Your weight tells you if your plan is working. If the number on the scale is going down, great, keep up the good work. If the number on the scale is going up, step back and evaluate where you can make improvements.
However, particularly if you weigh yourself daily, keep in mind that weight can fluctuate throughout the day and week. A small weight gain isn’t necessarily a cause of alarm. For the most consistent measurement, weigh yourself at the same time of day, and keep in mind that the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Your body composition, which measures how much lean muscle and fat your body weight is composed of, gives you the most accurate indication of your weight loss progress.
If the thought of stepping on the scale every day gives you too much anxiety, it may not be the best plan for you. A weight loss plan isn’t set in stone. It can be adjusted at any time. If you’re seeing results by weighing yourself on a weekly basis, there is no need to change it. The most important thing is that you’re losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle.