Weighing yourself is one way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. But, how often should you weigh yourself? We share what we feel is the best weigh-in cadence.
If you’re trying to lose weight, weighing yourself on a scale is one way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. You probably stepped on the scale to mark the starting point of your weight loss journey.
So, how often should you weigh yourself?
Expert opinions vary.
A study presented by the American Heart Association News found that daily weigh-ins help with accountability. At the same time, Healthline recommends weekly weigh-ins as long as it doesn’t trigger anxiety or disordered eating.
Insider.com advises you to ditch the scale altogether because they claim it’s unfair to base your success on one number that fluctuates.
Weigh-in frequency is a question we’re often asked about here at Profile. Based on our research and experience, we feel the best weigh-in cadence is once a week.
Why we recommend weighing yourself once a week
- The number on the scale isn’t always an accurate indicator of your progress. Weight fluctuations depend on the time of day, fluid intake, what you ate the night before, your activity level, and hormones.
- A couple of pounds difference from one day to the next is not a result of weight gain but of your body doing exactly what it is supposed to do to regulate its physiological functions.
- Muscle mass weighs more than body fat. If you’re exercising or bodyweight training, you could be toning muscle. What does this mean? You’re healthier and in better shape, even if the number on the scale hasn’t budged much!
- Fluctuating numbers from daily weigh-ins may cause stress and anxiety. Doing so could lead to feelings of frustration, self-sabotage, or a negative relationship with the scale. We feel a week between weigh-ins gives your body time to level out and is a more accurate picture of your progress.
Things that can affect the number on the scale
Certain factors can impact the number on the scale – whether it’s a weight loss or fluctuation. Remember that these changes are normal. The weight of an average adult can fluctuate up to 5 or 6 pounds per day. It always comes down to your lifestyle and habits.
Water retention is a major factor in weight gain or loss. This retention occurs if:
- You eat high-sodium food a few hours or night before you step on the weighing device
- You drank alcohol or caffeine-based beverages
- You traveled
- You’re on your menstrual cycle or experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Other factors that may temporarily affect your weight include:
- High-carb diet
- Weekend binge-eating
- Any underlying health issues
Tips to achieve weight loss goals
No matter what frequency you decide to weigh yourself, we recommend the following tips to help you succeed and feel good about your progress:
Weigh yourself at the same time each day. We suggest first thing in the morning after you go to the bathroom and before you eat breakfast.
2.Clothing (or not)
Step on the scale wearing the same thing each time, even if it’s your birthday suit. If you checked your weight naked a week ago, do it also next week.
3.Use a quality scale
If possible, consider using a scale with Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) that measures weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, muscle percentage, bone percentage, and hydration percentage. This gives you a more accurate picture of what’s going on inside your body.
4.Use a tracker
Whether it’s an app or a paper calendar, document your progress as you go through the weight loss process.
5.Focus on non-scale victories
Don’t forget. There is more to your weight loss journey than a number on the scale. The scale is just one of many tools in your arsenal. Non-scale victories—as we like to call them—count, too.
Here are some examples of non-scale victories:
- Mood improvements – You feel less stressed, more patient, and have fewer mood swings.
- Changes in food and beverage behavior – You understand what food products are nutritious and make you feel confident. You have more cooking skills, your family is eating healthier, and you crave nutrient-dense foods like veggies and lean meat.
- Energy and zest – You have more energy for the people that matter most and need less caffeine to get you through the day
- Change in activity – You’ve found an activity you enjoy, and exercise doesn’t feel like work.
- Physical health – Your clothes fit better, your shoe size or ring size is smaller, and you can sit comfortably in one airplane seat or on amusement park rides.
- Sleep – You’re falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up feeling ready to face the day.
- Mental focus and clarity – You’re more productive, remember things better, and have improved attention span and job performance.
Why you shouldn’t check your weight too often
Is it bad to weigh yourself every day?
The answer depends on how you feel whenever you do it. Some people gain more benefits with daily weigh-ins. It helps them monitor their progress and detect any health issues whenever there is a sudden weight gain or loss.
Stepping on the scale regularly can motivate you to achieve your weight and health goals. However, for some, doing it too often may do more harm than good.
People who weigh themselves too frequently are more likely to have unhealthy behavior change and expose themselves to disordered eating issues like:
- Low self-esteem
- Fad dieting
- Mental health issues including anxiety, depression, or both
If you have a history of these conditions, it’s best to consult your health care provider first before you start to gain or lose weight.
If the numbers on the scale are too stressful for you and you can’t help but check them more often, consider seeing a mental health professional and talk to them about your weight and health dilemmas.
Remember that these numbers don’t define who you are. Don’t put your mental health in jeopardy to achieve your weight goal. After all, a healthy mind leads to a healthier you.
If you keep having negative reactions about yourself or your body every time you step on the scale, it may be a tell-tale sign for you to avoid it. There are other ways to keep track of your weight-loss efforts.
Ask your weight loss coach or your health care provider how you can keep track of your progress. Your options may include focusing on healthy nutrition, using a food journal, starting a workout log, conducting regular self-check-ins, and scheduling self-appreciation time.
You can still check your weight on the scale but not as frequently as you used to. Weigh yourself only if it’s part of your recommended weight-loss routine.
Weighing yourself is a personal choice
When deciding how often to weigh yourself, do what feels right for you. If you need the accountability of the daily weigh-ins, then do it.
If once a week encourages you, do that. Or, if you prefer to track your weight training progress by how you feel and how your clothes fit, then, by all means, take that approach instead.
Everyone is different, and what matters most is that you’re meeting your goals in a way that works for you.
Want to learn more tips that can help you live a happier and healthier life? Profile by Sanford can help! Our science-based weight-loss program focuses on losing weight in a healthy way.
Profile’s delicious and flexible meal plans, motivational tracking tools, and compassionate, one-on-one coaching give you the encouragement, support, and accountability you need to meet your goals.