You need a scale to track your weight-loss progress. You may be tempted to weigh in every day, and studies show that’s not a bad idea. Whatever you do, be consistent about it.
Stepping on the scale for your regular weigh-in can be nerve-racking, thrilling, or motivating, depending on the outcome. Hardly anyone feels neutral about the numbers on the scale. Yet keeping a balanced perspective about the role of your scale in weight loss is key to your ultimate success.
The Scale: A Successful Tool
Data suggest that people who weigh themselves regularly do better with their weight-loss plan. A national survey of 4,345 adults found that those who weighed themselves daily were more likely to be successful with their weight-loss programs than those who were inconsistent.
Opinions vary about how often should you weigh yourself. “I don’t recommend it more than once a week,” says Liz Weinandy, RD, MPH, a dietitian for the non-surgical weight loss program at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.
However, some people, especially those who are motivated by the results of their weigh-ins, can weigh in more often., “If you look at the scale and see you’ve gained weight and it motivates you to exercise a bit more, that’s fine,” she says.
The Scale: Be Consistent
Consistency is the rule of thumb for weighing in. Try to step on the scale:
The same day of the week
At the same time of day
Wearing about the same amount of clothing every time
“Many people prefer first thing in the morning, without any clothes,” W
Make sure to write down your results so you can track your progress. Use a chart that shows several weeks at a time. This will help you identify any weight cycles that you may have. For example, many women find their weight goes up slightly as they retain fluid when their period is approaching.
The Scale: Keep a Balanced View
While it is important to know how your weight loss is progressing, you should use this tool in moderation,
“Your scale can definitely be a source of undeserved disappointment or euphoria. If you are slightly dehydrated, for example, you will weigh less, but gain it back when you get hydrated again.”
One study examined the possible relationship between depression, being overweight, and an unhealthy concern with the bathroom scale — and found there wasn’t any. This study involving 4,660 dieting women showed that all women who weighed themselves regularly lost weight, regardless of whether they were depressed, and that depressed women were no more likely, or less likely, than their peers to use the scale.