Ah, this is often a “controversial topic” among women, isn’t it? Research is fairly clear on this issue though – weighing yourself regularly gives you clear objective feedback that you can then use to modify your diet and exercise routines to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Over the years, there’s been some controversy over whether it’s a good idea to weigh yourself daily. Some women think it leads them to overly critical thinking about their bodies or even worse, actual eating disorders.
However, recently, there have been multiple academic research studies which indicate that it would actually be helpful to track your progress every day. Academic studies that have been reviewed by sources such as Harvard, the American Heart Association, and Healthline suggest that getting on the scale every day can help you lose weight.
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing found that those who weigh themselves daily have increased weight loss (and no increases in depression, binge eating or other signs of disordered eating).
As reported by USA Today,
“The old conventional wisdom was “Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week, it will drive you crazy. But now we are seeing more and more research showing that the optimal frequency for weighing oneself is likely every day.”Dori Steinberg, obesity prevention and treatment researcher at the Duke Global Health
I’m not a doctor of course but my personal experience is that the scale is just a feedback mechanism. Weight is an objective measure and it provides feedback. If you’ve ever used SMART goals you know the the “M” refers to “measurable” and that is exactly what the scale does – provide objective feedback. And if weighing yourself daily does not work out well for you personally, you can always weigh yourself weekly instead.
“Stepping on the scales should be like brushing your teeth.”
David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University. (source: USA Today)
Here are a few of the main reasons why weighing yourself daily (or at least weekly) is a positive habit to incorporate into your routines. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may want to start recording your weight daily – or at least weekly.
Weighing Yourself Daily will help you See Patterns
Weighing yourself daily lets you see patterns in your weight. The numbers on the scale will go up and down and fluctuate over time, as that is a normal process. If are using fitness or other tracking apps, daily (or weekly) tracking will help you to see the connections between things like:
- Food intake – total calories, amount of carbs/fats/protein
- Sleep – amount of sleep you’re getting every night
- Exercise – amount of daily/weekly exercise
And knowing actual objective numbers or metrics here will help you see things objectively and be very precise.
For example, you might see that your weight goes up on weekends after drinking. Or you may be able to spot a trend that you are gaining weight over the course of a month or longer. Those objective patterns and trends can help you re-assess the path you are on and make changes.
When you become aware of your daily weight fluctuations, you will be able to practice making adjustments to your diet and exercise as needed. And that will help you get in the habit of making proactive tweaks and gain more control over your weight.
If you are on a good diet and exercise plan that is realistic, there’s nothing more motivating than losing weight and making progress toward a weight loss goal. Losing weight usually increases our confidence and motivation and gives us a sense of staying on track toward our goal.
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And if your weight is going in the opposite direction from where you want it to go, that is also objective feedback. Instead of feeling down, or being discouraged, you can take that as feedback and make changes. For example, it may be time to adjust what you are eating or your daily movement (Are you getting 10,000 steps daily?) or your weekly exercise routine, or even your sleep habits.
Use this information as feedback to empower you toward the positive changes you want to achieve!
Make your Attitude More Accepting About Weight Fluctuations
Seeing the numbers on the scale fluctuate regularly can actually help lead to a healthier attitude about your weight fluctuations!
If you always get bloated and gain weight before your period, for example, you’ll have more specific information about your typical monthly weight gain and it will help you objective realize that weight often changes, depending on various factors.
It might sound paradoxical, but when you accept the weight fluctuates and you build the habit of weighing yourself daily, the number can become less of a focus and less negative self talk. Instead it will give you more control and awareness and a general idea of how you are doing day to day. And it feels good to be aware of this and to know you can change your habits and take action when you decide too.
Weighing Yourself Daily leads to Increased Weight Loss
Recent studies cited above indicate that if you weigh yourself daily you are more likely to keep the weight off. Remember the scale is just a feedback mechanism and it can help you adjust your course and change your diet and exercise habits to change where you are headed.
daily weigh-ins actually lead to increased overall weight loss and greater chances of keeping the weight off. It’s thought that this practice allows individuals to show better restraint toward food choices, exhibit less impulsive eating, and engage in more proactive weight control activities. Weighing in every day can aid in your self-regulation abilities to make more healthy choices as you become more aware of your patterns.
“If you go out to a buffet dinner, you could be up 4 pounds the next day and choose to consume fewer calories that day. Or if you change a behavior like snacking at night, you might see your weight drop three days in a row and decide to keep that change.”Dori Steinberg, obesity prevention and treatment researcher at the Duke Global Health (source: USA Today)
Hopefully, these benefits of weighing yourself on a daily basis will make you want to give it a try to see how it works for you. If you happen to find that you feel unhappy or pressured by seeing your weight every day, then start with weighing yourself weekly.
What’s the Easiest Way to Track your Weight?
By far, the easiest way to track your weight is to create an automatic system and incorporate it as part of your daily habits and rituals. A wifi scale will connect with your existing phone apps and making tracking a breeze. For example, I use an iPhone and apps that work with the free Apple Health app. This lets me track my weight and other vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) in one place.
Once you have a wifi scale that is set up (and it only takes a few minutes!) your weight is automatically recorded and you can see your own health habits and patterns more clearly. And if you use any apps for tracking your food intake like MyFitnessPal then you can even more clearly see the connection between your nutrition intake and your weight.
If you want to learn more about the best wifi scales to add to your morning routine, be sure to check out our complete guide to wifi scales.