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, but how often should you continue to weigh in?
Expert opinions vary. A study presented by the American Heart Association 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 not fair 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 a true indicator of your progress. Your weight will fluctuate based on 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 gaining fat but of your body doing exactly what it is supposed to do to regulate its physiological functions.
- Muscle weighs more than fat. If you’re exercising or weight training, you could be toning muscle. This means you’re healthier and in better shape, even if the number on the scale hasn’t budged much.
- Fluctuating numbers may cause stress and anxiety. This 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.
No matter what frequency you decide to weigh yourself, we recommend the following tips to help you succeed and feel good about your progress:
- Be consistent. 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.
- Clothing (or not). Step on the scale wearing the same thing each time, even if it’s your birthday suit.
- 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.
- Use a tracker. Whether it’s an app or a paper calendar, document your progress as you go through the weight loss process.
Don’t forget that there is so much more to your weight loss journey than just a number, and the scale is one of the 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 stress, more patient, and have fewer mood swings.
- Changes in food and beverage behavior – You understand what foods 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.
When deciding how often to weigh yourself, do what feels right for you. If you need the accountability of the daily check-in, then do it. If once a week encourages you, do that. Or if you prefer to track your 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? The Herb Doctor can help! Our science-based weight loss program is focused on losing weight in a healthy way. The Herb Doctor’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. Schedule your free consultation today!