Nutrition and You!

Should You Weigh Yourself Daily?

weightloss_scale_Boston.jpgIf weight loss is your goal, jumping on the bathroom scale daily may help you shed more weight, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In this study of over 90 overweight adults, half of them were asked to weigh themselves daily for six months. The other half weighed themselves whenever they wanted. At the end of the six months, those that weighed themselves daily lost about 20 pounds. Those that weighed themselves less often lost less than 7 pounds.

CAUTION: Before you start a morning weigh-in ritual, you need to know that in this study, those who were instructed to weigh themselves daily were also provided with weekly emails tips and strategies for weight loss. Basically, they had a weekly virtual coach to cheer them on. This could have made a difference in the outcome.

Based on my years of counseling folks who were battling the bathroom scale, a daily weigh-in could sometimes backfire. So often, my clients who were adhering to a weight loss diet stepped on the bathroom scale only to see the number shockingly escalate in the wrong direction. They had not lost weight, but rather, gained weight. Often times, this surprising change of events caused them to become discouraged and want to start scooping out the ice cream. This is when I had to quickly intervene.

Your body weight can fluctuate based on what you eat. For example, many folks retain temporary water weight when they eat a large amount of sodium, such as chowing down a salty pickle along with a deli lunchtime sandwich. A salty meal can cause you to temporarily retain water in your body and wreck havoc when you step on the bathroom scale. When you stop eating the salty foods, the temporary water weight will leave the body, and the numbers on the scale will start declining and become friendlier.

If maintaining your weight is your goal, you may want to consider weighing yourself only weekly. A recent study showed that a weekly weigh-in was enough to help folks maintain their weight. In my experience, people tend to do a better job of sticking to their weight loss plans during the week, so a Friday morning weigh-in may give you a better chance of seeing a kinder number on the scale. It can also provide you with some positive motivation to help you to reel in your weekend eating.

Another tip: consider journaling your food intake and activity level to see where or when the problems may be. Keeping a food journal has been shown to help folks lose weight.

How often do you weigh yourself? What works for you? Please comment below.

Be well, Joan

Twitter: @JoanSalgeBlake

Photo source: istockphoto

Continue Reading Below