If you are in the process of losing weight, you might wonder, should you weigh yourself every day? What is a reasonable amount of times to weigh yourself to check on your progress without being obsessive or letting the scale rule your life? Here’s how to decide how often you should weigh yourself while you are on a weight loss journey.
How Often Should You Weigh In During Weight Loss?
I run a women’s online weight loss program called Faithful Finish Lines and we have our members report their weight once a week.
Whether you choose to weigh yourself daily or weekly, I do think it’s important to weigh yourself on a regular basis in order to track your progress. While weight is not the ultimate indicator of health or wellness, it’s an easy measure and one that makes logical sense to track.
Some people find that the scale can be a trigger for them (especially those with a history of eating disorders) and if this is you, consult with your doctor or therapist to determine the best approach for you.
Keep in mind that a basic body weight scale doesn’t track body fat percent, and ultimately what you want is to lose body fat while retaining or gaining muscle. While the scale doesn’t give us this information, it’s still a helpful general guide.
Why Does My Weight Fluctuate So Much?
Because weight fluctuates from day to day, weighing yourself daily can cause some people to become stressed and anxious needlessly.
Here are some of the reasons your weight fluctates:
- Fluid shifts that are normal for the human body
- Hormonal issues, especially PMS for women
- Digestion (Have you pooped recently?)
- Eating excess sodium, especially from processed foods, canned foods, and ethnic foods
- The amount of carbohydrates you eat (because carbs lead the body to carry water)
- The weight of the food you eat
- Medical conditions
- Weather conditions, which may cause sweating or fluid retention
Some people see more weight shifts than others.
The heavier you are, you will probably see even bigger fluctuations due to fluid retention. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten closer to my goal weight, my weight doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as it did when I was heavier.
How to Weigh Yourself Accurately During Weight Loss
Whether you weigh yourself daily or weekly, in order to get an accurate measure of your body weight, follow these guidelines.
- Weigh yourself at the same time every day, preferably after you’ve gone to the bathroom and before you eat anything.
- Weigh yourself without any clothes or in a similar outfit each time.
- Be sure your scale is fairly accurate. You don’t need a fancy scale but it should be accurate enough that the numbers don’t jump all over each time you step on it. I have a Fit Index scale with an app on my phone.
Why I Switched to Weighing Myself Every Day
I weigh myself every day.
For years I’ve been maintaining a 100 pound weight loss. Last year, I intentionally focused on losing weight in order to break a 15 year plateau and I switched from weighing myself weekly (or often monthly) to weighing myself daily.
At first, I was hesitant to make the switch to daily weigh-ins. Weighing daily seemed obsessive.
My body and my health are so much more than one number. Plus, I knew my weight fluctuated depending on what I eat and that time of the month.
Wouldn’t weighing daily send me into a constant tailspin when I saw the numbers jump around?
I was amazed to discover that weighing every day actually make me much less stressed and obsessed about the number on the scale. Because I weigh myself daily, I don’t see such drastic shifts with my weight, and when I do it’s easier to pinpoint the reason.
During a whole week I can see a change of 4-5 pounds, but with weighing daily it’s usually only a pound or two and I can more easily pinpoint the reason instead of trying to remember back to a whole week of activities and food choices.
I also learned that with weighing daily I can more quickly course correct. Now that I am maintaining my weight loss, if I see the numbers on the scale go up 3 days in a row, I know I need to make some type of change. Even if the reason is PMS or foods high in sodium, I still plan to eat a little bit fewer calories (or WW points) when I see a weight increase for 3 days.
I’ve learned that I’m just way too good at justifying my poor food choices, so the 3 day guideline keeps me honest with myself.
I also like that weighing daily gives me a lot more data to work with. Instead of 4 weigh-ins during a month, I have 30 weigh-ins. Even if the weight changes are small, it’s much easier to get a more accurate picture with more data.
When Weigh-Ins Mess with Your Head
The scale can be a mind trip. I don’t know about you, but I can go all kinds of crazy depending on the number I see. I’ve gotten a lot better about this over the years but I still sometimes fall into these thinking traps.
I might wake up feeling great but when I see the number on the scale has increased by 2 pounds, I end up feeling depressed and defeated. Sometimes this leads to overeating which I know is crazy, but I do it.
Other times I see the number go down, and rather than keep on with what I’m doing, I self-sabotage and eat chips and cookies either because I’m afraid of success or because I feel like I can get away with it.
Then there are the times I have an “undeserved” loss where I was in a mode of eating junk food but the scale went down anyway. That leads me to think I can continue to get away with unhealthy eating, but the weight gain eventually catches up with me.
Can you relate to any of these? (If so, tell us about it in the comments below.)
Strategies When You Don’t Want to Know Your Weight
There might be times that due to the mental aspects, it’s really better for you not to see your weight. If you don’t want to know your weight but still want to keep up the accountability, here are some strategies to try.
Have Someone Else Keep Track
Go to the doctor’s office, your personal trainer, or a WW meeting and stand on the scale backwards so you don’t see the number. Give the person recording strict instructions not to say your weight out loud. This way your weight will be recorded but you don’t need to know the number.
Use a Scale with an App
I have a Fit Index scale that comes with a free app. You can cover the number with a piece of black tape, so you won’t know your weight when you step on, but the app will continue to track the numbers until you are ready to look at them.
Don’t Weigh Yourself
You can simply not weigh yourself. Put your scale away and kindly refuse to be weighed at the doctor. Instead, pay attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel.
You can also keep track of progress without weighing yourself by tracking your actions and behaviors. Are you eating healthy foods? Are you moving your body? You can’t always control the end result, but you can control your actions.
How to Make Peace with the Scale
As much as I understand people’s reasons for avoiding the scale, a better strategy is to learn to make peace with the number you see.
You Are Worthy.
You, my beautiful friend, are not your weight.
You are an amazing child of God who has incredible gifts, talents, and quirks. You are a friend, mother, daughter, or wife.
You are incredible.
If you find yourself fighting voices in your head that say things like –
- I am not worthy.
- I am not good enough.
- I don’t even know why I am here.
Here’s the thing.
You don’t get to decide that.
You are here so therefore you are worthy and you are good enough to be here – because you are here. God created you for this time and place in order to make your impact on the world.
You are good enough.
Ask the Right Weight Loss Questions
If you struggle with negative self-talk, this video about asking the right weight loss questions will help.
The Scale Provides Feedback.
I once heard a WW leader say this, “The scale provides feedback. That’s all it does.”
That helpful tidbit has stuck with me all these years later. The scale provides information. Take it and use it to move you toward your goals.
What is Scale Obsession and How Can I Avoid It?
If you are weighing yourself more than once a day, you are obsessed with the scale.
Cut back to weighing yourself only once a day. If necessary, put the scale out of sight the remainder of the time. Consider taking a break for weighing yourself entirely as a way to get a fresh start.
Whether you weigh yourself every day during weight loss, once a week, or less, the most important thing is that you find a method that supports your goals.
While you might not always like the number you see on the scale, is it giving you an overall picture of your progress? Are you able to look at the number without jumping into self-sabotaging behaviors? If so, you are on the right track.
Eventually you will learn to see the scale as an ally in your weight loss process instead of a dreaded foe.
More Posts You Will Love
This posts will be a benefit to you on your weight loss journey, too.
A Prayer for Weight Loss – Ask for God’s guidance as you lose weight.
Weight Watchers 7 Day Basic Meal Plan – A full 7 day meal plan to get your started with WW healthy eating, for Green, Blue, and Purple plans and with free PDF printable.