I’ve been on a lot of low-calorie diets, mostly as a teenager, and my dietary deprivation always involved frequent tracking of my “progress” on the bathroom scale. I felt accomplished when I dropped a pound or two, and terrible when I didn’t. It was clear that my self-esteem was affected by the numbers on the scale, and I didn’t like the feeling. As a registered dietitian counseling people about weight control, I made stepping on the scale optional.
In my personal and professional experience, the scale can leave emotional scars. That’s why I was a bit surprised by an article in USA Today that suggests weighing yourself daily is helpful for losing weight and preventing weight gain.
That conclusion may be based on the results of several research studies, but it does not apply to everyone, and certainly not to children.
If you struggle with disordered eating, weighing yourself daily may not be a good idea. In fact, the studies mentioned in USA Today excluded people with a history of disordered eating, who may be more prone to obsessing about weight and respond to falling or rising numbers on the scale with extreme dieting or binging.
I would like to think that I’ve made peace with the scale, even though I weigh myself more often now than in the past 20 or 30 years. I use the scale to confirm that I must get back on track before the pounds really add up, not to deride myself for veering off course.
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with weighing ourselves. Do you weigh yourself on a regular basis?