Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?

scale-403585_1920

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.

As Laura Cipullo, RD, author of The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, puts it in the article, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and start to identify your self-worth with what’s on the scale.

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?

 

 

 

17 Comments

  1. I got rid of the scale years ago because I found that number did mess with my brain. It predicted my mood for the day which is of course not healthy. So now I get weighed just once a year at the OB/GYN. And that was a wake up call last month as I gained 8 pounds in the past year. But I had been definitely eating more, eating not when I was hungry and snacking at night almost every night over the past year. So, that “check in” helped get back on track. Would l like to get on the scale now and see if I’d made progress? Definitely. But I know that number will again get stuck in my head so I’m trying to go by how my clothes fit instead. But that’s just works for me.

    • ewardrd says:

      What a great idea! I did the once a year weighing in for a while, then middle age hit! I think going by how your clothes fit is a good method for keeping track of where you are and where you want to be.

  2. I have had so many emotional issues with the scale. Right now, I’m doing 21DF, and I’ve decided not to weigh myself until I’m done. The first few days, I kept stepping on and off of the scale to see my progress… and I got discouraged when it went up a pound overnight for no reason. I’m going to try to relegate myself to a once a month weigh in this year 🙂

  3. Carey Rossi says:

    Wonderful post. I step on the scale everyday and sometimes the numbers mess with my head. But there are a couple of things that I do when that starts to happen. First, I take inventory about how I have been eating for the last two days. What did I eat? How big or small were my portions? Did I drink enough water? etc. Then, I give myself a three-pound range to allow for natural fluctuations when they happen. My goal is to make sure my higher number doesn’t get higher. For me the scale is just a tool to maintain my weight; it makes me check-in with my eating habits. I think everyone needs to find what works for them and keeps them sane.

  4. JUST YESTERDAY I had a convo w/a good friend about weighing every day vs. occasionally. He’s an every day person, whereas I do it maybe weekly or less often. Depends on my mood, really. I ask myself – will whatever number I see have an effect on my mood? If the answer is yes, I don’t step on the scale. It took me a long time not to view the number as a judgment call to myself. For me, it’s a data point, to be added to all the other data points in my life, such as how my jeans fit, how I feel in my skin, etc. I think as women, there is SO much that affects the number on the scale, such as where you are in your monthly cycle… or life cycle. While it can be disheartening to see a higher number than usual, it shouldn’t affect my mood (or worse).

    • ewardrd says:

      Not surprised that you were just talking about it. Weighing yourself is a hot topic of conversation! You make a great point about how the number on the scale will affect you. If it’s negatively, why bother? Plus, it is just one piece of information. Thanks for chiming in!

  5. Jean caton says:

    About six months ago I lost over ten pounds due to sadness over a tragedy. I couldn’t eat. I10% of my body weight. I only knew it by the fit of my clothes. I went from high end of average to feeling leaner and better. I have always had a good exercise plan Now I am tracking what I eat daily I started weighing myself at the gym about weekly and find my weight varies by about 3 lbs. for no apparent reasons I’ve been thinking about buying a scale Therefore this thread is very interesting to me 5’2″ and aging makes it hard to stay at my ideal weight without a lot of discipline

  6. I know a lot of people who weight themselves everyday. I’m not one of them. I have a general idea of what I weigh because my clothes feel about the same. In my private practice, I leave it up to the client. It’s a personal decision. I will “weigh” in on whether I think it will be helpful or not; and this depends on the circumstances surrounding each individual situation. Thanks for the post.

  7. I’m an almost every-day weigher . . . I don’t have issues w/it affecting my mood – it keeps me on track and lets me know when I have to watch what I’m eating a little more closely. I pay more attention to the way my clothes are fitting – THAT’S what starts to bum me out – tight/uncomfortable jeans. In my coaching practice, I too leave it up to clients. I suggest 1x/week for weigh-ins if people have weight-related goals, but we always discuss this and if it’s going to mess with anyone, we figure out another plan . . . As with all this stuff, it’s individual and it depends!

  8. My husband and I get on the scale on Monday mornings and write down the results on a paper that we can both see. We don’t comment on eachother’s numbers, but we are eachother’s early morning motivation to get down the basement to work out and the weekly check-in provides a bit more emphasis when we need it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: