Stepping on the scale doesn't have to be a scary event for yearly doctor's visits – and it also doesn't have to be a daily torture ritual. There is a happy medium in there – I'll help you find it.
The Truth: I recommend that people weigh themselves once a week, at the same time every week. Weighing yourself every day can have a negative impact on you.
For so many of us the scale is a source of stress and self-loathing, but it really shouldn't be. Don't think of the scale as anything other than a compass — something we use when losing weight to keep us going in the right direction. It tells us what's going on with our bodies so we can effectively modify our regimen to ensure continued weight loss. It's just a tool — no more and no less. So how frequently should you consult it? Here’s my opinion on the topic:
Your weight varies throughout the day. Not only does your weight change every day, it also changes at different times through a single day, so there is no point to weighing yourself every day — and definitely not multiple times a day. This is because of body fluid fluctuations –— you might be retaining water from too much sodium consumption, or you may not have gone to the bathroom yet (gross, but true). All of these things affect your weight. The issue with checking the scale DAILY, is that minor fluctuations can freak people out — or discourage them from their weight-loss efforts. Instead, take photos, body measurements, and judge yourself by your fitness endurance and how your clothes are fitting you.
To use the scale effectively, you should weigh yourself once a week. I want you to weigh yourself once a week at the same time, on the same day of the week, wearing similar clothing, and most importantly, ON THE SAME SCALE. I tell my Train with Jillian members to do this on Wednesday and remember it as “weigh-in Wednesday,” but do whatever day works best for you. Weighing yourself just once a week will give you a more accurate read — you’ll allow time for the scale to actually show weight loss. The number on the scale will help you figure out if you need to make adjustments to what you’re eating or how you’re exercising. Keep in mind that half a pound to two pounds is a realistic weight loss so don’t expect results like the Biggest Loser contestants.
NEVER weighing yourself is a bad idea. Are you one of those people who doesn’t weigh themselves all year, and then finally steps on the scale at their annual physical? This isn’t the right way to go either! Never weighing yourself and, instead, determining how "healthy" you are by how you feel, isn’t the best method. To know how healthy you are is to know that number on the scale. If you’re in maintenance mode (and not trying lose weight), I’d still suggest you weigh yourself once a week, or at least twice a week. Your weight is a total picture of your overall health, and it’s good to keep tabs on yourself.
The Bottom Line: Confront the scale and find the right day for your weekly weigh in’s and stick with it so it turns into a habit.