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Should You Weigh Yourself?

How often do you weigh yourself? 

Do you weigh yourself? 

There’s always a debate in the fitness and nutrition world – some believe the scale is the enemy, others embrace it wholeheartedly.should you weigh yourself on a scale

So what’s the deal with scales?  How often, if at all, should you weigh yourself?

We’ll present both sides of the argument.

To Weigh or Not to Weigh…

First, the problems with the scale – it doesn’t differentiate between muscle and fat.  It gives you a straightforward number.  But what if you’re an active mom who exercises 5 days per week and has some lean muscle, for example?  Or what if you’re an athlete with more muscle and low body fat? 

Does that number on the scale really matter?

On the flip side, if you’re trying to lose weight – study after study suggests that those who weigh themselves more frequently are more successful at losing and maintaining their weight loss.

Data from the National Weight Control Registry, a database whose members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for nearly 6 years, shows one positive habit is that 75% of those in the Registry is that they weigh themselves at least one time each week.

And research from renowned obesity researcher, Rena Wing, has shown weighing daily is even more effective.

Why?

The idea here is to make sure the scale is headed in the right direction.  You want to keep your weight in check and “catch” if the scale starts going up or doesn't move.

If you never weigh yourself, this wouldn’t be possible.  Sure, there are daily fluctuations, but if you’re a 40 year old mom of 2 who is overweight or obese, the number on the scale should be going down if you're making the right food choices and even when you are exercising regularly.

Two sides to the argument. 

We suggest weighing yourself once weekly, but know that your self worth isn't defined by the number on the scale — don't live and die by it, but awareness (vs. avoidance) is important.

What do you think?  Are scales a friend or a foe?

8 Responses to Should You Weigh Yourself?

  1. Angie Schneider April 8, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I think the scale keeps you in check IF you are actively dieting and exercising to lose weight or maintaining your weight.  But if you are not and watching it go up and up it will only cause you to become depressed and make things much worse for you.

  2. Jessica April 8, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    I think that if you are not tied to the scale in a negative way that it can actually be a helpful tool. I weigh myself almost everyday. It's partially just a daily reminder, but it is also a good clue to my nutrition. I know that if I have a dinner with a lot of salt that I'll be up a pound or two in the morning when I weigh in. I can see patterns related to activity (or non-activity), also.

  3. Ray K April 8, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Check your stocks and weigh yourself almost every day, look for a trend in both. If either one starts moving too far out of the norm then re-evaluate your plan. PS. Glad you didn't take a picture of your feet on the scale Chris.Just Sayin! ——-Although yours would probably look better than mine.

  4. John April 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Weighing yourself on a regular basis is a positive, in my opinion.  If you are weighing yourself, then you are in the right frame of mind regarding putting an importance on your health.  It is just one more thing that day/week that reminds you to stay focused and commit to your health goals

  5. Gina McNeal April 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I am a personal trainer, and what I have found is that certain personalities are fine with weighing themselves regularly, while others are not.  If you've had an eating disorder before, then I don't think it's wise to use a scale.  I also find that some women weigh in, and then punish themselves (for instance, skip a meal) if the number has gone up or hasn't gone down.   It's good to know yourself well enough to predict the effect that number on the scale will have on you, and if it's going to be negative, don't use that method to assess yourself.  The fit of your clothes might be a safer guide.

  6. Ray April 9, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Gina- great advice! Guess I never thought about how different personalities might play into it.

  7. Amy Holley April 9, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I'd like to 'weigh in' on this one, because I feel so strongly that Gina and Ray are absolutely right. Knowing your own risk tolerance makes all the difference when you're going for real success in the stock market … and the same can be said with regard to seeing the morning number on the scale.  If you are elated when the numbers go down, but devastated when they inch back up, you're shooting yourself in the foot.  I used to be like that and I quit weighing myself.  
    Then, I participated in the first Transformation Contest and was diligent with food choices in addition to my attendance at boot camp.  I lost inches and pounds, and found that the morning weigh-in was a real motivator for me.   The experience gained made me REALLY see that I was in total control of my body weight.  Now I know exactly what to do to get rid of any extra pound that creeps back in there and I have confidence that I'll be able to shed the next five.  

  8. Mark April 12, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    I would definately agree with Gina. i am also a personal trainer and lifestlye coach and quite often see how the scales can become a hindrance to someone who exercises. I have known many women to gain half a stone of lean mass weight in a short space of time whilst simultaneously losing the same amount of fat but this may not show a great deal of difference on the scales.
    Without the necessary knowledge and support women in particular can get disheartened with all their positive hard work and unnecessarily think "what's the point" resulting in comfort eating and giving up.  
    the good old tape measure is better in my experience "for these types of personalities and body types" although unless they have a lot of trust in who is helping them they find it hard to break the weighing mentality wanting drastic weight losses to boost their initial motivation.
    If people have a lot of weight to lose then they should see the scale go down regardless of any muscle gain but for those who dont have a great deal to lose and a lot of muscle to gain to "look toned" (skinny fat people) then clothes sizes, a tape measure or specific body fat testing can be more mentally affective, although obviously not as convenient if done manually.
    Once people get to know the affects of their diet and exercise on their body through experience then weighing can be very helpful in combination with how they feel in their clothes and what they see in the mirror. After all is'nt that what people really want?!? BUT… Some women say the scale is more important because this is how they have been conditioned by the media, doctors and product sales, regardless of their health or how they look or feel. They only feel good if they weight a certain amount! This I believe is unhealthy and unhelpful. :)

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