It can be a useful tool or your worst enemy. Many women have a love-hate relationship with their bathroom scale, dreading to step onto its flat, shiny surface to see what number it will spit back at them. The scale doesn’t have to be the enemy if you understand when and how often to use this digital tool. How often should you weigh?
The experts have a variety of different opinions on how often you should step on the scale. Some will say you should weigh on a daily basis, while others suggest you should check your weight once a week. A few will say once a month is sufficient. There are advantages and drawbacks to each approach.
If you check your weight on a daily basis, you’re bound to experience fluctuations due to excess salt intake or overindulging a little at your last meal. Even constipation can cause the scale to fluctuate up to a few pounds. This can be discouraging if you’re trying to eat healthy and exercise only to find the number on the scale have risen a few pounds. The day to day fluctuations which arise when you check your weight usually mean very little. It takes time to add a true pound of weight. To gain a real pound of body fat, you have to take in 3,500 calories above your normal caloric requirements which usually doesn’t happen overnight even if you did overindulge at a buffet restaurant.
At the other extreme, when you only check your weight once a month, you may be allowing yourself too much leeway. A lot can change over a four week period and it can be discouraging to step on the scale and see you’re up several pounds. Weighing yourself regularly gives you some accountability which can help you resist overindulging and make it more likely you’ll stick to your exercise program.
The best plan may be to check your weight once a week. When you do a weight check, always do it first thing in the morning after you’ve relieved your bowels and bladder and before you eat breakfast. To avoid skewing the results with your clothing, weigh before you get dressed or put on your shoes. Keep a chart of your weekly weights so you can be aware of any fluctuations.
What if the scale shows an undesirable weight gain? Before you become despondent, make it a point to check your weight for the next two mornings to rule out temporary water weight gain. If the number holds over the next two morning weigh-ins, it’s time to reassess your eating and exercise habits.
When you check your weight once a week, you’re less likely to become obsessed with the numbers. On the other hand, you still haven’t allowed so much time to go by that your weight could become a problem without your awareness. If you find your weight is more difficult to control with weekly weigh-ins, go to twice weekly weigh-ins, but avoid the temptation to do it every day.