If you are trying to lose weight, it’s hard to figure out how often to weigh yourself so that you can use the scale as a tool to do more help than harm!
The scale and I had a love-hate relationship during my 100-pound weight loss journey.
The days when it showed a loss, I was over-the-moon excited! I felt lighter, more confident, and more successful. I was more likely to exercise and eat right because I just felt good!
The days when the scale showed I’d gained weight, I was so discouraged. I felt fat, like a failure, and like I wanted to quit because my efforts obviously weren’t working anyway (so I might as well just eat like I want to, right?). I was much more likely to drown my sorrows in a bag of Cheetos.
Some people go to the extreme of recommending you never use a scale to weigh yourself at all. And I get their perspective. I really do.
You can certainly get helpful information by how well your clothing fits, how you feel, and how you look, but if you are trying to lose weight, use all the help you can get.
Just like I don’t believe that you can jump straight from lots of overeating to intuitive eating (these are the 4 steps I took from calorie counting to food freedom), I don’t believe it’s wise to avoid using the scale just because it evokes mixed feelings in you.
It’s important to address how you use a scale, but the scale itself is not the problem. In fact, it’s a very helpful tool when used correctly!
How Often Should I Weigh Myself While I’m Trying To Lose Weight?
I believe that if you are trying to lose weight, you should be weighing yourself regularly.
The important thing to remember here is that a scale is a tool. It is just data.
- It doesn’t define your worth.
- You are not a better person when the number drops or less of a person when the number rises.
- It doesn’t have to change your mood and it doesn’t have a voice of condemnation attached.
That voice of condemnation, pointing out all of your flaws and failures is coming from you, not the scale.
I also believe you can change your thoughts.
Recognize them. Take them captive. Recognize the lies and replace them with the truth (instead of, “I am a failure,” you could change your thought to, “I gained a couple of pounds this week. Why did that happen? What can I do to change that for next week?”).
Weighing Daily vs Weekly
One of the biggest temptations in weight loss is to avoid reality (not weighing yourself at all, explaining away all of your overeating, etc).
I’ve been there and I’ve done it.
But I’m a big fan of using all of the information you can get to help guide your choices and the scale gives you really good information!
In our Faithful Finish Lines 2.0 Christian Weight Loss program (registration opening again in January 2020!), we recommend weekly weigh-ins and we help you use those weigh-ins to guide your choices.
There is nothing wrong with daily weigh-ins, except that it is very common for them to drive women crazy.
If you can keep your thoughts under control, then feel free to weigh yourself as often as you’d like!
But, be honest with yourself about that.
I work with a lot of women who are trying to lose weight and I rarely find people who are helped by daily weigh-ins (and especially not multiple daily weigh-ins!).
Stepping on the scale more often is not going to speed up your results.
The real work happens off the scale. The scale is just the tool to help you measure your progress.
If You Weigh Yourself Every Day
- Have a clear understanding of normal daily weight fluctuations and how your choices affect them.
- Expect that you will have regular small gains and losses, even when you are making great healthy choices.
- Make sure you are using the scale to help you and be careful to avoid becoming obsessive.
This can give you good information about your body but has the potential to drive you nuts. Daily weigh-ins don’t necessarily show fat loss, but they do reflect water gain/loss.
And, most importantly, daily weigh-ins aren’t for everyone. If you find they are more harmful than helpful, pull back.
If You Weigh Yourself Every Week
- Weigh yourself at the same time of day, wearing similar clothing every week.
- Use the same scale every week.
- I recommend weighing yourself in the morning after going to the bathroom but before eating.
- Look for overall trends (which take at least a few weeks to see!).
This is what I most recommend for losing weight. It gives you consistent data to help you see your progress and see how your choices affect your weight.
Use your weigh-ins like a compass. Be a non-judgemental observer as you look over your week and think about how your food and exercise choices led to that number on the scale.
Then use that information to help you come up with an action plan.
Did you find that eating a healthy breakfast really helped you stay on track this week and the results showed a loss on the scale? Awesome! Keep doing that!
Or maybe you tried drinking green smoothies this week and you found they didn’t keep you full so you ended up eating more calories to fill up and you ended up gaining weight. Try swapping the smoothie for a more filling egg casserole.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the loss or gain came from (we help you figure that out in FFL 2.0!), but it’s always so helpful to look for patterns and adjust accordingly.
It’s a way to study your unique body and how it responds to things.
How Often Should I Weigh Myself To Maintain My Weight?
This really varies based on your personal preference, but I recommend slowly cutting back on weigh-ins after you reach your goal weight.
It takes time to make the switch from “weight loss” mode to “weight maintenance” mode. You might be changing up your diet and your exercise. You might be eating a little bit more.
And you will be trying to figure out your “sweet spot” in your healthy choices that will keep you at your current weight.
You might be tempted to give up weighing yourself immediately. I don’t recommend this!
While you are doing some trial and error with your diet, you still want to be watching to see how your weight responds to the changes you are making.
For example, when I reached my goal weight,
- I continued weighing myself every week for at least 3 months while I was still tweaking my diet.
- When I saw that my weight was holding steady, I switched to every other week for a couple more months.
- Then I went down to once a month.
- For most of my weight loss maintenance, I’ve only weighed myself about once every three months or so.
That has given me the peace of mind that I’m still at a healthy weight and also allowed me to step back from the frequent weigh-ins (because I don’t need to use that tool as often when I’m living at my goal weight!).