As is usually the case with a question like this, the answer depends on your situation. Are you just starting out trying to lose some pounds, are you in the midst of a weight loss program or have you achieved your goal and are now working on weight control? Also, are you a mature adult or do you get emotional about setbacks, real or imagined? If you get emotional, daily weighing can work against you.
The Wall Street Journal asks that heavy question this week and offers several opinions. Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, weighs in on what self-monitoring routines work best and why Wednesday is golden.
“Doctors’ views vary widely on how often people should weigh themselves, Dr. Schwartz says. Once a week is the most common recommendation in the obesity-treatment arena, where patients learn about smart-food choices and what triggers overeating episodes, rather than singling out a number on a scale, she says. ”
She added that three times a week or more is good for a person trying to trim pounds. That way you catch weight changes as they happen rather than get caught by surprise.
I have warned elsewhere in this blog that you can weigh every day, but you need to keep in mind that water retention and elimination can through off your total by a full percentage point or more, so you need to know the trend, not just day’s figure. Some medications can also contribute to weight changes.
The National Weight Control Registry says that 44 percent of their members who have lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for more than a year weigh themselves daily.
Livestrong.com makes some good points. “Your weight on the scale is only one factor in the weight loss experience. In some cases, waist circumference provides a more accurate assessment of your health. Scale weight and body mass index don’t account for muscle weight. Pacing yourself to lose 1 to 2 lbs. a week increases your chances of keeping the weight off.” (My emphasis.)
“Daily weighing can work for you if you use if for self-monitoring without allowing normal fluctuations to derail your program. In a 2006 study that included 1,800 women and men who were trying to lose weight, the people who weighed themselves daily lost twice as much weight as people who weighed less often, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health reports,” Livestrong.com said.
When I lost my 50 pounds in 52 weeks, I weighed myself once a week, on Friday mornings after my shower. It was a weekly report card on my program. I like the weekly weigh in and use it now years after achieving and maintaining my goal weight.
What works for you? And where are you in the weight loss experience?
(Addendum January 16, 2015) After reading some of the comments to this post, I would like to clarify that diet and exercise can result in body changes besides weight loss. You grow muscle and burn fat which alters your body composition as well as your weight. More muscle and less fat will slow your weight loss, but your clothes will fit better and you will look trimmer and healthier. It is good to get a handle on your body fat percentage before you start and as you progress. Check out: What is the Best Way to Measure Body Fat? for more a great tool to do it.