The question of how often we should weigh ourselves when on a weight loss journey is a difficult question to answer and one that has a whole range of recommendations. Below I run through some of the most common suggestions along with some of the pros and cons associated with them.
Just a caveat before we get started is that there is no definitive right or wrong answer. The explanations I attempt give below are to just inform our approach and perhaps give us some areas to consider when deciding how often you should weigh yourself.
Daily (or more) weigh ins
While I’ve never adopted this approach myself it’s quite a common ritual for people to at some fixed point in the day to hop on the scales and see what their current weight is.
I guess the advantage to this kind of approach is the immediate feedback you receive, enabling you to almost gauge many aspects of your previous day such as water retention and general weight trends. The disadvantage to this method is that you would have to be very careful to not let any one days result skew your opinion of your progress too heavily. This is due to the fact that weight can fluctuate massively over a 24 hour period. Therefore any significant loss or gain seen may not be reflective of genuine results either way. I’ve also heard it mentioned that daily weigh-ins can lead to slightly obsessive behaviour with scale weight.
Weekly weigh ins
The favourite of dieters and weight loss programs all over the world we have the weekly weigh in. This seems like a pretty good option for most people. Its long enough between weigh in days for you to get a good indication of progress and short enough that there’s no way you can lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. It’s also perhaps slightly easier to manage weekly weigh ins from a scheduling point of view, I guess there’s slightly less to keep track of.
While this approach seems to work for the vast majority I personally still find the days a little too close together. Odd though it may sound I find it easier and more motivating to see 1.5 lbs lost after 2 weeks than 0.7 in one week but that’s just me. I’d probably say that if you find you’re using poor nutritional choices to celebrate good weeks or comforting yourself after bad weeks, and these periods are going on for a couple of days it might be worth considering spreading out when you should weigh yourself.
Fortnightly weigh ins
My own personal favourite. When I decided I should weigh myself every fortnight instead of weekly it made a massive difference to my motivation. Not least because I felt that if went a little off track one week there was still a good amount of time to pull it back and see a decent result on the weigh-in day. For me it also means having that internal dialogue around my progress a little less often and that’s something I find very useful.
Monthly (or less) weigh ins
I think monthly or longer weigh ins are the holy grail of tracking schedules. If you can have enough confidence in your eating plan and can operate without the reassurance of weigh days you are in an awesome place with regard to your mindset and approach. This gives you complete control to focus on your day to eating habits in the confidence that theyre going to deliver you the results you need. Personally I’m nowhere near that and still very much need the fortnightly compliance boost of a successful weigh in to keep me moving.
A final point to make about is that while your scale weight is important it is just one measure of general health. It’s also massively open to fluctuations on a day by day and in some cases week by week basis. Like so many other things used during a weight loss journey the scales are there to help you not discourage you and to support your strategy instead of derail your efforts. Weigh in schedules are just tools and aren’t set in stone, if you feel for any reason that your weighing days aren’t supporting you in your goals it may be worth changing things up.