I read an interesting article today, one more in a long line of articles I have read over the years about how often we are supposed to weigh ourselves for best results with weight management. Let me summarize . . . according to the study results, we should weigh ourselves every day if we want to lose weight or keep extra pounds from creeping on.
The article goes on to say, however, that there might be some exceptions to that advice for certain people. The studies did not include people with a history of eating disorders, because they “might obsess about weight and respond to falling or rising numbers with extreme dieting or binging.” Others chose not to participate because they “just couldn’t stand” the thought of facing the scale every day.
My personal opinion, based on years of weight loss counseling, is that there is not one best strategy for weighing frequency. Just as there is no single best way to eat for every human body, the psychological implications of frequent weighing are unique depending on the person involved.
I have known people who think they are not affected by frequent weighing, but when asked to stay off of it for a week or two, they begin to see results. Our brains can trick us! We may think we are not eating differently because of a number on the scale, but in fact we may be. This can happen with “yippee, I lost!” readings as easily as with the “Oh %#$&, I didn’t deserve that” results.
I think it is interesting that eating disorders were excluded from the studies but the many “normal” people with sub-clinical disordered thinking about eating were not. From my experience, so many serial dieters fall into the latter category, and many of them do not do well with daily weigh-ins either.
My advice: See how you feel when you weigh yourself. If you are weighing frequently and you feel more moody after stepping on the scale, or if you can’t seem to stop thinking about it afterward, try weighing once a week and see how that feels. Weighing in general can be a good reality check, but the truth of the matter is that daily weigh-in’s tell us more about how much fluid is in our body or how much food we just ate than they tell us about actual body fat status.