Myth: Daily weighing will inhibit weight loss

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Actually, weigh yourself daily may help with weight loss.  

Lighten Up on a scale.  

I have heard many people claim that weighing yourself daily will hurt your ability to lose weight.  It makes sense that your body weight due to hydration and fiber intake can fluctuate quite a bit every day.   These fluctuations can create the appearance of weight gain and therefore, it is believed that for a person trying to lose weight will become discouraged when seeing his or her weight go in the direction opposite to their efforts.  Because of this concept, many professionals have wrongly suggested that daily weighing can hinder weight loss and thus recommend against it.  

Personally, I could not disagree more and highly recommend daily weighing.  I have found that

Apple, Scale, and Tape Measure

Apple, Scale, and Tape Measure

it helps me with behavior modification.  If I eat certain foods and gain weight, I tend to avoid them from there on out.  For example, popcorn tends to cause false weight gain due to the fiber and salt content.  If I eat a bag of microwave popcorn, I gain 1-2 pounds and it tends to constipate me.  It is a source of empty calories so avoiding it makes sense.

 

There is plenty of research to support the efficacy of daily self-weighing to assist with weight loss success.  I found no fewer than five in a quick search[1],[2],[3],[4],[5].  In fact, one study showed that weighing oneself twice a day was a useful in assisting weight loss through behavior modification[6].  The key to success in all of these studies is daily or twice daily weighing with a realistic target.  

The bottom line: Daily weighing with a realistic target and an understanding that fluctuations are normal will lead to the most successful weight loss.  

Footnotes
[1]Steinberg et al., “The Efficacy of a Daily Self-Weighing Weight Loss Intervention Using Smart Scales and e-Mail.”
[2]Butryn et al., “Consistent Self-Monitoring of Weight: A Key Component of Successful Weight Loss Maintenance**.”
[3]Heckerman, Brownell, and Westlake, “Self and External Monitoring of Weight.”
[4]Hozack et al., “Taperloc Femoral Component. A 2-6-Year Study of the First 100 Consecutive Cases.”
[5]Mahoney, Moura, and Wade, “Relative Efficacy of Self-Reward, Self-Punishment, and Self-Monitoring Techniques for Weight Loss.”
[6]Oshima, Matsuoka, and Sakane, “Effect of Weight-Loss Program Using Self-Weighing Twice a Day and Feedback in Overweight and Obese Subject: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”
Butryn, Meghan L., Suzanne Phelan, James O. Hill, and Rena R. Wing. “Consistent Self-Monitoring of Weight: A Key Component of Successful Weight Loss Maintenance**.” Obesity 15, no. 12 (December 2007): 3091–96. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2007.368.
Heckerman, Carol Landau, Kelly D. Brownell, and Robert J. Westlake. “Self and External Monitoring of Weight.” Psychological Reports 43, no. 2 (October 1978): 375–78. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1978.43.2.375.
Hozack, W, R Gardiner, S Hearn, K Eng, and R Rothman. “Taperloc Femoral Component. A 2-6-Year Study of the First 100 Consecutive Cases.” The Journal of Arthroplasty 9, no. 5 (October 1, 1994): 489–93. [PubMed]
Mahoney, MJ, NG Moura, and TC Wade. “Relative Efficacy of Self-Reward, Self-Punishment, and Self-Monitoring Techniques for Weight Loss.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 40, no. 3 (June 1, 1973): 404–7. [PubMed]
Oshima, Yoshitake, Yukiyo Matsuoka, and Naoki Sakane. “Effect of Weight-Loss Program Using Self-Weighing Twice a Day and Feedback in Overweight and Obese Subject: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Obesity Research & Clinical Practice 7, no. 5 (September 2013): e361–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orcp.2012.01.003.
Steinberg, Dori M., Deborah F. Tate, Gary G. Bennett, Susan Ennett, Carmen Samuel-Hodge, and Dianne S. Ward. “The Efficacy of a Daily Self-Weighing Weight Loss Intervention Using Smart Scales and e-Mail.” Obesity, May 2013, n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20396.
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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