Tracking your weight loss progress can be done in a number of ways such as: how much weight you lose, how many inches come off, your BMI, how you look in the mirror, bloodwork at your doctor’s office, or how your clothing fits. If you are using the scale, how often should you weigh yourself?
There really isn’t a right or wrong way to measure your progress as long as you are reaching your goals of becoming healthier and happier. But, of course, one of the most common ways to measure progress is what the scale says you weigh. This article will discuss how often you should weigh yourself so you find what’s right for you.
How Much Should You Weigh?
Before you decide how often you should weigh yourself, you should first figure out how much you should weigh. After all, knowing you weigh five pounds less than before doesn’t tell you much if you don’t know how much you should weigh in the first place!
Generally, females weigh less than males because males have more lean muscle and heavier bones. Interestingly, this is also the reason men burn more calories during the same workout than their female counterparts. It takes more energy to operate your lean muscles, so you burn more calories. Therefore, yet another way to increase your metabolism is to add lean muscle to your body!
There are many calculators to figure out how much you should weigh given your height. But, you should also consider how you look in the mirror (mainly to yourself) and your frame size. The calculator, at 48-years-old and 5-foot 3-inches, says I should weigh 104-127 pounds. I can’t imagine just being over 100 pounds! I do, however, want to be in a “healthy” range. I, personally, like to be more muscular than skinny. Therefore, my goal weight is definitely NOT at the lower range for my height (I like to be a little curvy!)
Pros and Cons of Weighing Yourself Daily
How often you weigh yourself could be daily and there are some reasons this is a good idea. When you weigh yourself daily, you won’t be surprised to learn you’ve gained 10 pounds like I was last year. Generally speaking, people who weigh themselves every day and know how much they should weigh are less likely to be overweight. Knowledge is power.
Weighing yourself every day can also help you determine whether a new diet plan or exercise regimen is working or not. Over the course of a week or two, you’ll be able to know sooner rather than later whether you are losing weight, gaining weight, or plateauing.
However, there are some cons to this tactic. If you weigh yourself too often, you might get discouraged. There are many people who believe that what you ate yesterday will dictate what you weigh tomorrow but that’s simply not true. There are a variety of factors that influence the weight on the scale including but not limited to water retention, hydration status, body composition (fat vs. muscle percentage), a woman’s menstrual cycle, and yes, how much you pooped. If you ate really healthy yesterday and you hop on the scale today seeing a disappointing number, it might make you feel like it’s not “working.” This might make you give up or, worse, binge because “why bother?”
You might also get frustrated not seeing the scale drop the weight fast enough when in reality, it’s considered healthiest to lose just 1-2 pounds a week.
Pros and Cons to Weighing Yourself Weekly
Weighing yourself weekly is a popular choice but also comes with pros and cons. The good part about this strategy is that you won’t be surprised to learn you’ve gained 10-20 pounds. You can keep tabs on your weight without becoming as fixated and obsessed with it as you might if you are weighing daily.
On the other hand, it’s quite easy to become hyper-focused on a number on the scale, in general, rather than the big picture about your body composition, losing inches, or how you look in the mirror. Sure, your scale could say the same number this week as it did last week but you could have lost an inch of fat around your waist or dropped a pant size! That is a great success!
What About Monthly?
If you decide to weigh yourself monthly, this could be great for mental health but you might get a bad surprise just the same!
If you are actively losing weight, weighing monthly may not be frequent enough to a) measure progress and b) see progress. A month is a long time not to celebrate those 10 pounds you lost! It’s also a long time to figure out you accidentally calculated your calories wrong or to decide intermittent fasting is or isn’t working for you!
Or, maybe you have found the perfect diet but didn’t notice you didn’t find time to work out as much as you thought. Or, you ate dessert a few times too many in the last month. Since you can gain 1-2 pounds a week the same way you can lose them, it’s possible you can get on the scale a month from now and learn you gained 8-10 pounds. Ouch!
However, if you’re in maintenance mode and have adopted a new lifestyle where you don’t falter much, weighing yourself once a month might be all you need to do. All you’re doing is “checking in” with yourself once in a while.
Can You Skip The Scale Entirely?
I, personally, don’t like the scale much in that how I feel, my health, how well clothes fit, and how I look in the mirror all help me feel better about myself than any number on the scale. I’m 5-foot 3-inches with a big booty so I rarely see the number I’m “supposed” to see on the scale. And, I’m fine with it.
However, last year I went to the doctor for an annual check-up and when I saw my weight, my jaw dropped! The “problem” with being self-confident is sometimes you can’t always see the weight you gained. Oops! But, being overweight has been connected to a host of diseases so it’s important to know we ARE overweight when we are. So, I changed my strategy.
How Often I Weigh Myself
I find a good middle-of-the-road approach for me is to weigh myself every Friday morning. Here’s why:
- Weighing daily is discouraging to me, personally, in general. I get too fixated on that number and let down days get me frustrated.
- I chose weekly so I don’t have any surprises. A month is too much opportunity for me to get too far off-track of my goals.
- I chose Friday because I tend to be better at eating and working out during the workweek. Why weigh yourself after a weekend on a “down” day? My philosophy is that over a week, it evens out.
- Weighing on a positive day puts me in a better mood and more motivated.
HOWEVER, I skip weeks when I know it doesn’t matter and it might be discouraging. For example, I didn’t bother weighing myself in the month of December when I know the holidays have derailed me a bit. I still worked out 5 times a week but I knew I was eating and drinking more than usual. I hopped on the scale in January to find myself the same weight as I was in November. No need for me to see the ups and downs through those several weeks!
How often you should weigh yourself will depend on your own personality as far as what motivates you and what discourages you. If you dread getting on the scale, it might NOT help you to look at it daily. If it inspires you, then go for it! If you do weigh yourself daily, consider averaging the weights across the entire week to get a better idea of whether your nutrition plan is working or not. This will incorporate the different factors that might influence your weight such as how much water your drank or your bowel movements.
If you decide to weigh yourself monthly, be sure to watch for clothes or jewelry fitting tighter to make sure you don’t have any unwanted surprises.
There isn’t a right or wrong way but there is likely a more “right” way for YOU that will keep you motivated and feeling better about yourself.