Should I Weigh Myself Every Day?

Should-weigh-daily-heartcurrents




Dr. Parker’s Commentary

 

There are numerous conflicting articles on the Web on both sides of this question about daily weighing. 

When I am trying to make a decision about something, it try to review most of the articles I can about an issue and then make a decision.

The problem with all advice and research findings is that it applies to the average and not to the individual. 

 On the average, eating whole grains is probably a good idea; however, if you have celiac disease, this could be a life threatening choice.

Some people will react to taking their weight with depression and negative self-talk if the scale suggests they are not losing weight; while this kind of emotional reaction is grist for counseling, the emotional reaction may in itself make weight loss more difficult.   One would not suggest that someone with these reactions should take their weight every day. 

For me — and this is just for me — I find that taking my weight every day is useful.  If over a week or two I am not losing at least some weight on the average, then I change my approach — having more soups,  putting my fork down between bites, or — and just the thought of it is enough to make me stay away from eating — keep a food journal.  

There is saying sometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” 

 Daily weighing can be a type of vigilance that can lead to freedom from weight related health problems, in the long run.  

However,  I would not suggest being vigilant all the time — it would be so stressful one would have to eat just to take the edge off.   

Being weight vigilant 80% of the time should be enough — the 80/20 rules is a topic for another post. 

 




 Journal of the American Diet Association
January 2011

Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Abstract

Self-monitoring is the centerpiece of behavioral weight loss intervention programs. This article presents a systematic review of the literature on three components of self-monitoring in behavioral weight loss studies: diet, exercise and self-weighing. This review included articles that were published between 1993 and 2009 that reported on the relationship between weight loss and these self-monitoring strategies. Of the 22 studies identified, 14 focused on dietary self-monitoring, one on self-monitoring exercise and six on self-weighing. A wide array of methods was used to perform self-monitoring; the paper diary was used most often. Adherence to self-monitoring was reported most frequently as the number of diaries completed or the frequency of log-ins or reported weights. The use of technology, which included the Internet, personal digital assistants and electronic digital scales were reported in five studies. Descriptive designs were used in the earlier studies while more recent reports involved prospective studies and randomized trials that examined the effect of self-monitoring on weight loss. A significant association between self-monitoring and weight loss was consistently found; however, the level of evidence was weak because of methodological limitations. The most significant limitations of the reviewed studies were the homogenous samples and reliance on self-report. In all but two studies, the samples were predominantly White and female. This review highlights the need for studies in more diverse populations, for objective measures of adherence to self-monitoring, and for studies that establish the required dose of self-monitoring for successful outcomes.




International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

May, 2008

The Impact of Regular Self-weighing on Weight Management: A Systematic Literature Review

Background

Regular self-weighing has been a focus of attention recently in the obesity literature. It has received conflicting endorsement in that some researchers and practitioners recommend it as a key behavioral strategy for weight management, while others caution against its use due to its potential to cause negative psychological consequences associated with weight management failure. The evidence on frequent self-weighing, however, has not yet been synthesized. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the evidence regarding the use of regular self-weighing for both weight loss and weight maintenance.

Methods

Twelve studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria, but nearly half received low evidence grades in terms of methodological quality. Findings from 11 of the 12 reviewed studies indicated that more frequent self-weighing was associated with greater weight loss or weight gain prevention. Specifically, individuals who reported self-weighing weekly or daily, typically over a period of several months, held a 1 to 3 kg/m2(current) advantage over individuals who did not self-weigh frequently. The effects of self-weighing in experimental studies, especially those where self-weighing behaviors could be isolated, were less clear.

Based on the consistency of the evidence reviewed, frequent self-weighing, at the very least, seems to be a good predictor of moderate weight loss, less weight regain, or the avoidance of initial weight gain in adults. More targeted research is needed in this area to determine the causal role of frequent self-weighing in weight loss/weight gain prevention programs. Other open questions to be pursued include the optimal dose of self-weighing, as well as the risks posed for negative psychological consequences.




Healthline
January 3, 2017
Adda Bjarnadottir

Why You May Want to Weigh Yourself Every Day

At any given moment, an estimated 24% of men and 38% of women in the US are trying to lose weight.

Meanwhile, obesity has skyrocketed and working-age adults are gaining about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) annually, on average.

Recent studies have shown that daily self-weighing may be a powerful tool for both losing and maintaining weight.

However, many people believe that weighing yourself daily contributes to bad mental health and disordered eating habits.

So what should you believe? This article sets the record straight on whether you should start weighing yourself daily.

Weighing Yourself Daily Helps You Lose More Weight

The simple act of self-weighing has received lots of attention and stirred up controversy for years.

Some people have even thrown away their scale, claiming that it’s a highly misleading weight loss tool that results in bad self-esteem and disordered eating habits.

However, recent studies generally agree that daily weighing is associated with greater weight loss and less weight regain than less-frequent self-weighing.

One study showed that participants who weighed themselves daily for six months lost 13 more pounds (6 kg), on average, than those who weighed themselves less frequently.

What’s more, those who weigh themselves daily tend to adopt more favorable weight control behaviors, exercise better restraint toward food and eat impulsively less often.

Interestingly, adopting healthy weight-related behaviors has been shown to be especially important when people emerge from adolescence into adulthood.

One study in participants aged 18–25 showed that daily self-weighing resulted in better weight loss than less-frequent weighing.

The researchers concluded that daily self-weighing is a particularly valuable self-regulation tool for this age group.

Furthermore, another study showed that people who weighed themselves every day ate 347 fewer calories per day than those who did not.

After six months, the group that weighed themselves daily ended up losing a whopping 10 times more weight than the control group.

Daily Weighing May Motivate You and Improve Self-Control

Being aware of your weight is a key factor in successful weight loss.

Awareness of your weight trend — that is, whether your weight is going up or down — is also important.

In fact, weighing yourself more often is linked to weight control, while weighing yourself less often has been associated with weight gain.

One study found that participants who weighed themselves less often were more likely to report increased calorie intake and decreased restraint toward food.

Self-weighing promotes self-regulation and awareness of your weight trend and weight-related behaviors. That’s why it generally results in greater weight loss.

Although the exact number on the scale may be unimportant, monitoring weight loss progress motivates you to keep going and generally improves weight-related behavior and self-control.

Also, by being more aware of your weight, you can quickly react to lapses in your progress and make necessary adjustments to maintain your goal.

Since most people are able to sustain a habit of daily self-weighing, the adherence and acceptability of it is generally quite high

It’s a minor addition to your daily routine that may help you reap major benefits for your weight.

Daily Weighing Helps You Keep the Weight Off

Frequent self-weighing has been shown to be a great way to prevent weight gain in the long-term.

One study investigated how much self-weighing frequency predicted weight change over two years in working adults.

It found that there was a significant link between self-weighing frequency and weight change. In normal-weight individuals, daily weighing resulted in a slight weight loss, while those who weighed themselves monthly gained 4.4 pounds (2 kg), on average.

However, the largest difference was in overweight individuals.

Those who weighed themselves daily lost 10 pounds (4.4 kg), while those who weighed themselves monthly gained 2.2 pounds (1 kg), on average .

Another study came to a similar conclusion, showing that self-weighing was a significant predictor of body weight over time. Participants lost an extra pound (0.45 kg) of body weight for every 11 days they self-weighed.

The main reason why this is so effective is that consistent self-weighing allows you to catch weight gain before it escalates and make the necessary changes to prevent more weight gain.

Weighing Yourself Daily Is Not as Bad as People Think

Not so long ago, frequent self-weighing was thought to be damaging to your mental health. This notion still exists today.

Self-weighing is claimed to have negative effects on your mood by continuously reinforcing that your body size is not ideal or appropriate, resulting in an increased risk of developing an eating disorder.

Although this may be true in a small group of people, most studies have repeatedly come to a different conclusion.

The available research suggests there is very little evidence that frequent self-weighing is a cause of negative mood or body dissatisfaction, especially as part of a weight loss program.

In fact, studies indicate that frequent self-weighing may increase body satisfaction, rather than decrease it.

That said, there is a group of people who may develop a negative body image, low self-esteem or undesirable eating behaviors as a result of daily self-weighing.

If you find that daily self-weighing causes you to have bad feelings about yourself or your eating behaviors, you should find other methods to measure your progress.

How to Weigh Yourself for Best Results

The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up, after going to the bathroom and before you eat or drink.

Your weight tends to fluctuate less in the morning than later in the day when you’ve had plenty to eat and drink. That is also why people weigh the least in the morning.

Also, it is best if you always weigh yourself in similar clothing each day.

However, you need to keep in mind that your weight may fluctuate from day to day and can be affected by many factors, including:

–What you ate or drank the previous day
–Bloating or water retention
–Menstrual cycle
–Whether you’ve had bowel movements recently

Therefore, it is important to assess the trend of your weight over a longer period of time, instead of drawing conclusions from each and every weighing.

A basic scale will do just fine. However, many scales also have the ability to measure your body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and muscle mass, which may help you get a better picture of your progress.

There are also several apps available for your phone or computer that allow you to easily enter your daily weight and see the trend of your weight change. Happy Scale for iPhone and Librafor Android are two such apps.




For References in the above article, see the original article;

Healthline does far better than most websites in referencing their material.




Link: Substantial Benefits to Losing 5% of Your Weight 




Dr. Parker is a 68 year old heart attack survivor and cardiac psychologist.He is an Honors graduate of Stanford University with forty years of clinical experience. Dr. Parker is available for consultation on heart matters. Contact him at heartcurrents(at)gmail.com.