When Are You Supposed To Weigh Yourself
Weight loss is one of those things we all know we should do but don’t always follow through on. For some people, it’s just too hard or they don’t have enough motivation; for others, there are certain circumstances that may interfere with their ability to maintain healthy habits. The truth is, weight loss isn’t as easy as just “not eating.” It requires an overall lifestyle change that includes proper nutrition, exercise and rest. And while these three factors are important, sometimes our health problems play a bigger role than any one factor could ever account for. When this happens, it’s often helpful to use a tool like a fitness tracker to help us stay motivated.
One such tool is weighing oneself regularly. While most experts agree that it’s best to weigh oneself first thing in the morning, some argue that it doesn’t matter when you weigh yourself. What matters is how much you’ve lost over time, not necessarily what day of the week you weigh in. This makes sense since many people find it easier to track progress based on weekly changes rather than daily ones. But does weighing someone every day really help them lose more weight? If so, why?
There are two main reasons. First, if your goal is to lose weight, then being able to measure your own progress will provide better feedback about whether or not you’re making the right choices. Second, regular weighing allows you to take advantage of something called regression toward the mean. Regression toward the mean simply means that small fluctuations tend to even out over time. So if you’re consistently gaining weight, then weigh yourself each day to see if the trend continues. If it does continue, then you might want to adjust your diet or exercise regimen to bring the trend back towards zero.
The other reason why weighing yourself routinely is beneficial is because it helps you break bad habits. Many people who struggle with weight issues will start off by losing weight quickly but end up regaining the weight later on. By measuring your weight several times per week, however, you’ll be able to identify patterns with regards to your behavior. Once you notice a pattern developing, you can begin taking steps to correct the problem at hand. In fact, one study showed that participants who weighed themselves once per week were less successful at maintaining weight loss compared to those who weighed themselves twice per week.
So now that you know why weighing yourself consistently is good for you, here are a few guidelines to consider before stepping on the scale.
Try to weigh yourself first thing in the morning — preferably after fasting.
This is because you need to give your body enough time to digest its food without interference from hormones released after eating. Another reason is that during sleep, your metabolism slows down significantly. As such, if you eat immediately afterwards, you may overestimate your actual weight simply due to digestion. Also, if you wake up and immediately go straight to breakfast, plan to check your weight later in the day.
Don’t weigh yourself more than once per week — unless necessary.
While it’s true that tracking weight on a weekly basis provides a better idea of where you stand compared to using a daily basis, excessive monitoring can cause unnecessary stress. If your goal is to shed pounds instead of gain muscle mass, then weighing yourself frequently could actually prevent you from achieving your goals. For example, if you weigh yourself daily and you constantly feel discouraged, you may stop exercising altogether. However, if you weigh yourself only once per week, you won’t be affected negatively by negative emotions.
If you do weigh yourself daily, try keeping it simple — no scales or gadgets required!
You don’t need fancy equipment to know if you gained weight or lost weight. Just keep a tape measure by your bedside and step onto it whenever you get the urge to check. A recent study found that people who tracked their waist measurements were more likely to stick to weight management plans compared to those who didn’t monitor their waists [sources: Bhatnagar et al., Sobal].
Track your progress as desired.
Whether your intention is to lose weight or to gain muscle mass, knowing how you’re progressing is very motivating. Some people enjoy seeing numbers drop, whereas others prefer to focus on positive words like ‘lose’ or ‘gain’. Whatever works best for you, just remember to remain consistent.
Keep a record of your weight history.
Tracking your weight history will show you trends over time that can help motivate you to continue improving. For example, if you noticed that you used to weigh 200 lbs. five years ago, but today you weigh 180 lbs., you may decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle accordingly. On the other hand, if you saw that your current weight is higher than before, maybe you should take extra care to avoid overeating.
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