Your bathroom scale may be more controversial than you think. The conventional wisdom that warned against weighing yourself every day is supported by some experts and challenged by others.
Meanwhile, people are all over the place with how they’re using their scales. By some estimates, about 20% of the population refrain from weighing themselves, 40% weigh themselves weekly or daily, and the rest do so occasionally.
Whatever you decide, your scale can be an asset when you’re trying to watch your weight. Consider these guidelines for when and how to weigh in.
When to Use Your Scale
1. Start a daily practice. A University of Minnesota study found that dieters who weighed themselves every day lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves weekly. They were also better at keeping the weight off.
2. Weigh in less often. On the other hand, many experts still advise against daily weight checks for certain groups. That includes those who may get discouraged by meaningless fluctuations and the lack of quick results.
3. Make it social. Weight Watchers recommends that individuals trying to shed pounds wait until meetings to get on the scale. That way they’ll have support around.
4. Catch slips early. That suggestion is reversed when you’re trying to maintain your figure. Then, Weight Watchers suggests you stay vigilant so you can make corrections promptly. That could be especially important if you have a condition such as diabetes.
5. Monitor your mood. People who are experiencing depression or battling eating disorders may also want to limit their time on the scale.
How to Use Your Scale
1. Keep your old scale.
2. Go digital.
Hold onto that scale with the needle if you want. It may be a little imprecise, but if you use it consistently, it will work out.
If you’re ready to trade up, digital scales are more accurate and easier to read.
3. Hit the gym.
For even more reliability, stand on the scale at your health club or doctor’s office. Buying a professional model for your home is pricey.
4. Add more features.
Scales have gotten fancier in recent years. Now you can get models that do far more than measure pounds. Some even check out your body fat, water content, bone mass, and indoor air quality. Opt for a solar powered scale if you’re an environmentalist.
5. Incorporate your scale into your morning routine.
6. Consider other measurements.
The early morning hours are the best time to weigh yourself. Even better, you’ll probably be at your lowest weight unless you got up for a snack during the night.
There are many ways to track how your diet is going. Try on a pair of your favorite jeans or any form fitting clothing. Pay special attention to fat around your midsection. A firm abdomen has many health benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease.
7. Adjust for clothing.
Stripping down will make you lighter. Apparel usually adds about 3 to 5 pounds to your body weight.
8. Track your progress.
However often you use your scale, log your performance if you’re trying to reach a certain goal. Documenting your results will increase your awareness and motivation.
9. Consult your physician.
Consult your physician about your individual dieting needs. Your health care team can help you find the best weight loss strategy for you. They can also advise you about how your body weight may affect any medical conditions you’re concerned about.
Make your scale part of your weight loss plan. Select a model with the features you like and follow a schedule that works for you.