Getting on the scale probably isn’t in the top ten of most people’s favorite things to do. Researchers say there is good reason to do it anyway and, in fact, often. How often is often? For best results, weigh every day.

Why you should weigh every day

Sure, stepping on the scale can be stressful for the 30 seconds it takes. The upside is it may lead to better choices during the remaining 86,370 seconds of the day. That’s because the number on the scale provides information that subtly guides our food and exercise choices throughout the day. Checking weight gives us real time information about how close (or far) we are from our goals. We are then more likely to use the number to improve or stay on track. Studies bear this out. Here is just one example: researchers measured weight loss among two groups of women. One group weighed daily and the other group weighed four times weekly. At the end of the study, participants who had weighed daily, weighed less. Think about it. When you adjust along the way it may be easier to keep weight off. When you wait until you have already gained two or several pounds, weight loss may be harder.

When to weigh – Try to weigh in at the same time every day. Wear little or no clothing for the most accurate reading (jeans weigh more than jammies). Don’t be too concerned by small fluctuations. Factors like fluid and hormone levels can impact the needle lands.

Weight lossTwo caveats…
1. Muscle weighs more. As you build muscle and lose fat you will look trim and toned, but the number on the scale may be the same. Give more attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel.
2. If weighing daily causes too much distress or trauma (such as an eating disorder) come up with a plan that works for you.

Alternatives to try
• Notice how your clothes fit. Maybe your waistband isn’t as snug as it used to be.
• Check for rising energy. You know you’re making progress when you get faster or hang in with your workout longer.
• Monitor mood or sleep patterns. Both improve with exercise.
• Monitor health. Blood pressure often improves with exercise.

If you’re working to lose or maintain your current weight an effective strategy to add to your toolbox is a daily step up on the scale. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself you are a work in progress. Monitoring your weight provides feedback you can use for better outcomes.