Should you weigh yourself daily?

September 14, 2018 Providence Health Team

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be a little apprehensive about weighing yourself every day. Seeing the pounds drop on the scale may encourage you to continue with your healthy habits, but seeing weight gain may cause disappointment and increase the risk of developing a negative body image.

On the other hand, research suggests that weighing yourself daily could actually help. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine revealed that female college students who weighed themselves daily showed a significant decrease in body fat percentage than those who weighed themselves less often.

A typical scale doesn’t account for the same variables that a Body Mass Index (BMI) monitor does, such as hydration levels, muscle mass, and even weight-gain hormones. Getting these in check can help with managing your weight. Combining your traditional bathroom scale with a BMI calculator will help you understand your weight better. For patients with heart disease or heart failure, changing what you eat and drink to prevent fluid retention and the associated weight gain can be important.

It’s well known that healthy lifestyle plays a large role in maintaining optimal weight and mitigating risk factors. If you’re predisposed to heart disease or other chronic conditions, build and reinforce everyday habits that prevent extra weight gain. Keep in mind that losing too much weight can also take a negative toll on the body. It can be normal to eat less as you age, but not if it causes drastic weight loss.

Getting on the scale is just one way to tell if your medical condition could be changing.

How to measure weight at your waistline

Tips for weighing yourself

  • Try to wear the same thing each time you weigh yourself, or wear nothing at all.
  • Remove shoes and any heavy items of clothing.
  • Weigh yourself in the morning after using the bathroom.
  • Do not have anything to eat or drink before getting on the scale.
  • Use the same scale everyday – consider investing in a BMI scale.
  • Find out what your dry weight is (your body weight without any extra fluid – get this information from your doctor)
  • Compare your dry weight to your daily weight by keeping a calendar.
  • Be vigilant about how you feel each day. Do you notice swelling? Extra fluid? Sudden weight gain?
  • Bring your notes with you each time you visit the doctor.

A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise will also contribute to what you see on the scale. Your doctor may recommend that you limit your sodium intake, as sodium can contribute to fluid build-up and weight gain.

Does healthy mean skinny?

Weight loss is a multi-faceted journey that is about more than just being skinny. Behavioral modification and a healthy mindset are key. Teaming with a trusted health care provider is essential to developing a weight loss plan that is right for you. Find a Providence St. Joseph Health physician near you.

AK: Providence Outpatient Diabetes and Nutrition Center

CA: Providence Bariatrics; St. Joseph Health Center for Health Promotion

MT: Providence Bariatric Services and Weight Loss Surgery

Missoula Bariatric Program:

OR: Providence Nutrition Services and Weight Management Resources

WA: Providence Nutrition Consultations; Providence Bariatric Services and Weight Loss Surgery; Swedish Weight Loss Services

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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