To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

January 5, 2016 Edited by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Holidays

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It’s the first week of January – so chances are, you’re still on board with your New Year’s resolutions. But did you know that approximately 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the 2nd week in February?

Many folks resolve to eat better, exercise more and lose weight in the New Year. And if this description fits you, you’ve probably got a goal weight in mind.

So when it comes to weighing yourself, the big question is – how often should one weigh in to stick to a weight loss plan so you don’t become a mid-February resolution failure statistic?

The old school of thought used to be don’t weigh yourself too often or you’ll become neurotic about the number on the scale. But other data indicates that regular weighing is important to stay on track towards your goal. Who’s right? Or does the scale really even matter?

Weigh Every Day

Registered Dietitian and nutrition communications consultant Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD suggests weighing yourself regularly, stating, “If you weigh yourself every morning, that can really nip in the bud any weight gain, or start to show you some weight loss.” Giancoli recommends weighing in at the same time every day, preferably first thing in the morning.

Throw the Scale Away

On the other side of the spectrum, Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Registered Dietitian and owner of recommends her clients leave weigh-ins for doctor’s visits and get rid of their personal scales. Stenovec notes, “Most weight loss goals are made with health in mind, so I suggest that individuals focus on actual behaviors that impact their health – rather than weight change. Focusing on weight can actually sabotage healthy changes.”

Consistency is Key

However you decide to go about self-weighing or tracking other health-related behaviors, consistency is key. The National Weight Control Registry, a cohort of “successful losers” (those who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for 1 year or more) keeps track of common behaviors shared by those with successful weight loss experiences. The NWCR has found that 75% of successful losers weigh themselves at least once a week.

Thinking Beyond the Scale

While the number on the scale may matter if you’re working towards a weight loss goal – don’t forget it’s not your only barometer to health-related success. If you pick up regular exercise after a period of inactivity, you may not initially lose much weight as you convert fat to muscle.

Pay attention to other markers of success besides dropping lbs, such as:

  • Reduced waist circumference – can you notch your belt a little tighter or go down a pants size? If so you’re losing belly fat and that is a major accomplishment even if your weight isn’t reducing as quickly as you’d like
  • Lowered blood pressure measurements – regular exercise and improved diet can help lower blood pressure in people prone to high blood pressure; improvements in this metric are vital to reducing cardiovascular risk, even without weight loss
  • Improved energy level – do you feel more energized and less sluggish with your recent improvements in diet and exercise? If so congratulate yourself on improved quality of life, which in the larger scheme of things is probably more important than the number on the scale!


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