People often ask me if weighing yourself is really necessary. I mean, don’t most of us kind of know what direction we’re going in, weight-wise? And is fixating on a number the best way to get healthy?
My answer: weighing yourself regularly – but not too often – is a healthy habit.
Here’s why weighing yourself is beneficial:
- You can catch “slip-ups” before they turn into significant weight gain. If you’ve been eating poorly or slacking on exercise for a few weeks, and you see the number on the scale go up by a pound each week, you have the opportunity to do something about it before it gets really challenging. When only a few pounds stand between you and your healthy weight range, getting back on track is pretty easy. Later, you’ll have to make more, and bigger, lifestyle changes which take even more effort.
- Weight is one of the primary indicators of overall health. If you’re overweight, you are more likely to have or develop other health problems. Even if you’re of a strong build, maintaining a healthy weight and BMI is important for long-term health.
- Facing reality can promote change. If you have noticed your pants getting a little tighter over time, but haven’t stepped on the scale, you may be tempted to just buy slightly bigger pants. But if you step on the scale and see a number that jolts you a little, it might prompt you to begin making some lifestyle changes.
- You can see progress. When you’re trying hard to eat healthy or be consistent with exercise, you want to see results! Watching your weight go down a little each week is motivating and rewarding. Even a 0.5 lb/week decrease means you’re cutting or burning 250 calories/day – which takes real effort!
How often should you weigh yourself?
I recommend weighing yourself weekly if you’re actively trying to lose or maintain weight. Aim to weigh yourself at about the same time on the same day each week, so you can see the overall trend over the course of a few months. Stepping on the scale more than that isn’t necessary, and may make you overly obsessed. We all fluctuate a little day-to-day, due to water, salt, hormones, digestion, etc – but these daily fluctuations are not means to worry.
Here is a little more info on how often to weigh yourself, and when you might not want to weigh yourself.