If you are trying to manage your weight and body fat, you likely track a lot — nutrient tracking, calorie tracking, activity tracking, and of course, weigh-ins. Your scale can be your best friend and motivator in this case, but it can also be your worst nightmare.
How many times have you tried to weigh yourself and received completely different (and disappointing) numbers each time? Or found out your measurement wasn’t as bad as you thought after getting a more accurate reading at the doctor’s office?
Maybe you had no idea that there is a proper time and correct frequency to weigh yourself, so you’ve been assuming that your weight tracking is accurate when it could, in actuality, be completely off.
Wherever you are on your weight management and tracking journey, Able is here to help you achieve your goals.
Today, let’s discuss the best time to weigh yourself so that you can properly track your weight and achieve your wellness goals.
Before we go into the specifics on the best time and frequency to weigh yourself, we want to emphasize that this information is not a “one solution fits all” type of answer.
The answer depends on the person because everyone is different.
If you have a history of eating disorders, weighing yourself every day is likely not a healthy solution for proper weight tracking and management.
This is also true if you have a lot of anxiety around stepping on the scale; if getting your weight measurements adversely affects your self-esteem, weighing yourself more frequently probably isn’t a good solution to your weight management goals, even if this is what your friends who are managing their own weight do.
You need to do what’s best for you and your mental health when it comes to checking your weight, and this means that in answering the question on when is the best time to weigh yourself, you need to ensure that you do not obsess over the numbers and cause yourself undue anxiety or judgment.
How often you weigh yourself will not matter if you are not consistent in your methods when stepping on the scale. Regardless of how often you weigh yourself, you should make an effort to be at least semi-regular in doing so; if you incorporate frequent weight checks into your routine, then you are less likely to forget.
Additionally, you should always use the same scale for consistent readings because every scale is different, and thus different scales might give you different weight reads.
Make sure that you not only use the same scale every time but that this scale is also in the same place every time — this place should be a hard, flat surface (not carpet) for the most accurate measurement. Finally, you should wear the same clothes every time you step on the scale.
You might want to consider weighing yourself while naked, like before or after a shower, as this is often easier than donning the same outfit every morning just to prepare for the scale.
In general, it is a good practice to self-weighing regularly to achieve the best results in your weight management goals.
This means you should weigh yourself consistently rather than here and there, as this spontaneity will likely hinder your weight management outcomes.
How consistent should you be, and how regular is regular for weight checks?
For the best results, general recommendations suggest that you weigh yourself daily. A variety of different studies indicate that participants who weighed themselves daily were far more successful in their weight loss goals than participants who weighed themselves weekly or even less frequently.
Additionally, these participants were more successful either in adopting long-term healthy habits or in keeping the weight off. Overall, daily weight checks are more likely to increase your weight loss results and decrease your likelihood for weight regain.
However, as we mentioned before, this frequency is not right for every person, especially if you are prone to eating disorders or body image-centered anxiety and depression.
The best time of day to weigh yourself is typically in the morning after you first wake up. Taking your weight first thing in the morning is a reliable way to get an accurate reading because your stomach has had all night to digest and process your most recent food and drink consumption.
It is easy to incorporate stepping on the scale into your morning routine, especially when you know that including this helps you get one step closer to achieving your weight management goals.
If daily weight checks are not a healthy or comfortable option, consider weekly weight checks. It is better to weigh yourself at the end of the week as opposed to the beginning because you usually weigh more at the beginning of the week. You can usually attribute higher weight at the start of your week to your weekend habits.
Think about your eating, sleeping, and activity patterns on the weekend compared to the weekdays. Chances are that you eat more calories, sleep more, and are less physically active on the weekend, because you want to rest and recover from your long week.
If you weigh yourself on a Sunday or a Monday, your scale will likely give you a higher number than on a Friday or a Saturday. We suggest Friday or Saturday as the best day of the week to weigh yourself; that way, you record a number that reflects your regular weekly habits and routine regarding nutrition, sleep, and physical activity level.
As you track your weight, remember that overnight weight gain is not an accurate depiction of your overall body weight.
Think about it — one pound of weight gain equates to 3,500 calories, so if your scale tells you that you gained two pounds of weight overnight, it is highly unlikely that you just ate 7,000 calories last night.
Other and more temporary factors, such as consuming lots of sodium or alcohol, water retention, starting your period, or feeling stressed, can tip the scale temporarily higher and give you an inaccurate reading based on this weight fluctuation.
Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture for your overall health goals or weight loss journey!
As we just mentioned, weight fluctuates, and this is both biologically natural and normal. As such, be careful not to fixate on one or two pounds of weight gain that occurs within just a few days.
If several added pounds continue to show on your scale with no fluctuation for over a week, you might want to think about changing your weight management plan. Otherwise, don’t be concerned about a short-term fluctuation.
Graph paper can be helpful to track your weight; this will help you overlook short-term fluctuations and instead focus on the longer-term patterns that are more important towards achieving successful weight management goals.
In general, the best time to weigh yourself is every day, first thing in the morning. However, if stepping on the scale brings anxiety, you should consider stepping off for a bit and instead weigh yourself weekly.
Regardless of how often you decide to weigh yourself to best fit your weight management plan, remember that stepping on the scale is not the only way to track your progress!
You can also measure your waist or thighs to see if you are losing inches and thus losing fat. Additionally, pay attention to improvements in your physical and mental wellbeing, which are great non-numbers indicators towards positive changes in your lifestyle and wellness habits.
You are more than just a number, and Able is here every step of the way to help you develop, implement, and stick to achievable goals with visible results.
There is no industry standard for weight loss, and everyone’s journey is different — the ultimate goal is to be comfortable in your skin to achieve a happier, healthier you.