For years I weighed myself religiously every Friday morning. It was something I looked forward to, denying myself the privilege of even a sneak peek any other time throughout the week. This was a rule by which I faithfully abided. Who made the rule? I have no idea. But I remember hearing it throughout my life spoken by my mom, friends’ moms, the gym teacher that doubled as a health class teacher, the people in the Weight Watchers commercials, the guest doctor on Ricki Lake… The message was always the same: weighing yourself more than once a week resulted in weight obsession and demoralizing frustration over naturally occurring fluctuations.
I listened and abided by that rule in a way I only wish I had about the dangers of cigarettes and drugs (and boys). I was convinced that one extra weigh in was a slippery slope to anorexia. And so I listened to all those women and doctors and waited for Friday mornings.
Until April 9, 2016, which was a Saturday. Looking at my years’ worth of carefully logged weights, I can recall precisely what compelled me to break my cardinal rule and weigh myself that morning. You see, the weight that Saturday morning was exactly 2.1 pounds more than the morning before it. I must have gone out that Friday night or over-indulged and my curiosity about the damage got the best of me. It felt like ten pounds and I assumed it would be five or six. But no, it was 2.1. And the very next day? Back to Friday’s weight.
And that brings me to the seven reasons why I weigh myself every day.
1. Weighing myself every day STOPS the obsession and stories around NOT knowing.
This is the reason why it all started. I was convinced I had gained five pounds in one Friday night. I was often convinced of this. And I let the story play on repeat ALL.WEEK.LONG. I guessed and anticipated and obsessed over my weight based on what I ate one day. It was exhausting. Weighing myself stops all of that. And more often than not, I am pleasantly surprised. The stories in our heads are often worse than the reality.
2. One number no longer has the power to ruin my weekends.
There were so many weekends that were literally ruined by my Friday weight. I gave that digital number on the scale the power to set the tone for my entire weekend. That number either validated or condemned my efforts for the entire week before it, deeming it either a success or epic failure. And when it was bad, I carried anger and frustration with me. Especially if I thought I should weigh less than I did. As a result, I often overate that weekend to make myself feel better. And many of us know how well that works…
3. It allows for the detection of weight patterns and trends.
Weighing in once a week doesn’t provide enough data to work with in a productive way, especially if you’re a data nerd like me. All those weeks I thought I did great only to find the same number on the scale come Friday infuriated and demotivated me. Weight fluctuations occur for so many reasons. Maybe on a particular Friday I hadn’t had a bowel movement recently. Or maybe I was retaining water from PMS. There are days that I think the scale should be lower than it is, but it just takes another perfectly normal day, and then boom, my weight drops three pounds. There is not always a rhyme or reason to our weight. But when we weigh ourselves daily and keep notes, we can begin to create a bigger and clearer picture that we can make sense of. Which leads me to number four…
4. Small gains are no longer the end of the world.
When you weigh yourself daily, you come to understand your body, hormonal changes, and natural fluctuations. And when you begin to understand how your body operates, small weight gains no longer signify demoralizing failure.
5. When weighing myself daily I can see just how fast I can lose (or gain) weight.
Weighing in every day keeps me honest. I don’t know about you but I have seen upwards of seven pound weight increases after particularly social weeks. A few of those strung together and you can find yourself in serious trouble. But being armed with daily updates eliminates shocking surprises. The more often you weigh yourself, the less chance there is of weight gain (or loss if that’s what you’re trying to avoid) sneaking up on you.
But if weight loss is your goal, like it is mine, then you can also see how one stellar day of healthy eating, lots of water, and exercise can move the scales in your favor, which is super motivating!
6. I can identify set-points far more easily.
It is really difficult to identify true set-points when you only weigh yourself once a week. I know when I have hit a set point because my weight is the same to the ounce multiple days in a row. And when it does change a little in either direction, it goes right back to that number again. When this happens consistently over the course of two to three weeks, I know I’ve plateaued and need to step up up my game to power through it.
7. Weighing myself every day motivates me to try harder.
I no longer allow myself to indulge early in the week because the saboteur in my brain convinced me I can correct any damage by my Friday weigh-in. Now, every day matters more because every morning I face the reality of my actions from the day before. Weighing myself every day has quieted that voice that tries to bargain and manipulate. “It’s only Monday,” the saboteur would say. “You can totally get a cheeseburger and fries and just be good the rest of the week.” More often than not, I’d listen.
But not anymore. Every day matters.
Is it any wonder why weighing myself only once a week didn’t work for me?
Now trust me when I say that what works for me may NOT work for you. I am simply sharing what DOES work for me, and giving you the permission to try something different. I literally felt wrong when I started weighing myself daily, like I was committing a crime. I reluctantly confessed to my counselor what I had started doing, expecting her to reprimand me for doing something so foolish. But instead, she said, “If that’s what you want to do, try it.”
“Really!” I asked, surprised.
“You need permission? I give you permission.”
And I have been weighing myself daily ever since.
Obviously I am doing lots of other things to help me lose weight. Weighing yourself every day is not the secret to weight loss. But if you are working to lose weight, you may want to give it a try, or maybe start with several times a week. But if your system isn’t broken, then don’t fix it! My previous system of weighing in once a week was broken. And if yours isn’t serving you, then give yourself the permission to try something different, regardless of what you’ve been told.
There are no blanket rules that apply to everyone. And besides, it seems the “rules” are changing. I was happy to see my claim that weighing yourself more often may be beneficial backed up by the latest research. It was revealed at The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting that weighing in at least four times a week can help you drop more pounds. According to Shape magazine, other studies have also shown that frequent weigh-ins increase your motivation by helping you monitor your progress. In fact, another quick Google search results in loads of articles suggesting the same thing.
It works for me.