Being overweight is a major health risk and is affecting all ages, including adults and teens. According to a 2016 report, more than 40% of 18–25-year-old in the U.S. meet the criteria for overweight or obesity with an increased cardiometabolic risk.1
While losing weight and keeping fit is a trend, knowing the right ways to do it is important. Now that you are on a weight loss plan, should you be checking your weight every day? Are there any pros and cons of checking weight every day? Let us understand this in detail.
Should You Be Checking Your Weight Every Day?
Your body weight shows fluctuations throughout the day and various factors affect weight loss. Hence, it is important to know the right time and rate of checking your weight.
People have become aware of the negative effects of being overweight and the health risks associated with it. This has encouraged most people to be more alert about their health and many have started following a healthy and active lifestyle. Apart from counting calories, eating moderately and burning more calories, losing weight, or keeping a check on your weight is a ritual followed by many. Indeed, weight loss has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases and other obesity-related disorders. However, it is necessary to understand how healthy behaviors are adopted and the best ways to go ahead with them.
Regular monitoring of dietary intake, adding physical activity into your daily routine, and keeping a check on your body weight is considered some of the best healthy behaviors to ensure healthy weight management. When it comes to managing your weight, counting the calorie intake, energy tracking, physical activity tracking, and other monitoring may be cumbersome for many. Hence, checking weight regularly is considered ideal by people trying to lose weight and stay healthy. However, there are certain things to be considered when checking weight as it can be influenced by many factors.
While checking the weight may seem a convenient option there are many questions revolving around it. Should you check your weight in the morning or the evening? Should you be checking your weight every day? These are some of the common queries that may come to your mind. Monitoring body weight has its advantages as it helps self-control of dietary intake and physical activity. However, in some cases, it can also have a negative impact and psychological outcomes and can also lead to demotivation or disordered eating behaviors.
Your weight fluctuates from day to day, hence over a longer period, it can give an understanding of energy intake and consumption. Also, other factors like dietary intake, regular bodily functions, physiological conditions, water retention, etc. may play a role in determining the weight every day. While it is true that checking weight may offer a great way of weight monitoring, whether you should be checking your weight every day or at regular intervals is something that needs to be understood in detail. Let us look at what some research studies say about this.
Frequent Weight Checks
Experts have been suggesting that you check your weight to know if you have achieved your fitness goals. Several studies have suggested that frequent self‐weighing may be a feasible approach to promoting self‐regulation, particularly during the high‐risk developmental phase of early adulthood. A 2016 study concluded that in adults aged 18 to 25 years frequent self-weighing was associated with greater weight losses, which was consistent with the findings in adults.1
Impact of Regular Self-Weighing
Several other studies have supported frequent self-weighing, which suggests that you should be checking your weight more often. Some of the benefits of frequent self-weighing seem to be appealing in some cases that can help boost effective weight management and help maintain healthy behaviors.
Many people experience challenges associated with losing weight or preventing gaining weight again. Hence, many people turn to some form of external assistance like joining a support group, seeing help from a clinical counseling program, or a self-help guide. The main aim is to help them initiate healthy behaviors or maintain the behavior changes required to lose weight. In such cases, a major component of these forms of assistance involves some kind of instruction and motivation in behavioral self-management skills like goal-setting or stimulus control. In particular, regular self-monitoring of weight has been recommended as a key component of behavioral self-regulation of body weight.2
Many people find it motivating to check their weight every day and feel happy when they see even a small amount of weight loss. It makes them believe that they are on the right track and get motivated to continue giving their best.
Yet another study suggests positive outcomes of checking your weight regularly. A 2020 Study results indicate that self-weighing can help patients to lose additional weight. The study findings have implications in the emerging area of the behavioral approach of patients undergoing weight-loss treatment, as well as clinical care processes. In this study, 54 men were divided into two groups and were given the same nutritional and educational advice for weight loss targets. One group was engaged with weight self-monitoring – the intervention group while the other was without it – the control group for 6 months. The intervention group showed significant changes in weight loss and fat percentage.3
Need for Research
While this is true, checking your weight every day can also affect you in other ways. Say if there is no loss of weight on certain days, it can also make a person feel demotivated. A weight fluctuates, there could be other reasons for not having lost any weight on certain days, but if it makes a person emotionally upset and demotivated to continue healthy behaviors, it can be harmful.
Some studies have also shown their concern about frequent self-weighing and whether it is useful in the long run or to help maintain weight for a longer period. Based on the evidence, it seems that frequently checking your weight can be a good predictor of moderate weight loss, less weight regains, or the avoidance of weight gain in adults. However, some studies suggest that more targeted research is needed in this area to determine the causal role of frequent self-weighing in weight loss or weight gain prevention programs.2 Similarly, the exact way in which self- weighing must be done needs to be understood. This calls for more research on the optimal frequency of checking weight, the possibilities of the associated risk of checking your weight every day, and the risks posed for negative psychological consequences.
On the other hand, some experts also doubt if self-weighing alone is that effective or considering the possible negative effects, whether you should check your weight every day or not. Some studies conclude that there is a lack of evidence on whether advising self-weighing without other intervention components is effective. Adding self-weighing to a behavioral weight loss program may improve weight loss, which can make the weight loss programs more effective than minimal interventions.4
Possibility of Negative Effects of Checking Weight Everyday
Though self-weighing has shown promise in aiding weight control, the degree to which weight loss, and not self-weighing, affects psychological outcomes is not clear.
Experts are concerned about the potential for adverse effects of self-weighing in some individuals.5
When you think if you should be checking your weight every day, which can be a motivating factor if there is a positive outcome and you see some weight loss. But there is always a risk of developing negative emotions if there is no weight loss, when in fact no change in weight could have occurred by any other factor that is beyond your control. Monitoring body weight regularly or more often has the advantage that it is relatively easy as compared to other weight control self-monitoring tasks like tracking calories and can make you more accountable. But can have disadvantages too. It can be misleading as it cannot differentiate between weight gain due to increased muscle mass, fat gain, or water retention. Here, other factors too must be considered regular but not very often weight measurement may be considered. Also, given changes in weight status may be beyond the individual’s control and hence can be discouraging for some. It thus has the potential to lead to frustration when desired weight changes do not appear on the scale. This can be demotivating and can lead to negative eating behaviors like not considering healthy eating patterns or indulging in unhealthy foods for emotional satisfaction.
Thus, considering the pros and cons of frequent self-weighing, you will be able to decide if you should be checking your weight every day or regularly but less frequently. Checking weight every week, at the same time of the day and keeping a record of the health status, dietary patterns, and menstrual phases of women would be a good idea.