Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

I know you hate to look at the scale, and some trainers even suggest throwing out the scale, but the truth is, keeping an eye on your weight helps. Plus, I have 3 other measures you should take on a regular basis that are even more important.

But first, when researchers reviewed the studies on self-weighing (i.e. checking your bodyweight on the scale), to see if it helped or hindered weight loss. Some folks say it can have a negative effect causing you to get discouraged.

However, 11 of the 12 studies reviewed indicated that more frequent self-weighing was associated with greater weight loss or weight gain prevention.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008 Nov 4;5(1):54. The Impact of Regular Self-weighing on Weight Management: A Systematic Literature Review.

In fact, folks who did weekly or daily weighing over at least several months tended to lose more weight than folks who didn't do regular self-weighing.

The researchers admit the studies weren't perfect, but there doesn't seem to be anything bad about weighing yourself frequently, and through my experience with clients, we've found that weighing yourself every couple of days does help keep you on track for fat loss and for keeping the weight off.

However, you need to understand that your weight can fluctuate up or down from time to time based on the salt content of the foods you eat, the phase of a woman's menstrual cycle, and previous day's food and activity habits. So don't hit the panic button if your weight jumps up one day. Just make sure the general trend is downward.

And to compliment your weighing, you should also have your body fat estimated along with taking your limb, hip and waist circumferences every four weeks. Plus, sometimes there's nothing better than looking in the mirror to guage your results.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

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