Stop Weighing Yourself Every Day
When you’re trying to lose fat (or build muscle), the scale is a useful tool in your arsenal.
It gives you an important indicator of how things are going, and we definitely recommend weighing yourself consistently.
In fact, I’ve already written on this topic extensively in my article on how to weigh yourself properly here.
But I’ll tell you something else…
There is definitely such a thing as weighing yourself too much – at least for a lot of people.
For this reason, I’m going to say flat out that I don’t recommend daily weigh-ins for the vast majority of people.
And if I find that one of my clients is weighing themselves each day, I’ll often have to put a stop to this silly behavior.
Obsession With The Scale
Now when I take on a new client that is serious about losing weight, they are often in a highly-motivated mental state.
They are ready to work hard, eat right – and damn it, they want to be rewarded for their efforts with some measurable results!
All of this is completely fair.
Unfortunately, the barometer of success that so many people fixate on is scale weight.
They’ll step on the scale in the morning, and if it gives them a good number they’ll have a bounce in their step for the rest of the day.
On the other hand, if it spits out an undesirable reading, then they’re left feeling pretty bad about themselves.
Does this sound at all like you?
If so, read on to learn why you don’t need to torture yourself like this.
Why You Shouldn’t Weigh Yourself Daily
OK, now that we’ve looked a bit at the love/hate relationship that many people have with the scale, I want to go into why I don’t believe that most people should weigh themselves every day.
Actually, there are several reasons for this…
Let’s look at them together.
Daily Weight Fluctuations Are Largely Meaningless
Yes, if you weigh yourself each day, you’ll start to notice that your weight bounces up and down significantly – sometimes as much as several pounds in a 24 hour period.
I know, it would be great if weight loss happened in a purely linear fashion, but that’s not the reality here!
And this doesn’t mean that you gained or lost fat, built or shed muscle; in fact, it means pretty much nothing.
These variations are generally the result of differences in water retention, muscle/liver glycogen, and when you last went to the bathroom.
In many ways, to use stock-market terminology, you can look at this simply as volatility.
You see, in the past, I used to trade currency for a living, and would use price to help determine when I should make trades.
When I was looking for potential trades to make, I would look at what was happening with price across different timeframes.
There were monthly timeframes, weekly timeframes, daily timeframes, hourly timeframes, and even minute timeframes.
As a newer trader, I often wanted to make quick trades (and quick profits), and was therefore drawn to the smaller timeframes.
This would result in me basing my trade decisions on what was happening on a very short-term basis.
However, the problem with this approach is that what was happening on this timeframe was often meaningless – referred to in industry parlance as “market noise”.
Market noise could be a lot of things (and I’ll spare you the discussion of those factors in this article), but it generally didn’t reveal any significant price trends.
Unfortunately, if you make trading decisions based on these quick price fluctuations, as I soon realized, you are likely to make a lot of stupid decisions – and lose a lot of money.
Despite all of the excitement – all of the minute-by-minute price data – there wasn’t a clearly defined pattern to draw conclusions from.
In many ways, this is exactly the same problem that faces people who choose to weigh themselves each day…
Your scale weight in the end is just data – something that you should use to inform your decisions, like whether to increase or decrease your caloric intake.
If you are looking at your scale weight bouncing around day to day, it can be very difficult to make sensible decisions, which can seriously hurt your ability to make consistent weight loss progress.
And this brings me to the next reason…
It’s Not Worth The Emotional Roller Coaster Ride
Unless you truly have nerves of steel, it is almost masochistic to weigh yourself daily.
Each day, you’ll get up and step on the scale – and each day, you’ll get a predictably varied reading of your body weight.
If it’s heading in the right direction, you’ll be pleased; if not, you’ll be upset.
And if you’re like many people I work with, you’ll tend to be a lot harder on yourself on the days that it doesn’t go in the right direction, compared to the level of happiness you feel on the days where it does.
Human nature, after all.
But why put yourself through this emotional stress every day, especially if you aren’t able to use this data to make reasonable decisions?
Well, in the interest of self-preservation, you really shouldn’t do this to yourself.
You’ll end up making your scale weight far too big of a fixture in your daily life – much more than it actually needs to be.
So How Often Should You Weigh Yourself Then?
For most of my clients, I recommend taking weekly weigh-ins.
It is frequent enough to be useful for measuring changes to your body, but not so frequent that you’ll get mired in meaningless data and drive yourself crazy!
Pick one morning each week and weigh yourself then consistently – making sure to do so under the same exact conditions each time (first thing in the morning, before you’ve eaten or drank anything, and after you’ve peed).
And after you’re done, put the scale out of sight for a week until it’s time to weigh yourself again.
Yes, you’ll still be subject to the emotions of the scale sometimes not giving you the answer that you’d like – but it will be far less mentally consuming, and the readings it gives you will be a lot more actionable.
Then, as a general rule of thumb, you should look at your average weight changes over a 2-3 week period of time.
If things aren’t moving along appropriately in that timeframe, make an adjustment; otherwise, stay the course – being consistent with your diet and your workouts – and try not to give this number any more attention than it deserves.