Weighing in on weighing in | how often do you weigh yourself?

Yesterday was Day 1 of the DietBet I’m currently hosting (I’m super excited, as the ‘pot’ is just over $5000!).

Participants submitted their initial weights sometime between Friday morning and Sunday lunch. Amazingly enough, by mid-afternoon Sunday, nearly 20% of the participants had already updated their weight (and even more amazing, some had already lost significant percentages of their body weight…).


how often do you weight yourself?


Somehow, I hadn’t expected participants to weigh in daily. DietBet only requires initial and final weights. That’s certainly all that I was planning on. How often do you weigh yourself?

Now I’m not really a huge fan of the bathroom scales. And Friday’s weigh in was the first time I’d stepped on mine in about a month. (The number was higher than I expected, so maybe I stayed away too long..). My rationale? My scale weight isn’t a true measure of how fit and healthy I am. I’d rather focus on the number of pushups I can do and how many pounds I can squat, than how much my body weighs.

Truth be told, I’ve always found my scale weight to be higher than I think it should be (given what I used to weigh before graduate school, marriage, kids and peri-menopause…) and get discouraged when it shows no sign up changing despite healthy eating and frequent exercise.

But comments from some of my DietBet participants indicate that not everybody shares my view:

~ I have to weigh and post weight daily….whether down or up on the scale….to be accountable. …. I’ve tried that once a week thing & for me it is a disaster, LOL!

~ I weigh myself every day, usually twice a day (a.m. and before bed) 

I’d like to hear YOUR thoughts.

How often do you weigh yourself?

Why that frequency (as opposed to any other)?

Why not more (or less) often?

How do the scales help or hinder your weight loss (and weight loss maintenance) efforts?




  1. Im glad you mentioned this b/c I too saw the quick weight loss posts and thought what’s up with that? Is that what we were suppose to do? I guess its motivating to see others with quick results but that’s doesn’t work for me.

    I do use the scale…but only once a week…same time/same spot/same clothing etc…I have found that my weight fluctuates a lot during the week, heck during the day or hour so weekly weigh ins are most accurate for me and not as depressing seeing it go up here and there more often.

    I suppose its what ever works for the individual.
    Kathy recently posted…A shopping trip to TJ’s and Dietbet is ON!My Profile

  2. Tamara, I weigh myself every day first thing before eating. Been doing this for years. It does not hinder me & in fact helps me ESPECIALLY with age. I am chatting that Wednesday on my post & why with age the scale is even more help to me. I know many have issues but for me, I understand that it is fickle. I understand that it may go up with hormones & the period & eating too much salt & all that stuff but I use it & a pair of jeans to help me – also on my post Wednesday. 🙂 I definitely think a pair of jeans or pants will help you judge correctly what is happening – especially when you lift & the scale may not budge but inches go down… but I have found the need for both to be sure. With age, I can weigh the same but the pants fit tighter – things change! 😉 I also know that weighing myself later in the day – at least 2-3 pounds heavier due to liquids & food in me. I have tested this a few times & always 2-3 pounds but may be more depending so I do the first thing in the morn. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & the Sun; Happy Bday Time Again Too!My Profile

    • Well, I weighed myself both Friday and today (way too frequently for this girl!) and found myself already down 4 pounds! That’s only because we got back from holidays and have been eating clean all weekend. It really does vary with food intake; salt and sugar especially!

  3. I weigh myself everyday. It helps keeps me on track. But I understand that small fluctuations are normal, so I don’t get too bent out of shape if the number doesn’t please me. I just eat and exercise accordingly.
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…Dr. J’s Life Lesson And How To Do A Goodreads Book GiveawayMy Profile

  4. I share your view Tamara. When I first lost a significant amount of weight I weighed myself daily… There was some fear I would gain it back. However it got to the point where it would just annoy or confuse me (as naturally the scale often goes up and down). I haven’t weighed myself in over 4 months and don’t plan to look back!

    • That’s great Danielle! It’s so easy to let the scales take over. How do you access whether you’re maintaining or not?

      • I generally don’t change much about my diet so keeping healthy eating consistent, changing up my fitness routine every few weeks! I’ll take a look in the mirror once in awhile! Haha and judge how my clothes fit. I’ve come to accept my weight will fluctuate occasionally.

  5. i weigh myself every monday morning. i know the fluctuations are normal, so once a week works for me. always in the morning.
    glenneth recently posted…Guest Post: Be Real About ResolutionsMy Profile

  6. I prefer to loose a few pounds before getting on the scale. I find it encouraging if there is only a few pounds to loose and it scares me if the scale is higher than expected, I then try to cut down too much end up hungry and giving up.

    • Melody, that’s my problem with the scales too. I tend to give them too much ‘weight’ (pardon the pun). Slow and steady weight loss without drastic calorie cutting is definitely the way to go!

  7. I used to weight weekly, then I tried not weighing for nearly a year, now I’m back to weighing weekly. I have a tendency to get obsessed and bogged down by the numbers, so any more than weekly would put me in a negative head space!
    Thea @ It’s Me Vs. Me recently posted…Resolution Run Virtual 5k RecapMy Profile

    • Agreed. I hate the negative head space. I think it’s all about finding what works for YOU!

  8. I think the most important thing about weighing in is to do it enough to motivate yourself & keep on track, but not too much so that you become crazed & obsessed. I’m a weight twice a day girl. My weight fluctuates a lot depending on my hydration level, the sodium I’m consuming, my hormonal situation, etc. but this keeps me on track. I maintained a 40 lb. weight loss for over 20 years doing this, and am now taking my weight lower. But this might drive someone else over the edge – and that is NO good. So whether it’s once a week, every other day, once a month, or using the “jeans test” – my motto is, “if it works for you, go with it!”
    Sarah @ Semi-Sweet recently posted…A Loss (and Leftover Turkey Soup with Lemon, Barley & Kale)My Profile

    • You took the words right out of my mouth! I’ve been loving reading all the comments about why people make different choices about weighing themselves. Everybody seems to know what works for them!

  9. There’s a lot of data showing that people who are most successful at losing weight weigh themselves frequently. Perhaps the self-monitoring keeps them on track and accountable. I just encourage clients to do what works best for them, while as a trainer focusing on body fat and circumference measurements. (I weigh myself out of curiosity once a week or so.)
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…Just a Few Healthy Habits Create a Bitchin’ Body and HealthMy Profile

    • Suzanne, your comment really does make a lot of sense to me. It’s kind of like keeping tabs on your bank account to make sure you’re not spending more than you’re earning…
      I usually discourage clients from looking at the scales too frequently in the early days of training/changing nutrition, as it’s so easy to get discouraged if you think you’re working hard but not seeing the numbers drop.
      I like your approach; do what works for you!

  10. I put my scale in the closet about a year ago and did not take it out again until this DietBet. My weight flucuates A LOT. I mean I go up and down three pounds in a day. Maybe it is because I drink tons of water, I doubt know. All I know is that if I weigh myself daily, I get depressed and start my day off with negative talk. I feel that I don’t need a scale. My non elastic pants do the trick 🙂

    However, I had one hell of a year last year that let 10 additional lbs stick on me. I will be weighing myself once a week for this bet. After it is done, the scale goes back in the closet LOL

    • Stephanie, I think it’s all about figuring out what works for you (and not being afraid of the scales 😉 )

  11. I rarely weight myself. That being said, I recently had an opportunity to try and review a body fat scale, so of course I had to step on it. Like you, I was surprised to see that my weight was higher than I expected. Even though it was the holidays, I felt if anything, I was eating less junk, especially after my gluten free experiment, because I did not add back in many of the things I had eliminated (sorry for that very long, run-on sentence).

    After that first time, I did make a few changes and weighed myself a couple times a week. Then, when I was getting ready to write my fitness goals for the year, I stepped on the scale to get a starting point. Because I’d been sick for a couple days, the number was a little lower, but still several pounds higher that I wanted. This time though, I decided to pull out my old scale, also a body fat scale, and see what it said. Three pounds less! Now, I don’t know what scale to believe (though I’m opting for the old one :-)).

    All this long story to say that, when I wasn’t weighing myself, I was eating well, exercising and I felt good. My clothes fit the way they are supposed to. Then I weighed myself, got an unhappy result, and was depressed about it. I’m going back to occasionally weighing, just to check in once in a while. On my old scale.

    To each their own, though. For some people, it is such a motivating factor in their weight loss (or maintenance), that they want to weigh themselves weekly or even daily. Whatever works!
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted…Finally! 2013 Fitness GoalsMy Profile

    • You hit the nail on the head; to each their own. I had to laugh about the discrepancy between your two scales. I have the same issue. My non-digital scale reads lower than my digital scale, but the digital is what I had to use for DietBet. My brain keeps subtracting the difference every time I weigh myself!

      Funny how a number can play with our heads, isn’t it?

  12. I have been everything: once a day, twice a day, once a week, once a month, but I always wanted to be NEVER. Those numbers can be triggers for me at times causing too much negative self-talk and obsession over calories in/burned/etc. I now haven’t weighed in about three months. I have an assessment for a local health challenge this afternoon. I want to ask that they not show me the number as the competition itself is based on minutes exercised. You wouldn’t believe what a struggle it is just thinking about that. Do I want to know, do I not, maybe just this time…so I guess for me NEVER is best. Instead I just want to focus on eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising 4 or 5 times a week!
    Sharla recently posted…Lessons LearnedMy Profile

    • Sharla, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I have had clients who just can’t stand seeing the number either. So important to remember to find out what people’s individual responses to knowing their weight is before weighing them.

  13. I never weigh myself – I don’t even think we have a scale that works!
    I guess I get weighed only when I go to the DRs and I always leave my shoes on so that if I don’t like the number I can deduct a little!
    I just go by how I feel and how my clothes fit!!!
    Kim recently posted…Love the Feeling AFTER you Complete a Brutal Work-Out!!!My Profile

    • Great attitude! I especially like the part about leaving your shoes on… they must want 3 or 4 pounds, right? 😉

  14. This is so cool…$5000! Good luck to everyone.
    Brad Gouthro recently posted…How Many Calories Should I Eat A Day? #LLTVMy Profile

  15. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal says:

    I can’t weigh myself a lot or I’ll get obsessive about it. I haven weighed myself much in the last few months. It’s kind of sporadic. when I was watching my weight more though I’d do it once a week or less. Once a day is nuts to me, there are weight fluctuations which are normal due to water etc so I refuse to do that. A number should not define my success or failure.
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal recently posted…Farewell, My Delicious Yogurt Addiction. Farewell.My Profile

  16. I rarely if at all weigh myself. My reaction is contingent on so many things and those simple little numbers, as irrational as it is, can easily derail my motivation! I even step on the scale backwards and tell the nurse not to say my weight out loud at the doctor’s office. There really is no benefit to me knowing and it’s not worth getting discouraged.

    Good luck with Dietbet!
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…Why I’m Running 13 in 2013My Profile

  17. I do weigh myself often and pay attention if my weight consistently creeps up over what I consider the highest weight that I want to be. The final arbiter, though, is the Bod Pod, which gives a true assessment of muscle mass and fat mass. I only use the Bod Pod once every year or two but it helps me know how I’m doing on my fitness.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted…Bronze Ice Dance Test | Hickory HoedownMy Profile

    • That sounds like a great monitoring strategy Mary! What is a Bod Pod? Sounds like something I’d like for myself and my clients!

      • The Bod Pod is a machine that measures your body composition through air displacement. You just have to sit in it for two minutes wearing something form-fitting like a swimsuit. There are not too many, I think six here in Washington State, but you can find them at sports medicine facilities. It costs me about $30 for a measurement if I buy 2 or 3 at a time, using one and saving the others for later. It measures your lean mass very well and also gives your resting metabolic rate, so you can get a pretty accurate number of how many calories you burn at your current activity level.

        • Oh, sounds very cool! Not sure that there are any where I live (Vancouver, B.C.). I’m gonna check it out. Thanks Mary!