Should You Weigh Yourself Regularly?

What You Need to Know: Stepping on the scale is common among dieters but how does the frequency of weigh-ins impact weight? A new study showed that the more frequently dieters weighed themselves the more weight they lost, and if participants went more than a week without weighing themselves, they gained weight.

Background: Stepping on the scale is common among dieters but how does the frequency of weigh-ins impact weight? A new study showed that the more frequently dieters weighed themselves the more weight they lost, and if participants went more than a week without weighing themselves, they gained weight.

The Study: Researchers analyzed 2,838 weight measurements (up to a years’ worth of weigh-ins) from 40 overweight individuals (with a body mass index of 25 and over) who indicated that weight loss was a personal goal or concern. The researchers found that weight loss was related to how often individuals weighed themselves.

“The more often you weigh yourself the more weight you lose,” says to lead author Elina Helander from Tempere University of Technology in Finland.

My Take: This observational study cannot prove causation — it may be that less serious dieters weight themselves less or that dieters who stop losing weight stop weighting themselves. The average time that participants could go between weighting without gaining weight was 5.8 days or about a weekly weigh-in. If you want to lose weight, it may be best to weigh yourself every day. But if you weigh yourself only once a week, do it on Wednesday because that may give you the most accurate reading. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Reference
Elina E. Helander, Anna-Leena Vuorinen, Brian Wansink, Ilkka K. J. Korhonen. Are Breaks in Daily Self-Weighing Associated with Weight Gain? PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (11): e113164 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113164

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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