… and it has NOTHING to do with COUNTING CALORIES.
If you wanted to lose weight, but only wanted to do ONE thing that would ensure your success if you made it a habit, what would you say would be the best option?
What one habit would guarantee weight loss?
As it turns out, it’s our frenemy (friend/enemy) the scale.
Does daily weighing help you lose weight?
Studies are showing a resounding y-e-s.
Daily weighers lose more weight than the control group, even when members of the control group are still weighing themselves several times a week.
And not an insignificant amount, either.
Other self-monitoring behaviors are also correlated with weight loss success, such as number of steps per day, high-intensity activity, and persistent food logging.
Given what the research shows, it can hardly be argued that the simple task of weighing oneself every day would be the easiest and require the least amount of effort.
Daily weighers are also more likely to engage in other behaviors associated with weight loss success, such as watching less TV and eating out less often.
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
Day-to-day, your weight will vary. What this weight does not tell you, however, is whether that change is due to changes in fat mass or fat free mass (lean body mass).
Fat mass is just that: the amount of fat in your body.
Fat free, or lean, mass is everything else: muscle (duh), but also body water, bone, organs, food waste, etc… and I know of more than a few individuals who brag of the sheer mass of fecal matter they can produce in one day.
If you choose to utilize some method of body composition measurement for the purposes of tracking, stick to the same protocol each time – this way, at least your results with be consistently inconsistent.
It’s recommended that you weigh yourself after waking up and going to the bathroom, before you have had anything to eat or drink.
For those in physique, performance, or weight class sports, muscle glycogen can be another big source of variance.
Carb cycling, or eating different amounts of carbohydrates on different days, can affect how much glycogen and water is stored in the muscle, which can affect body weight. More muscle = more potential for large weight fluctuations due to carbohydrate intake and hydration.
So, while you may jump up and down in glee that you “lost a pound since yesterday” – chances are only a small amount of that, if any (assuming you are in a caloric deficit required for weight loss), came from fat loss. Chances are, you just had a good poo.
Who should not weigh daily?
Daily weighing, while effective, is not for everyone:
- Persons struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating may have negative psychological side effects and self-weighing is often discouraged during treatment and recovery – if daily weighing is causing you undue stress or anxiety, use other measures of progress such as how your clothes are fitting
- Persons who use progress as an excuse to treat yo self – “I lost a pound this week and ate salad every day, I deserve a ‘cheat day'”
- Persons who cannot see the bigger picture – as mentioned above, do not expect to see a lower number on the scale every day, you have to learn to accept the gains as well as the losses – as long as the general trend of your weigh-ins is in the desired direction, keep with it! I recommend using an app like Happy Scale to help you see the forest and not just the trees