How Often Should You Weigh Yourself & When Is The Best Time?

A common question when it comes to weight loss is, “How often should I weigh myself?”

You’ll find a variety of opinion as to whether it should be daily, weekly, monthly — or not at all!

Weighing Yourself: It’s Great And It Sucks

Before you can decide when and how often you should weigh yourself.

You first need to understand why your weight is simultaneously an important and useful measure of progress AND a confusing and deceptive number that often fails to tell you the whole story.

Here’s what I mean…

The Importance Of Weighing Yourself

It shows if things are working.

Fat and muscle both weigh something, which means that losing fat will typically cause a decrease in body weight and building muscle will typically cause an increase in body weight.

So what’s the best reason to weigh yourself regularly?

To ensure that what you’re doing is actually working.

Meaning, if your weight isn’t moving in the right direction for your goal, it’s a pretty good sign that your current diet/workout isn’t working and needs to be adjusted somehow.

It shows if things are working at the ideal rate they should be.

In addition to just knowing if your body weight is moving in the right direction for your goal, there’s also the issue of whether your body weight is moving at the ideal rate for your goal.

You see, depending on your exact goal and a few other factors specific to you and your body, there is a certain rate of weight loss and weight gain that is considered optimal.

So what’s the second best reason to weigh yourself regularly?

To ensure that your body weight is changing at the speed it should be (not too slow, not too fast).

Here’s a look at the different ways you can weigh yourself to help you decide what’s best for you:

Daily Weigh-Ins

At first glance, weighing yourself daily seems like a good idea, right?

You’d see right away if you gained or lost weight from how you ate and exercised the day before.

You’d be able to see whether you’re on track or not.

And, according to the National Weight Control Registry, 44% of their members who have lost 30lbs or more and kept it off for more than a year weigh themselves daily.

But can you handle what the scale says?

The problem with daily weigh-ins is your weight fluctuates each day for a variety of reasons.

For some people, it can be discouraging to see this weight fluctuation.

If you weigh yourself daily, do it the same way, under the same conditions and at the same time of the day.

And keep in mind that if the scale shows a jump of a pound or two, it’s highly unlikely it’s all “fat” you gained.

To gain a pound or two of fat in a day, you’d have to consume over 3500 to 7000 calories more than you burn in a day.

Weekly Weigh-Ins

Weekly weigh-ins may be more motivating because you wouldn’t see the daily fluctuations.

Instead you’d see a weekly trend of weight loss or weight gain and you could make changes in your eating or exercise, if needed.

It’s up to you how often to weigh yourself, if you’re going to weigh yourself at all. But don’t sabotage yourself by focusing too much on weight.

If you’re exercising a lot, it’s possible that you’re gaining some muscle and losing a bit of fat. The scale doesn’t show your body mass composition.

Here are a few more questions to ask yourself:

Should I Weigh Myself With or Without Clothing?

Clothes can make a difference, so your birthday suit is best. But if you’re wearing something light it shouldn’t effect the reading too much.

Just do it the same way each time.

Should I Weigh Myself Before or After a Workout?

Weighing yourself before working out will give you a more accurate picture of your weight. After a workout, you’re likely to weigh less due to water loss.

Don’t believe me?

Weigh yourself before and after a cardio workout, just for fun. Chances are you’ll see some “weight” loss.

Should I Weigh Myself Before or After Eating?

This is a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind eating a heavy meal or drinking a lot will show up on the scale.

Whichever way you choose to weigh yourself, keep in mind the scale is one tool to help you stay on track.

You can also track your measurements, pay attention to the fit of your clothes or rings, or track your body fat percentage.

Best time to weigh yourself

Weighing yourself first thing in the morning will provide you with the most accurate read on your weight, but if the morning doesn’t work. 

Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time — and on the same scale — to keep things consistent.

And remember, you’re more than just a number on a scale!