The Correct Way to Weigh

March 28, 2010

In the series on “The Most Effective Weight Loss Solution“, it was revealed that one of the activities common to people that lose weight and keep it off is that they “monitor” their weight.  In other words, they keep up with what their body weight is.  Most (at least 75%) of them weigh themselves at least once a week.  Many of them weigh themselves daily.  If successful weight losers do this, then we should do it to, if we are interested in controlling our weight.

Is weighing yourself as simple as stepping on a scale and looking at what the scale shows you?  Well, yes and no.

Digital scales and body composition

One of the difficulties with weighing yourself is that your body weight can change — often fairly dramatically — within a single day.  We could step on the scale in the morning and weigh 200 lb., then check our weight again before going to sleep only to found that we’ve picked up 2 pounds during the course of the day.  Could we have picked up 2 lbs. of fat in a day?  The answer is almost certainly not, but the weight fluctuation is bothersome nonetheless.

Another difficulty with weighing yourself is that, depending on the scale you have, the scale might show that you weigh 198 lb. the first time you step on it, then after you step off and step right back on, it might show 200 lb. or 197 lb.  How frustrating.

Well, there is a method of weighing yourself that will help you to get around these and other issues with the weighing process.

The first part of this weighing method, and probably the most critical is that we weigh ourselves under the same conditions each time we weigh.  What I mean by that is that EVERY TIME WE WEIGH OURSELVES we should weigh ourselves at the same time of day, in the same state of dress or undress, having eaten and/or exercised the same amount of time before our weighing session as was the case the previous time we weighed.

For example, a good time to weigh is in the morning after waking up, after having used the restroom, before breakfast, undressed, around the same time each time you weigh yourself.

Why is weighing at the same time in the same state so important?  Because our weight can fluctuate within a day depending on how active we’ve been, what we’ve eaten and drank, what we’re wearing, and when we last used the restroom.  By weighing at the same time under the same conditions, we minimize these variables that may have an effect on our weight, and as a result we get a weight that can be used as a baseline and more reliably compared to future weight measurements.

Something else to consider is how often to weigh.  Is once per week sufficient, or is once per day better?  Personally, I like an official once per week body weight measurement.  I weigh on Sunday morning after waking up and before breakfast.  Why weigh one time per week?  Because depending on what you’re doing diet and exercise-wise, you may see your weight increase or decrease by several pounds from one day to the next.  If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain weight, this can put you through an emotional roller coaster.  Who needs that?  Weighing once per week under the same conditions usually eliminates the unreliable ups and downs of daily weighing and will reliably show whether or not you’re gaining, losing, or maintaining weight.iStock_000003130022XSmall

Many of my friends like to weigh every day.  They don’t mind the roller coaster.  If you weigh once per day, just know that over several week’s time you should see a definite trend if you are losing or gaining weight.

One last consideration when weighing is the weight scale itself.  Many scales show different weights each time you step on them, even if you step on them multiple times within a few seconds of each weighing.  This is annoying.  How can this be eliminated?  I know of no other way except for looking for and buying a scale that is reputed to give you the same weight when you step on it two or more times consecutively.  I found a scale like this on by reading the user reviews of the scale.  It’s a Soehnle scale and it’s great.

Also, something else to keep in mind is that even if your scale is somewhat unreliable, if you are gaining or losing weight, you will still see a trend over time.  So, a scale that fluctuates a bit can still show you if you’re headed in the direction you’re working toward.

Weighing in the way described in this post can give you a reliable measure of whether or not your weight is doing what you want it to.  And as has been mentioned previously, combining the body weight measurement with your body fat percentage measurement will tell you exactly what your body is doing as far as losing or gaining fat or muscle.


Happy weighing!


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2 Responses to “The Correct Way to Weigh”

  1. I am trying to gain 15 lbs. and realized that I need to stick with my program and NOT weigh myself everyday. One day I am close and two days later I am ten lbs. lighter. My body is silly like that!


  2. Hi Darryl,

    what a wonderful and timely blog post about weight management and fitness. I really enjoy and admire the encouraging and sensible tone of your website and blog.

    Indeed, I recently joined a gym because I wanted to be serious and take action to increase my fitness level, enjoy an active lifestyle, and release my excess weight. I thought of you, of course.

    I do weigh myself practically daily. Indeed there can be fluctuations. I weigh myself first thing in the morning.

    2 questions for you for some future blog posts.

    1. have you heard about the May 1, 2010 being National Fitness Day? Apparently there will be a lot of cross country media coverage of the even to encourage Americans to move our bodies and be fit.

    2. What about the importance of drinking water for metabolizing fat? Maybe you already covered that and I have, sadly, forgotten.

    Now that I am incorporating working out with weights, using free weights as much as possible to get the full range of motion benefit, I will be rereading your post on the wonderful exercise of LEG SQUATS.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Boomer Dating Expert and Online Dating Coach



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