Along with coffee, weighing myself is one of my morning rituals. In my opinion, daily weigh-ins is one of the best things you can do to prevent weight gain. Here’s the thing: Sometime between 35-40, our metabolism slows down because we start to lose muscle mass. With that, we start to gain weight. But the gains aren’t noticeable. Studies suggest that with each passing year, we put on 1-2 pounds—not enough to feel it in our jeans immediately, but after a few years, it leads to that crushing feeling of nothing fitting properly.
You probably don’t need a dietitian to tell you that it’s easier to prevent weight gain than it is to lose it! Noticing these small gains and trying to prevent further weight gain can be a good way to stay healthy and feel your best—now and in the future. And a scale allows you to spot an uptake in weight sooner than you might feel it in your clothes.
There’s also a lot of research to support this strategy as an effective way to prevent the pounds from creeping up. In one 2017 study among college freshmen, daily weigh-ins prevented the usual freshman weight gain. Women who weighed themselves routinely for at least one period over the course of two years not only prevented weight gain, but some even lost weight. This is notable considering that this this group was not instructed to lose weight, and also given that more than 70% of freshman gain weight! t’s thought that routinely weighing yourself adds a layer of awareness between what you eat and the impact on your weight, and may even serve as motivation if you start to see a decline.
In another study with similar results among freshman women, participants were able to adopt daily weigh-ins easily, and they didn’t report any harmful effects on mood or body dissatisfaction, nor did weight monitoring result in any unhealthy weight control behaviors (like purging or excessive exercise).
Though I think this can be a highly effective tool, there are some people for whom a routine hop on the scale would be inappropriate. I don’t recommend routine weigh-ins for anyone who has ever had an eating disorder or who may be at risk for one. If getting on the scale is distracting or contributes to unhealthy thinking or any emotional negativity, skip this practice. It’s important to do what feels right to you emotionally and physically!
But for those who can hop on the scale without any negative thoughts or emotions, I do recommend it as a data point and excellent source of feedback. This can be especially valuable as we enter the holidays, when some weight gain may be expected. If you’re interested, I like this scale by EatSmart, which gets great reviews for accuracy. If you’d like some additional support this holiday season, please reach out to see how I can help you keep those holiday pounds off!