“How often should I weight myself at home?”

I am often asked this question by patients: “How often should I weight myself at home?”

My answer to this question will be: “At least once a week but if you can psychologically handle this, several times a week is better.”.  What I am referring to in terms of the psychological aspect: It is important that during a long-term weight control journey that people do not get into an obsessive mode, i.e.drive themselves crazy by becoming elated when the weight goes down and falling into despair if the weight goes up.  The long-term journey will involve weeks in which the weight will go up and (hopefully) more weeks when the weight goes down.

Human nature (see my recent post about all inclusives and human nature) is such that we do not like to confront “bad” news.  When the stock market is going up, most people will log onto their accounts and take joy in seeing their nest eggs rise in value.  Conversely, when the markets drop, people would rather not see how much money they lost.  Similarly, in weight control, when the numbers are going down, the scale becomes our friend and we hop on this daily, of not several times a day.  However, when the weight is out of control, we will tend to hide the scale and not know what the true number is.

Personally, I weigh myself every day and will adjust my next day’s eating based on the number I see.  If the number goes up from the previous day, no sugar/carb snacks for me the next day.  This “read and react daily” approach is sort of obsessive but this works for me.  You need to evaluate how often it is best for you to weigh yourself but this should be at least once a week.

If we do not weigh ourselves, the “snowball effect” may occur: 2 pounds of gain turns to 4, 4 turns into 8, 8 into 16 and by the time a person musters enough courage to get on the scale, the “Oh, sh—” words are uttered as the person may see a 20, 30 or more gain from the last time he/she weighed themselves.  

So, how will you know what the reality of your weight situation is?  By obligating yourself to (at least) weekly self-weigh ins.  And if you see a number you are not happy with, get into Phase 1 of our dietary plan, weight yourself next week and the positive impact will compel you to keep working it.

And here is the late Whitney Houston singing her hit, “How Will I Know”

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