We are all guilty of this at one point in time
You KNOW that it’s bad to do daily, you KNOW that this won’t change overnight and you KNOW that doing it is just going to screw with your head even more; but you still do it anyway.
You weigh yourself. Every. Single. Day.
Personal trainers from all over will cringe at hearing about a client doing that because we (the trainers and coaches) KNOW that daily weigh-ins are not a good idea.
This messes with your head can cause discouragement after a few days which can lead you to make dumb fitness or diet decisions that actually will do more harm than good.
Daily weigh ins are NOT a good idea.
Checking your weight daily is bad for your health.
Your body didn’t gain fat overnight so don’t expect it to lose fat overnight. I’m assuming that if your weighing in daily you most likely are wanting to lose fat.
I get it though; that answer above sucks. We all want instant gratification, we want our results now, but physiology doesn’t happen that way.
The body has a hoard of physiological mechanisms that happen on a daily basis that influences your weight.
Your hormones will fluctuate daily, and that alone is a major contributor to weight change. Water weight changes hourly, stress can alter the scale, and my favorite, dietary changes will have an enormous impact on what the scale says.
In fact, when we change a client’s diet we will tell them that the scale will be all over the place for at least 7-10 days before it finally finds a new state of continuity.
Example: When we have a client that needs to eat MORE (this is more common than you realize) the scale will go UP for a period before it starts to go down. This is because of the increase in food volume, glycogen retention, and water weight, BUT after those changes happen the scale WILL go down.
If we have to cut a clients calories, then it’s not uncommon to notice a pretty quick drop in weight for the first 2 weeks before things start to slow down to a healthier more controlled weight loss pace. (think 1-2lbs a week)
That is just changes in the diet if we factor in lifestyle your weight can fluctuate within the hour. Lack of sleep, stress, hormonal cycles, hard workouts just to name a few will ALL have a factor on what the scale says.
With all that said, there are just TOO MANY variables that all affect what your weight will be.
Months ago I had a client do an experiment with me; we tracked their weight EVERY DAY for 8 weeks for a total of 56 weigh-ins.
The color coding works as:
– No highlight means no weight change from the previous day
– Red highlight means weight INCREASED from the previous day
– Green highlight means weight DECREASED from the previous day
Take a look at the percentages; this individual had MORE DAYS that their weight stayed the same, or even increased, from the previous day than they did of weight decrease!
They only lost weight about 42% of the 8-week duration, so they spent MORE TIME with their weight NOT changing or even INCREASING that decreasing from the previous day.
BUT they still lost 19lbs over 8 weeks; I’d call this a pretty successful plan thus far.
I bring this up to show you that the scale fluctuates daily, so weight loss (or any weight change for that matter) needs to be looked at over a longer time frame than just daily.
How often should you weigh in?
We do weigh-ins about every 2 weeks for our clients that are under a weight loss protocol, and those trying to gain weight about every 4 weeks.
Side Note: I’ll only do daily, or weekly, weigh-ins for those that are trying to “make weight” for a competition.
Waiting for about two weeks usually to check scale progress gives the body a chance to find a new state of continuity from any dietary or program changes because those changes will cause the scale to jump several pounds here or there.
What to Take Away
Weight loss, weight gain, fat loss, muscle gain should ALL be looked at over the course of TIME (preferably weeks and months) NOT just one day.
Weight gain didn’t happen in one day, nor will weight loss.
Don’t track your weight daily, you’ll just end up over thinking you plan or progress, stressing out about it, and eventually you’ll just saying f—k it and give up.
This is a marathon, not a sprint, give it the time you gave it to get the weight on I promise the weight will come off.
Side Note: Since writing this we have progressed away from just a scale and use an InBody unit that measures bone weight, water weight, muscle weight and fat weight (along with how it’s dispersed across the body) to really track and see what is changing.
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other cool letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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