The best time to weigh yourself
Weighing yourself can help you to track progress, whether you want to lose, maintain or gain weight. But the timing and frequency that you do this can sometimes make all the difference in encouraging you towards your goal.
The best time to weigh yourself would be first thing in the morning, before you have eaten or drunk anything, and ideally after going to the bathroom. Weighing yourself at this time will help you to track your progress in the most accurate way.
The reason for this is because when it comes to monitoring your weight, consistency is very important.
A large number of factors can skew what you see on the scale. For example, 500 ml of water weighs 0.5 kg (1.1 lb). So if you were to weigh yourself on a highly accurate scale, drink 500 ml of water and then weigh yourself again, you would see an increase of 0.5 kg in body mass.
Your body mass fluctuates throughout the day and can do so dramatically. This means that weighing yourself first thing in the morning on one day and then in the afternoon after having a heavy meal on another is generally not a good idea.
Weighing yourself first thing in the morning each time keeps things as consistent as possible because it means factors such as food that you have eaten the day before or exercise you have done do not have a significant impact.
Below are some points to keep in mind when weighing yourself.
Use a high quality scale and stick with it – not all weighing scales are created equal, some will be much more accurate than others. If you are going to buy a new one, opting for a slightly more expensive model might be well worth the money.
Online retailers have a wide range of scales available for sale, most of which are digital. The great thing is that these retailers tend to have hundreds or thousands of customer reviews, so it is fairly easy to figure out which models are worth buying.
Once you have started weighing yourself on a certain scale, you should try and stick to using that scale only. Scales at the gym or at a friends house might show different results than the one you have at home.
Weigh yourself naked – just like food, the clothes that we wear (especially shoes!) have mass, and can weigh as much as 3 – 5 kg in total. Ideally, you should keep a scale in your bathroom so that you are able to weigh yourself completely naked.
If you are unable to do this, wear as few clothes as possible when weighing yourself and wear the same thing each time if you can. It is also important to place the scale on a solid surface because soft surfaces such as carpets can lead to inaccurate results.
Choose a frequency that works for you – even if you weigh yourself at the same time each day, weight fluctuations are normal. This is why it is important for you to decide how often you should step on the scale.
As a personal recommendation, I would suggest that you weigh yourself at the same time each day. But rather than tracking your progress daily, you should take an average of your weight each week and compare it to the week before. Monitoring progress this way is beneficial because it helps to eliminate day to day discrepancies.
This method may not be ideal for everyone though. If you are someone who is negatively affected by seeing small weight changes in the wrong direction, it would be better to weigh yourself once a week instead, so as to prevent yourself from getting discouraged.
Don’t rely on the scale alone – this is perhaps the most important point. Everything in your body has mass, including bones, organs, fat, muscle, food and water, so it can be difficult to determine how much each contributes to your overall mass.
If you are working out regularly, you will begin to gain muscle and burn fat. A pound of fat and muscle will show the same number when placed on a scale, but due to its compactness, the latter will take up less space.
This means that whilst you might not see a large difference on a weighing scale, you will being to see changes in the mirror. It is therefore important to not only rely on a weighing scale but to also take other measurements (such as fat percentage) and pictures of your body to monitor progress.
If you notice that your clothes have begun to feel looser, don’t get discouraged if the number on the scale hasn’t changed much. All this means is that you have ‘turned’ fat into muscle, and is therefore a step in the right direction.
Weighing yourself first thing in the morning each day and then averaging your results at the end of the week will help you to determine whether a diet & exercise program that you are following is working. It is important to not let small daily fluctuations discourage you.