How Often Should You Weigh Yourself? Weighing the Pros/Cons

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 05/24/2024

If you’re on a weight loss journey, it might seem tempting to weigh yourself as often as possible. While weighing yourself every day certainly can help keep you on track, it can also lead to obsessive thoughts. So, how do you find a healthy balance?

Should you weigh yourself every day or once a week? At night or in the morning? Shoes on or shoes off? (Just kidding, we know you’re not letting those chunky platforms skew your numbers.)

The answers here aren’t as straightforward as you may like. A healthy weigh-in schedule for you will depend a lot on your way of thinking and your goals. Some people find weighing themselves each morning a motivating factor. But for others, the downsides of weighing yourself everyday may outweigh the potential benefits.

When trying to lose weight, the answer to the question of how often to weigh yourself isn’t one-size–fits-all. Instead, it will depend on your weight loss goals, your mental health, and your healthcare provider’s recommendations, among other factors.

Regardless of the frequency, there is a case to be made for tracking your weight when you’re trying to make progress on losing weight. Hopping on the scale is a good way to check in and determine if any adjustments are necessary.

A study by the American Heart Association found that those who weighed themselves consistently saw regular weight loss over a year. Other studies have also found that regular weigh-ins are helpful weight management tools.

If you’re following a weight loss program, there’s evidence that weighing yourself on a daily basis could be beneficial.

One study with over 10,000 smart scale users showed that daily weigh-ins in particular were associated with weight loss progress, though regular weigh-ins in general helped with weight loss, especially among individuals who were overweight or struggling with obesity. 

There’s also evidence to suggest that daily weighing may even be effective at preventing age-related weight gain, as well as losing weight and keeping it off.

And when combined with regular physical activity and the tracking of food consumption, regular and frequent weigh-ins can be a significant predictor of weight loss success, one study with more than 2,000 participants found.

That said, there can be risks to weighing yourself daily. In these cases, weekly weigh-ins may be more appropriate.

One study showed that more frequent self-weighing was associated with poorer self-esteem, and that it had a negative impact on body image and body dissatisfaction. Weighing yourself every day may also cause thoughts and behaviors associated with eating disorders to develop or worsen, a caveat worth noting if you’re at risk.

You may also feel discouraged when weighing yourself every day given the typical weight fluctuations that happen from day to day — the average adult’s body weight fluctuates between 2.2 to 4.4 pounds over a few days.

When it comes to weighing yourself daily, it’s also important to keep in mind that your body weight today isn’t always an accurate measurement of what you did the day before. Your water weight and other factors can result in weight gain, or simply shift the number on the scale from day to day.

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Beyond just how often to weigh yourself, there’s also the question of when is the best time to weigh yourself — or if there’s a worst time to weigh yourself.

Since your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, depending on things like whether you just ate a big, protein-packed meal or sweat it out while taking a walk, what’s important with the timing of your weigh-ins is that it’s consistent. 

Often, the time of day when it’s easiest to capture that consistency is first thing in the morning, before you’ve gotten into your day.

While a scale is a simple way to track your weight loss progress, it’s not the only way to measure your health journey — nor is it necessarily the most accurate. 

As mentioned above, your weight can fluctuate weekly or even daily for several reasons. One of those reasons is changes in body composition, since muscle is denser than body fat.

Measuring your body composition itself can be another way to measure your health. If you’ve started working out more often — even if you’re just trying to hit your daily steps — you might be building muscle. More muscle mass is important for your health for several reasons, from increased metabolism to stronger bones.

You can also track your health and weight loss progress by measuring your blood pressure, as a higher weight is more likely to cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and other health issues like stroke and diabetes, and it’s a marker of your overall health.

Weighing yourself daily may seem like an obvious choice when trying to lose weight. But there can be both benefits and risks to weighing yourself every day. Here’s what to keep in mind when determining how often you should weigh yourself:

  • Regularly weighing yourself can help with weight management and achieving weight loss. Some studies found that those who regularly weighed themselves lost more weight than those who didn’t, and daily self-weighing was found to be particularly helpful.

  • That said, weighing yourself every day can also affect your mental health. It may lead to obsession, anxiety, or disordered eating behaviors, and you may get discouraged by the totally normal weight fluctuations that happen from day to day.

  • Beyond hopping on the scale, there are numerous ways to measure your health and weight loss progress, such as tracking your blood pressure and measuring body composition.

Depending on your health goals and consultation with your healthcare provider, you may or may not need to weigh yourself every day.

But if you think losing weight could improve your health, there are several tools you can use. Adopting healthy habits like getting regular sleep, eating healthy snacks and meals, and being active on a regular basis all can help. 

Depending on your situation, you might also ask your healthcare provider about weight loss medications and whether an option like Ozempic® or metformin might be right for you.

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