Find out how often the “biggest losers” step on the scale!

By: Jodie Shield, RD

If you’re trying to lose weight, how often should you step on the scale – once a week, occasionally or everyday? Researchers at Duke Obesity Prevention Program say everyday. They recently studied 47 overweight adult men and women to see if daily weighing could promote greater weight loss compared to less frequent weighing. Turns out after 6 months, daily weighers lost on average 18 pounds compared to 6 pounds lost by participants who weighed themselves less than 7 days a week.

Although more research is needed, Duke researchers speculate that daily weighing is a self-monitoring strategy that can help you self-regulate your eating and physical activity. In other words, like a Fit Bit or health app, stepping on the scale everyday can help you keep track of your weight and based on the feedback, motivate you to make adjustments. In the Duke study, in addition to losing more weight, daily weighers were more likely to practice effective weight control strategies such as:

  • Reducing calories by 500 – 1000 kcals/day.
  • Eating fewer sweets and less junk food.
  • Cutting back on between meal and late night snacking.
  • Trimming portion sizes.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Making one or two small changes to their physical activity.

One of the drawbacks to the study was that participants found it challenging to weigh everyday. No excuses! Here are a few tips to help you step on that scale without fail:

Purchase a scale. Not sure what to buy? Check out my post Body Fat Scales – Do They Really Work?

Put the scale in a convenient place. Some place where you will see it and use like your bathroom, bedroom, or the kitchen.

Pick a time to use it everyday. Step on it first thing every morning wearing your birthday suit rather than clothes, which could skew the results.

Keep track of your weight. What ever works for you – a hand written journal or app on your phone.

Make adjustments. Based on your weight, adjust your eating and physical activity choices for the day. For example, if you’re up a pound or two, skip dessert and walk around the block after dinner.

For healthy recipes to help you trim extra pounds check out my iPhone app Time To Eat Healthy! It even has a shopping list so you can keep track of what to buy and share the list with others.

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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