Tuesday, December 1, 2020

50% of us weigh in daily or weekly, is this a good thing?

October 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Eating Disorders

We launched a poll asking the community “How often do you weigh yourself?” on July 23, 2009 (the poll can still be accessed from the right sidebar). A total of 893 women participated.

Here are some of the statistics I found to be most interesting:

1) Over 50% of us are weighing in either daily or weekly.

As someone who has never owned a scale, this concerns me — particularly the daily weigh in ritual. Those who are weighing in daily here are a few questions to ponder;

  • Do you find that the number of the scale dictates how you feel about yourself that day?
  • If the number is down do you visualize yourself thinner, if it is up you are heavier?
  • Would you consider giving up this routine?
  • If you have broken this habit, what advice do you have for others?

My personal philosophy is that no human being needs to weigh themselves on a regular basis. I  fall into the “once a year” category, weighing in at my annual GYN appointment only.  But, I realize I am jaded.

My attitude no doubt stems back to my modeling days when I was forced to step on the scale daily to be analyzed by my agent. He had this huge office with a full length mirror across one wall.  The scale stood right in front of the mirror, so I had to get on the scale, wearing only my bra and underwear. He stood behind me and rubbed his hands down the sides of my frame as he critiqued each body part.   I will never quite get over this memory — it was so humiliating, because no matter what I was always told to lose more weight (and consider a boob job) even as I stood there with my stomach growling from skipping breakfast.  Sick, I know. I wish I would have run for my life sooner than I did.

But I believe my stance on regular weight checks is also because I am a mom. I don’t think it would be healthy for my kids to see me or my husband weighing ourselves on a regular basis, because it reinforces societies focus on weight and size. But I realize this is not the norm.

One evening I realized how abnormal we are when my daughter had homework that required us to weigh things around the house, and I realized — we have no scale! Is it just the norm that all families have a scale in their house and is that a good thing?

2) Nearly 10% are weighing in multiple times per day.

I’ve been there, I get it, and it sucks big time. This habit is very hard to break….but you can do it. If and when you get to this stage, it is likely you are dealing with an eating disorder of some kind. The urge to step on that damn thing becomes overwhelming, although your rational self knows that the number will be the same as it was two hours prior. But you do it anyway, over and over and over. A few things to consider:

  • Can you remember when and why you started weighing in multiple times per day?
  • Could you pull back, and try to only weigh in once per day to break the habit?
  • Would it be a relief to ditch the scale completely?

3) Here are the results for your review, I’ll be curious to hear what you see in these statistics:

Never 14% (125 votes)
Annually 4% (34 votes)
A few times a year 15% (138 votes)
Monthly 8% (69 votes)
Weekly 23% (202 votes)
Daily 28% (246 votes)
Mutilple times per day 8% (72 votes)
I never step off the scale 1% (6 votes)
Total Votes: 892


24 Responses to “50% of us weigh in daily or weekly, is this a good thing?”
  1. vitty10 says:

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to weight yourself so much. People’s weight doesn’t fluctuate enough day by day and hour by hour to warrant such frequent weighing. The only time I can think of your weight fluctuating in a short period of time is if you’re retaining water from PMS. If you’re the type of person who is extra sensitive about their weight such frequent weighing can only be bad news. I realize that it’s a bad habit to stop.

    I fall into the “few times a year” category. I haven’t weighed myself daily since I did Weight Watchers several years ago.

  2. Kate says:

    How often you weigh yourself should be an individual thing based on why you’re doing it. Of course for a normal, healthy woman who’s dieting, once a week or a month should be good enough.

    Vitty may not think of reasons people would have weight fluctuations, but I can. I can think of a LOT of them. Often, the severity of my daily weight fluctuations are my first indication of kidney blockage or a Lupus flare. I don’t pretend I’m the average woman in my health, but I don’t think anyone is EXACTLY average.

    And ultimately, it shouldn’t make a darn bit of difference how often people weigh themselves. Weight is a measurement of WEIGHT, not personal value. It is one part of the over-all set of health indicators we have at our disposal.

    I think the important thing here isn’t how often you weigh, but whether or not a number on a scale is what you hang your self esteem and self worth on.

  3. lissa10279 says:

    Not always, but on the whole, when I’ve stopped with the daily WIs, I’ve gained weight, pure and simple. I’m a Weight Watcher and have been since 2004 and I can say, ignorance is bliss … til I see a jump of 7 lbs!

    I’ve tried to not let the number I see dictate how I feel about myself (I’ve gotten better about this lately), but it IS a good barometer for some people (otherwise they’d gain more weight than intended) and I feel no shame in doing it…to me it’s just another tool in my toolbox, my Joe’s jeans being another one. I don’t want to gain any more weight, so I like having these tools. But they’re just that: tools.

    On the flipside, when I do it, I do it first-thing in the morning before I shower, so no one can see me (and we don’t have kids yet). And I NEVER WI in at night or any other time during the day; it’s not real then!

    I have a good quote about the scale: “Treat your body like a friend and your scale like a machine.” All too often women DO treat their scales like a friend. It’s a piece of metal and plastic.

    • Ellie says:

      I agree with this. I weigh myself weekly and tend towards overeating and weight gain if I don’t. I don’t obsess over it, but I do believe that I’m healthier if I stay in a certain weight range.

  4. I weigh in every morning. For me, it’s just checking in and making sure that I am not heading up or down too far out of where I am most comfortable being.

    I am at a healthy weight for my frame. I am not interested in either gaining or losing weight. But in order to stay in the 5 – 7 pound range I feel best at, I need to keep an eye on it and adjust what I am consuming accordingly.

    I participate in a fairly demanding sport, but some weeks practices are harder than others, depending on what we are focusing on. So some weeks I will burn more, and the scale will tell me that, and I will know to adjust up the amount I am eating to make up for that. Some weeks I might burn less, and if that number is going up, then I will reduce my intake accordingly.

    But… if I don’t keep an eye on the scale, then I might end up going either up or down much further than I might want, which would require a bigger adjustment that I might want to make, so I’d much prefer making small adjustments on a daily basis than finding myself in a situation where I suddenly need to either gain 4 pounds or lose 4 pounds to get back into the range where I want to be.

    Yes – I know that weight is just a number, but I have a range of numbers that I prefer and daily weighing in helps me stay there.

    It’s not the approach for everyone, I am sure… But I am not berating myself over the numbers, no matter which way they are going… it’s just the easiest way for me to monitor and figure out from day to day how much I should be eating.

    (and kudos to those folks who can manage that through intuitive eating!! but I never could get the hang of that myself 😉

  5. Nats says:

    I personally weigh myself every day and I hate it when I feel like a failure for not doing so. But I also hate the fact that it seems to be something I HAVE to do

  6. Nikki says:

    I weigh myself daily. I feel like there are so many factors that affect my weight… when I went on the pill, I started to gain. I was already eating healthy and exercising as much as it was possible for me to do, so I just sort of rode it out and ended up gaining 5 lbs. before I stopped gaining.

    My eating and exercise are pretty static, but my stress and sleep levels affect my weight, as well as the medications I take. I see my weight as an indicator of how I’m doing overall.

    Wow this is probably my most boring post ever, lol. Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉

  7. mamaV says:

    For the daily weighers — don’t you think there is a psychological aspect of weighing in? I found that if I believe I am gaining and freak out about it, it starts happening, perhaps because the food focus takes over and then you have a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • Nikki says:

      The only time I gain is if something changes in my life… like when I went on YAZ and gained 5 lbs, or if I am stressed out I will lose a couple lbs. But usually my weight only fluctuates a half lb. or so per day, if that. So I don’t usually worry about it.

  8. julia says:

    I weigh daily as well, but I just write down the number and move on with my day. (I should say “nearly daily”, because there are times that I’m either away from home or forget.) Since I know my weight fluctuates from day to day, each individual weigh in doesn’t have that much significance – I’m really looking to see what happens with my weight over time. My “official” weight is the average of all the weigh-ins for the month.

    When I used to weigh myself only weekly, I found it more stressful, esp. if I was trying to lose weight. Fewer data points meant that each individual one seemed more important, and actually caused me to change my behavior prior to the weigh in days to give myself a better chance of having a positive result.

    With daily weigh ins I just go about my business – it actually cured me from giving the number on the scale too much importance.

    I find when I track my weight and my activity daily I tend to lose or maintain (depending on my current goal), but when I don’t I tend to gain. Being mindful daily rather than only paying attention once my pants don’t fit seems to be one the key ingredients for maintaining a healthy balance for me.

  9. AlaskaJoey says:

    I weigh myself once a week – except if my period is coming and then I wait, because the bloat will make me upset, even though I KNOW it isn’t real. I weigh myself in the morning after I’ve been to the toilet, before I eat anything, just to make sure I’m still in my range. Obviously I can tell by how my pants fit, but I like to write it down and record long range trends.

    Even when I was losing weight I only weighed once a week because I know weight can fluctuate day to day based on water levels, sodium, exercise, etc.

  10. Candice says:

    I think it can be healthy to weight yourself weekly or every few days. I know I check my weight every so often just to make sure it hasn’t jumped 5-10 lbs without my noticing, which is fairly common for me. Without the scale, I have a hard time knowing when I’ve gained weight. Like other commenters, I do keep my monthly schedule and water weight in mind. I don’t go crazy over the number, just the fluctuation.

    Conversely, if the number has gone down, I think about what I’ve done differently in the past week – have I walked more? Eaten healthier? It helps me link my weight with my behavioral patterns.

  11. Tempe Wick says:

    I try to only weigh myself at the doctors’ office, for two reasons. I used to weigh myself at the gym, but I found I was usually upset by it. Also, I assume that the scale in the doctors’ office is more reliable than the one at the gym. So I let the doctor weigh me every two months. As long as I’ve been doing this, there hasn’t been any rapid change (which might indicate a medical problem) so I’m fine with it this way.

  12. Claudia says:

    I’ve been weighing myself daily for the past two months, ever since we bought a scale. We were scale-free for the 8 months before that, and I can’t say I missed it (however I am now a few pounds heavier). Yes, my body image fluctuates depending on what the scale says, despite my brain knowing that that’s not logical.

    In regards to your comment about being a mom — I am not a mom, but I am a daughter — when I was a pre-teen and young teenager, my mom would wake me up in the morning and lead me right to the scale. I *know* she meant well – didn’t want me to get fat (she claims she was fat as a child, and didn’t want me to go through the same thing). As I get older, I realize how skewed my mom’s perception of weight is (particularly her own weight). Although my mom always told me I was beautiful, the subtext was that I was a little heavy, and that is still something I struggle with (I’m 29).

  13. I am shock at how many people weigh in every single day. I have been there and I was miserable or elated. It had a massive impact on my self worth for the day and my confidence.
    I accidentally stopped weighing daily. That was when realized I was in a really good place. I was confident and happy. I let the way I feel and the progress towards being more healthy determine how I feel about myself not a number on a scale.
    I am weighing every 10-14 days right now just to help maintain where I am at and make sure I am not sabotaging myself. The number is not an issue any longer for me.

  14. julie says:

    I don’t weigh every day, but probably 5 days a week, every time I’m at the gym. It’s just a number, but it’s a number that makes me comfortable to monitor. I don’t fluctuate a whole lot these days, but I like to make sure I’m not gaining. I’m still trying to lose, so if the scale isn’t budging, I can tweak here and there. It’s too easy for me to be in denial without it.

  15. Shelly says:

    I still weigh myself daily. I actually dont find it disordered. I have been in treatment centers where they weigh you everyday and make a big deal out of whether or not you have gained a pound, but that is whacked, but beside my point. My point is it doesnt really dictate how I feel during the day. I do it because I am interested. plain and simple and I can say I dont want to gain or lose weight. I just want to stay where I am at. If I am heavier I dont get upset (Honeslty, I do have to say I would if I saw a sudden three pound weight gain in one day) but a pound, who cares, I dont really change anything I would or wouldnt eat throughout out the course of the day.

    For me, I find comfort in weighing myself, If I maintain I am quite proud of myself and feel like I am finally doing something right. If I lose, I might add a little something extra to get it back to where it needs to be. funny because my body image is sometimes off and I could swear I have gained five pounds and i get on the cale and I havent. Then there are days when I am feeling like hmmm, have I lost a bit? Step on and I have gained. As an Eating disorder person I cant always trust my perception and I am in a place where I can wake up in the morning, strip down, and step on the scale without freaking out about it, throwing up my next meal, or not eating for the next three days. I dont need or want to weigh myself 10-20 times a day and so if I want to weigh myself once a day without panicking to keep track of how I am doing then hell, I think I have come pretty far.

    Maybe it is pyschological, maybe I am hanging on to a bit of my ED, maybe I am taking a gamble..one day the number will trigger something in me and go falling down the hole back to the hell I was in, but I am confident that it isnt the case.

    Could I give it up and not have a hard time, probably not because there is a part of me that is still adjusting to the new weight and this is where I need and want to be and what I can handle at this time.

  16. .C. says:

    I used to weigh in every single day, but now I don’t. I stopped doing this as a part of my personal recovery plan. I do still weigh myself, but the rule is that I have to try not to base behaviors off of that number. Also, if I feel like that number is going to affect my day, I do not weigh in as a general rule. I try to think of how I’ll feel if the number is lower, how I’ll feel if it is higher, and whether that will hurt me either way (both can be harmful to me). For a while I did not weigh at all. That is my tip – if you’re in recovery and you want to break your scale habit, stop cold turkey for a while. Then gauge how much you can weigh yourself, and when you can, based on how it’s going to make you feel. If it’s going to hurt you then fuck it. It should not affect how you eat – that is for your hunger to decide.


  17. Lori says:

    I hadn’t weighed myself since the spring, when I adopted the FA philosophy. I decided that as long as I was making good decisions about food and activity levels, the number on the scale was entirely superfluous. I just weighed myself after reading this post, out of curiousity. I am four pounds less than last May, which is within my normal fluctuation.

  18. JavaChick says:

    I weigh in at least once a week, but most of the time I weigh in every week day morning. I’m accustomed to the ups & downs and it doesn’t really bother me. I find if I’m not weighing in regularly I’m more prone to gain weight and I feel better keeping an eye on it.

    This is one of those things where I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ answer. Where one person can step on the scale and not be affected by what they see, another person could find that a little fluctuation completely throws them. I think everyone should do what works for them individually.

    Though as far as the weighing in multiple times a day goes, I agree – that’s not a good habit (and is also pointless).

  19. Geosomin says:

    I stopped daily weighing because it drove me crazy. Your body fluctuates and I’d get really bummed out if I went up in weight jsut from some bit of normal life. Now it’s once a month, or once a week if I’m trying to be very strict. Any more than that and it gets to bee a too important number.
    How I feel is what matters.

  20. tom brokaw says:

    I only weigh myself once a week, but that is because I’m not in weight loss mode and my weight has stabilized.

    Weighing yourself often does have the benefit of muting reaction to meaningless fluctuation based on water, etc.

    If you only weigh yourself once a month you may be seeing a number at an extreme end of your weight range. In other words, it’s not accurate. And then you’ll be stuck with that number in your head for a month. If you weigh yourself daily or more than once a week you will see the fluctuation trends and have a better idea that your true weight lies somewhere in between those fluctuations.

  21. Thomas Bailey says:

    I do not have a weighing schedule. I’ve had periods of daily weighings, periods of weekly or biweekly weighings, and, from 1974 to 1982, in which I did not record my weight at all.

  22. Woot says:

    I weigh myself daily, it is not a big deal and it keeps me accountable. I do mainly focus on the body fat percentage. Daily weigh-ins help me adjust my eating, specially when I’m super stressed out and start losing weight very fast.

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