This has to be one of the most asked questions in the world of health and fitness. How often should you weigh yourself? Every day, twice a week, weekly, monthly? And the second most popular question has to be when should you weigh yourself? Before breakfast, middle of the day, late at night? Whatever you choose from those options, you’ll be provided with a very different result.
It’s important that we know what we weigh, but this is often a number we obsess over yet don’t fully understand. I’ll explain further. As a person trying to lose weight, you typically weigh yourself and just hope the number goes down day by day, week by week. If you’re eating the right food at the right times, then technically you should lose weight, however; if like me and you’re on a workout programme involving weights, then you may well gain weight, because, like fat, muscle weighs something too!
When you next weigh yourself, remember this; your body weight comprises of much more than just fat or muscle. There’s the day’s food, drink and sorry to sound gross but poo also. When you wake up in the morning, the chances are you’ll use the toilet before cleaning your teeth or having breakfast, so you may well be more “empty” in the morning when you wake up. As the day goes by, you’re eating and drinking breakfast, dinner and lunch, three meals, or five if you count your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. This means that you’re likely to be a lot heavier in the evenings than you are when you wake up in the morning.
You see, the word “weight” means “what you weigh”, it doesn’t really explain the composition of that weight. So technically, the number on your scales could be considered a little useless. Body Composition Scales are going to be of more use. I bought these 1byOne Digital Smart Bluetooth scales from Amazon, and they help me measure body water, body fat, visceral fat, muscle mass, bone mass, BMR and BMI.
It’s important that you have this breakdown, otherwise, a number of things could happen:
- Let’s assume you weighed 180lbs one week and 180lbs the next. You’re going to assume that you haven’t lost any weight (as in lost any fat) when in fact, you may have lost fat but gained it in muscle.
- Using the example above, you could wrongly assume that the reason the scales didn’t budge is because you gained it in muscle when in fact, you didn’t gain any muscle at all… you simply didn’t lose any fat!
- The scales may show that you’ve lost a pound, but did you lose a pound of fat, or did you lose 3lbs of fat and gain 2lbs back in muscle. You could have lost 4lbs of fat and gained 3lb in muscle.
You see… the overall body weight might not mean a thing if you’re like me an eating well (on a diet) and working out (building muscle). Who knows what I’m losing and gaining without those special scales!
It’s perfectly normal for your body weight to bounce up and down day by day, and if you don’t understand the composition of your weight you could end up making some unnecessary changes to your diet or workout.
If you weigh yourself daily, then as I’ve said you’re going to see the overall body weight figure bounce up and down due to a variety of factors. So if on Monday morning you’re 200lbs and tried to weigh yourself later that evening, you could well be 205lbs as you’ve got the day’s worth of food and drink inside you, and possibly Sunday’s too depending on when you last used the toilet. So trust me, your weight does fluctuate throughout the day and indeed throughout the week also for reasons I’ve already explained. If you choose to weigh yourself every day, then you could take the average reading from that week as your current weight. Do not make any daily changes based on these fluctuations.
If you weigh yourself weekly, then you could do it on a day when one of your fluctuations is taking place. What I mean is, let’s say you weigh yourself every Saturday. On the first week you’re 202lbs, but the following Saturday you’re 200lbs, therefore you’d naturally assume that “this week I lost 2 pounds”. However, by mid-week you may have actually reached 198lbs, meaning, you’ve not lost 2lbs, you just gained two pounds since the middle of the week! This further proves my point about weight fluctuations.
What works for one person, won’t work for the next. Weighing DAILY is my personal preference because I’m able to see (thanks to the special scales) how my weight jumps up and down, and I use that information along with the information on my diet via My Fitness Pal to analyse WEEKLY how I’ve performed.
I don’t get why anybody who takes their health and fitness would want to weight themselves monthly. Nothing more to say on that one!
As for when is the best time to weigh yourself, well, I touched on this a moment ago. There’s little point in weighing in later in the day or evening. Do it in the morning, preferably at the same time and wear as little as possible. I weigh myself every morning around 8am and wear nothing more than my underwear. If you do wear clothes, it’s useful knowing exactly how much they weigh so that you can deduct this from your body weight measurement.
Don’t be tempted to weigh yourself later in the day after a workout just to see if you’ve shifted any weight. It will drive you crazy, because if you wake up and weigh at say 8am, eat breakfast, do the school run, have a meeting, have a mid-morning snack and then do a 25 minute workout, you’ll not see any weight loss at all by say midday, because it doesn’t happen that quickly!
Weigh daily, analyse weekly
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