How often should you weigh yourself?

Science has an answer for this and, more important, why your relationship with the scale can be a powerful tool.
Published February 28, 2018

Let's rethink how you see the scale. It's less of a calculator (adding, bad; subtracting, good) and more of a compass (carefully guiding you to your destination). That means you want to check it enough to see that you're going in the right direction, but not so much that you lose sight of the big picture. We generally recommend that you do so at least once a week, but no more than once a day. Why? Weighing yourself regularly is one of the best predictors of weight loss and maintenance.

“A lot of research shows individuals who weigh themselves weekly—if not more frequently, as much as daily—tend to do better in terms of initial weight loss and in terms of keeping weight off long-term,” says Gareth Dutton, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

And this success has nothing to do with what the scale actually says on any given day, explains Allison Grupski, Ph.D., vice president of behavior change strategies and coaching at WeightWatchers®. Tracking your weight over time is useful because it helps you see what's working and what's not.

In a 12-month study, people who weighed themselves weekly lost 31.5% more weight compared to people who did not get on the scale as frequently.

3 more reasons to weigh yourself regularly

You’ll notice how behaviors impact your body

“Weighing in regularly can be helpful for adopting healthy behaviors to lose weight because it increases awareness of how the things we eat and the exercises we do impact weight,” says Dori Steinberg, Ph.D., an associate professor of nursing and global health at Duke University, a consulting associate professor at the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center, and a registered dietitian.

You’ll stay accountable

It’s much easier to get offtrack when you don’t have anything to tell you that you’ve actually veered from your goal. Knowing your weight can be empowering! It gives you information about what you might want to do next (change your lunchtime habits, say).

Making a date with the scale part of your weekly or daily routine also helps you notice what’s working (meal-prepping your lunches so that you don't grab takeout, for example), so you can keep doing it.

You’ll become familiar with—and relax around!—the normal ups and downs

Here's the thing: Weight fluctuates naturally, and when you're trying to lose weight, you may get thrown off by these fluctuations. For many of us, weigh-ins can be anxiety-provoking, specifically because we interpret those fluctuations as meaningful—when often, they aren't. “It's not about little ups and downs; it's about your progress over weeks and months,” Grupski says. Regularly getting on the scale can help you become familiar with these patterns and provide a little breathing room.

“There is so much weight given to the number on the scale—we give it so much value, but its value is that it’s just another tool in our toolbox,” reminds Steinberg.

Making the scale a part of your daily habit helps alleviate the anxiety many people feel surrounding the process and removes the emotional, judgmental aspects of weighing in that people so often fear, says Dutton: “It becomes an objective data point rather than a subjective judgment call on you as a person.”

How to weigh yourself on WW

Find the right scale

First off, you’ll want to grab your scale and keep it somewhere where you can easily see it (not kicked under the bathroom cabinet). Don’t have one or in the market for an updated model? The WeightWatchers has you covered. Choose from classic digital options or teched-out scales that measure more than just weight. Here’s an insider’s guide to pick the one that’s right for you.

WW-approved scales to help you reach your goals

Best scale if you’re on a budget: WW Scales by Conair Digital Glass

For a glass scale that only looks expensive, you can’t go wrong with the WW Scales by Conair Digital Glass with Blue Backlight Display. It boasts precise measurements in 0.1-pound increments and an easy-to-read LCD display—all at less than $30! And thanks to the sleek stainless steel design, you won’t mind keeping it out even when guests come over.

Best scale if you’re a numbers person: WW Compact Body Analysis Bluetooth® Scale by Conair

If you’re in a committed relationship with your activity and sleep tracker, the WW Compact Body Analysis Bluetooth Scale by Conair is for you. Use it to measure your weight, body fat, water content, BMI, muscle, and bone mass. Then take advantage of the scale’s Bluetooth compatibility to make tracking in your favorite health apps (including the WW app!) completely seamless. Plus, up to nine family members can create their own profiles—with info like height, age, sex, and fitness level—to get more personalized data.

Reminder: While these extra measurements can be useful to help track changes along your journey, they shouldn’t replace medical tests recommended by a healthcare provider.

Best scale to simplify tracking: WW Bluetooth Body Weight Scale

If you regularly weigh yourself but forget to log your stats by the time you make it from the bathroom to the kitchen, here’s a solution: the WW Bluetooth Body Weight Scale. It’s Bluetooth-connected and comes with an app that can sync your data with the WW app—the only thing you have to do is step on the scale! (Non–WW members can connect the scale to the Apple Health or Google Fit app instead.) You don’t need a smartphone or tablet to see your metrics. The scale displays weight and BMI on its LCD screen if you’d rather log the info yourself.

Get in the right mindset

Need a little nudge to step on the scale now that you have one? We hear you—and we're there for you. The WW app has a powerful audio coaching session from Grupski that walks you through the process of weighing in to help make it less intimidating. Give it a listen—it’s less than three minutes long! In the WW app, tap the menu in the top-left corner to go to Mindset and look for the “Before You Weigh Yourself, Listen” audio with Dr. Allison.

No matter how you choose to prepare, remember this: The scale inspires emotions in all of us, but it's just a hunk of metal and plastic. Whatever the reading is—up, down, or about the same—doesn't reflect your success on your WW journey or say anything about who you are, Grupski says: “Whatever number you see isn't good or bad—it's just a piece of data to help inform your journey.”

Create a routine

It also helps to create a consistent weigh-in routine—one that allows you to get on the scale at the same time, in the same place, and in the same manner each week.

First, choose a time of day and day(s) of the week when you'll weigh yourself (say, Tuesday and Sunday mornings). Now pick a consistent way to weigh in. It's recommended that you do so right after you wake up, before eating anything, and without wearing clothes. This ensures that the changes you see on the scale aren't due to the chunky sweater you're wearing or the fluids you drank throughout the day.

Weighing yourself doesn’t just lead to more weight loss—it’s also connected to off-the-scale-benefits! Studies show that people who weigh themselves more are also less sedentary, get more activity, and track what they eat more often.

Head to the WW app

Now that you have a physical tool and a game plan, you’ll want to open your digital tool, the WW app. WW members have multiple options for weighing in weekly (or more frequently). Studio members can weigh in weekly at their Wellness Check-ins, whether at a WW Studio or virtually in a private Zoom chat. And all members can use the WW app to weigh in at home, on vacation, at the gym—wherever!

To track your weight in the WW app, tap the blue + button in the bottom-right corner. Or go to your profile in the top-right corner and find My Weekly Check-In, where you'll also be asked to reflect on your week. You'll then receive a progress report and set an action plan and goal for the upcoming week. Going through this entire flow helps set you up for weight-loss success.