The Great Weight Dilemma

JP Mullowney

Weighing yourself, the great conundrum. How many well intentioned dieters have stood in their bathrooms wondering, in thoughts reminiscent of Prince Hamlet, “to weigh or not to weigh, that is the question?” While, your decision is likely not as dramatic as Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, it is still important to your overall fitness goals.

The frequency and time of weigh-ins has been shown to influence the success of your training goals. For example, in their 2014 review paper, Zheng et al found that regular self-weighing was related to increased weight loss. In addition, more frequent weighing did not negatively influence psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. These results agree with an earlier review by Burke, Wang, and Sevick (2011) which also found that regular self-weighing produced positive weight loss outcomes.

From this, it can be concluded that regular weigh-ins can enhance your fitness goals. However, when it comes to regular weigh-ins, what is the correct protocol? To increase the accuracy of your weigh-ins, registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner suggests following the “4 S’s” protocol:

Same time of day
Same day of the week
Same clothing
Same Scale

For many people, the most practical time to meet these conditions is immediately upon waking in the morning. While following a protocol like the above should result in consistent measures, be aware that numerous factors can cause weight fluctuations. These include: salt intake (higher salt intake increases water retention), amount of food eaten the previous day, and most importantly for females, hormonal fluctuations.

The Take Home Message:

Weighing yourself frequently can positively influence your weight loss goals. When weighing yourself, try to follow the 4 S’s protocol for the most accurate results. Don’t worry too much if your weight fluctuates a little from week to week, numerous factors can cause this. Instead, look for a general downward trend. Most importantly though, who had any idea that Thomas knew his Shakespeare!

References:

Burke, L., Wang, J., Sevick, M.A. (2011). Self-monitoring in weight loss: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(1), 92-102.

Weighing in on the scales: Find your true weight. (2005). Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/weighing-in-on-scales-find-your-true-weight#1

Zheng, Y.,…, Burke, L. (2014). Self-weighing in weight management: A systematic literature review. Obesity, 23(2), 256-265.

Prepared for the JKC blog by Coach Thomas.

Photo credit: JP Mullowney

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