Motivation Articles

Weigh-In Secrets from the SparkPeople Coaches

How Often Do the Experts Weigh Themselves?

There are a lot of different ways to measure your progress toward your goals. If you're trying to manage your weight, you could track your weigh-ins or judge how well your clothes fit. If you're trying to improve your fitness level, you might pay attention to how much weight you can lift or how fast you can run. At SparkPeople, we advise our members to use a variety of measures to check their progress. But do our experts put their own advice into practice? Find out how the SparkPeople experts measure their results!

Chris Downie, Author, motivation expert and SparkPeople founder
"I measure my progress by how well I'm sticking to my goals. I keep a list of my short-term goals and action steps and work to reach them and then set new ones (or make adjustments when necessary)."

Becky Hand, Registered and Licensed Dietitian
"I try to maintain my current weight and level of fitness. I measure my progress by how my jeans are fitting, as well as by the intensity that I can put forth in my workouts. I weigh myself about every 2-4 weeks."

Nancy Howard, Certified running coach and SparkPeople Community moderator
"I no longer own a scale, but I do weigh myself every 4-6 weeks at my gym. As far as gauging my progress, I go by the way my favorite jeans fit. If they start getting snug, I go back to tracking my nutrition until they fit the way they used to."

Tanya Jolliffe, Healthy eating expert and SparkPeople Community moderator
"I measure results by the fitness goals I set, such as holding a plank for one minute, running several miles, race walking 2.5 miles in 30 minutes, doing 10 real push-ups, etc. I do not weigh myself at home at all; I only get weight checks when I visit my medical providers a couple times a year."

Jen Mueller, Certified personal trainer and SparkPeople Community leader
"I measure progress by how I feel during training runs and how easily I can increase my mileage. I try not to get on the scale very often because the scale and I aren't really friends. It's too easy for me to let a number determine how happy I am with my body, so it's better for me to just focus on other measures of progress."

Nicole Nichols, Certified personal trainer and SparkPeople editor
"I never weigh myself. I think the last time I weighed myself was over a year ago. I do judge my progress based on how my clothes fit, my overall energy level, and how I feel and perform during my workouts. Personally, I'd rather make the right choices (maintain my weight with healthy food choices and consistent workouts) so I can run a 10K or improve my time during my workouts or races. That is a truly motivating way to view weight control and fitness!"

Denise Tausig, SparkPeople Coach and Community moderator
"I actually quit stepping on the scale because I got to the point that I was watching the scale every day and noticed that for me, it was an unhealthy habit. I now go by the way my clothes fit and how I feel rather than letting the scale dictate how I feel about myself. It's just a number."

There are lots of different ways to measure progress--and not all of them have to involve the scale. Check out other ways you can measure your progress without the scale--just like the SparkPeople Coaches!

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Member Comments

  • Weighing is an individual choice....if it becomes an obsession, that is a problem, or if a person freaks out over every little ounce without considering the day to day fluctuations, that is a problem too. For me, weighing keeps me accountable. If I don't weigh regularly, I start to get lackadaisical and I think that I can eat what I want. If I weigh regularly, I stay on track with healthy nutrition and exercise.
  • RUNGRL2013
    phew--needed this article. I think I'll weigh myself at the beginning of every month but I'll use my clothes as a measure of progress. There's a pair of jeans I want to get into again, I'll just work on getting closer to that goal instead of a number on the scale.
  • I agree with some of the other comments here. I do weigh daily, but I do it keep focused. I only log my weight once a week and I ultimately measure my progress on a monthly basis since that's where the progress really shows.

    I know from lots of experience, that when I don't weigh in, I slip, I lose focus and I gain weight fast. My whole objective right now is to see the number on the scale decrease. I'm well attuned to the fluctuations which happen on a day to day basis and that does not stress me out.

    Plus I can gain a lot of weight before my clothes start to feel snug (it takes a huge loss for me to drop a size) so that's a terrible barometer for me.

    I set short term goals - right now I have an end of year goal I'm targeting, that's 3 months out which I think is reasonable and healthy.
  • I really like the idea of considering how well I feel while working out. While this may change from day to day, I think the more fit you are the happier you are working out.
  • I too thought this article was unrealistic . The Coaches should state whether they are maintaining ? Losing stage ? Never had to worry about weight ? Including this information would have given the article better context and folks a better gauge to relate to and learn from.
  • I think weigh ins during the losing phase of fitness program are a good way to track progress. My weight loss is slow, so it gives me a boost when I see, even a -0.5 difference from week to week, but when it does go up I usually know what I did to cause it, and it helps me confirm what I need to do.

    When I've reached my goal, I will still weigh in at least once a week until I get the hang of how to manage without it.
  • I am one of those that feels the need to weigh daily and am almost obsessed with it. When we go on vacation I don't take my scale along but end up prowling the store aisles to find a scale that's already been opened. Then I wait until no one else is in the aisle and weigh myself! I've definitely had times when I felt I was getting too attached to the scale and tried to make myself cut back on the weigh ins but I would always cave, dig out the scale, and weigh anyway. I finally decided to just accept the fact that I have a need to know what number I'm at and now weighing in is part of my morning ritual. I did have to learn a few things about myself, though, so I wouldn't get depressed. First of all, my weight fluctuates quite a bit. The other day I stuck to my calories, took a 3 mile walk, and did a 90 minute hot yoga class. When I weighed in the next morning, I had gained 1-1/2 lbs. That's just how I am. So even though I weigh daily, I will only be logging that weight on my Spark Page once a week. Another thing I found out is that a couple hours after I get up, I weigh anywhere from 1-3 pounds less than when I first climb out of bed. I think it's water weight, since I usually go to the bathroom 3 or 4 times during those couple hours, even though I've had nothing to drink since the night before and have usually gotten up in the night to use the bathroom. So now my daily weigh in happens a couple hours into my day. Anyway, I guess my point in sharing all this is that if you are a person who weighs in frequently, it is important to know your body and how it operates.
  • Are any of these coaches in the losing phase? How long have they been in the maintenance stage? I think those might be important details to compare with how they measure their ongoing progress.

    As to weigh-ins ... I don't honestly think there is a "right answer". I've weighed in daily many times in my life and never let the daily fluctuations affect me mentally. It's just a gross (meaning broad, not disgusting) look at the current state. I've seen people weigh only once a week successfully. I've seen people weigh in only once a month or on doctor's visits.

    The key isn't how often we weigh in. It's how honest we are with ourselves and how well we track trends over time. How clothes fit, how I feel, how my skin and muscle feels under my hands, how quickly I'm out of breath or feeling my heart pound - all of it together gives a full picture of my health. Total weight alone can't tell us that, no matter how frequently or rarely we weigh in.
  • Interesting since Spark sets a 'goal weight' for you to achieve on your Spark journey. I found that, along my journey (and until I reached goal weight), it was important that I could measure my success. Further, there are groups on SP that have weekly weigh ins. How would you know your progress if you didn't know the number on the scale? How would you know if you had a 'healthful' BMI if you were in the 'obese/overweight
    ' range? I think it is important to frame this article in the direction of folks who have achieved their goal weight...and this won't work for all in maintenance phase. I still want to weigh in once a week. I don't want my clothes to tell me. I want to know my number. Everyone approaches it differently. Not knowing my weight at least once a week could be disastrous. And also using SP tools to know they were working also.
    I found this article unrealistic - and as someone else pointed out, it also contradicts the advice that a daily (or otherwise regular) weigh-in can help people keep track of progress. I weigh myself daily (at roughly the same time of day, wearing essentially the same clothes) but don't let the number dictate my mood - I pay attention to the trends, not the micro-details.
  • I weigh myself twice a month. Because I would think need to lose everyday or week.
    To weigh or not to weigh is a very individual choice... I wouldn't dream of not weighing myself daily - and I've been in maintenance for six years!
    It really just depends on the person. For some, weighing in weekly or even daily is a good motivator. Kudos for you. For people like me, whose weight NATURALLY fluctuates a few pounds within the day and who is also emotionally attached to the number on the scale, weighing in that often isn't such a good idea. I've spent 2 months plateauing at the same relative number and it made me depressed to see it. I didn't care that I felt healthier, stronger, and fitter - all that mattered was the scale and every time I weighed in, it dictated the rest of my week. In the end, it was detrimental to my weight loss, rather than motivational. So now, I'm at monthly weigh ins and focusing on non-scale victories.
  • I agree with others here who stated that these coaches are likely in maintenance and that is partly why they do not weigh often. When I have been in maintenance mode, I don't feel the need to weigh every day, especially if I am eating/drinking right and exercising regularly. When I know that I am not, I weigh more often to assess the damage. Right now, I am a ways away from maintenance, so am definitely weighing every day.
  • Lets hope that the day will come when I dnt feel the need to step on the scale. But, as others have said, I do believe that Ill also feel the need to weigh in for a few years after reaching goal---still a long way off.