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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Weight Maintenance

Prevent Weight Gain with Daily Weigh-Ins

Fitness News Flash

-- By Nicole Nichols, Personal Trainer
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Sometimes the hardest part of weight loss is keeping it off. It can be daunting to know that within two years, most dieters regain two-thirds of what they lost! But researchers at Brown University Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island studied 291 people (mostly women) who had lost at least 10% of their body weight (an average of 44 pounds) in the previous two years. Participants were given scales (and encouraged to use them daily), as well as different levels of support (either a monthly email, an internet chat group, or face-to-face meetings).

At the onset of the study, 40% of the dieters were weighing themselves daily. After 18 months, 65% of those who chatted online and 72% of those who received face-to-face support weighed themselves daily, while those without support weighed themselves less. On top of that, 68% of dieters who did NOT weight-in daily gained five pounds or more over the course of the 18-month study.

Action Sparked
This study shows the importance both social support (either online or in person), and keeping track of your progress—even after you have already met your goal. You can get (and give!) plenty of support on the SparkPeople Message Boards, from your exercise buddies, trainer, family, and friends too.

When you weigh yourself regularly, you’re more likely to catch weight gain early on—and do something about it. Give yourself about a 5-pound range to stay within, and continue to watch your calories and get plenty of exercise after you meet your goal. While daily weigh-ins aren't necessarily for everyone, you can still keep yourself in check with consistent, weekly weigh-ins, body fat tests, or other measurements (such as waist, hips, etc.).
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • MOONLIGHTMOUSE
    I've weighed daily for long stretches at a time since 1996. I *always* keep my weight in check better when I do it. For me, it doesn't become an obsession; as a matter of fact, it's the opposite. When I weigh daily and graph it, the number loses any positive or negative significance and just becomes a data point on the graph.

    As others have noted, your weight fluctuates daily. It's interesting to me to see when that happens--I weigh more at the expected times (after a day of salty food, certain times of the month, etc.), but also on hot, humid days. My problem with weekly weigh-ins is that sometimes they fall on a day when my *scale* weight might be up as much as 3 lbs., even though my weight overall is going down. That used to stress me out with Weight Watchers, which was completely opposed to daily weigh-ins (at least, at the time I was doing it; I don't know what their stance is now).

    I realize that it's not everybody's thing; most people I've talked to say it would drive them crazy, except, interestingly, the ones who deal with data a lot. One of my friends who works in IT weighs & graphs daily, and has maintained the same weight for more than 30 years! - 1/22/2014 10:47:31 AM
  • I did a survey of maintainers. (Successful ones) and almost 9/10 of weighed in daily. Weight does fluctuate. But I know that it does, but if you see if going up instead of up and down then you need to evaluate... - 1/16/2014 7:15:54 AM
  • i absolutely agree with this article. I've been told by a million people, don't weigh in daily, only weekly, but i do it anyway, and i'm always more successful when i weigh daily. there is also a great app called happy scale that averages your daily weigh in's so fluctuations in water weight won't affect your results as much. I find daily weigh in very inspirational and it helps me start the day with weight loss on the mind.

    Every one is different, if you hate weighing in, don't do it. But also don't lecture other people about how it's bad to weigh in every day, there's nothing wrong with it, and it helps a lot of people. - 12/15/2013 8:58:51 PM
  • I guess I don't understand the logic of daily weigh-ins..... Weight fluctuates throughout the day based on food, how much water you drink, and whether or not you've gone to the bathroom. It seems like daily weigh-ins would lead to an unhealthy obsession with weight rather than reinforcement of overall healthy habits and lifestyle change. Weekly weigh-ins seem alright, but daily? No way, that's too often. - 7/28/2013 4:22:27 PM
  • talk about sending mixed messages!!! I could see if it were to say "once on maintenance" or something and although it mainly does talk in terms of dieters that have lost, still yet, I feel it is a bad idea to have articles for us that say stop weighing every day and then turn around and see this on here. What were you thinking? - 7/13/2013 4:04:39 AM
  • KNITWIT0704
    This is so strange that it was on the bottom of another article with a conflicting message... - 5/31/2013 10:05:24 AM
  • Hilarious --coincidence or not ??? That THIS article was shown at the bottom of the previous article I was reading about: 5 Steps To Stop Your Scale Obsession.....??!
    ! The pair together make for a really confusing message!! Dont' weigh while you are losing---but be sure to weigh every day once you get there?!

    Personally, I weigh almost every day---but---I have learned to look at the weekly average as my indicator. And, as this article suggests, I had a small range and when I got to the top of it, it is a Red Flag to cut back. Been doing that for 5+years---it works!! Now with Spark I've realized that range was a little too high, so I am working to reset where I should be. I've also never experienced "feelings of failure" if my weight went up---if it is up, it motivates me to be a little more mindful---if it is down, I get excited, and want to continue!! Best of Both Worlds, I think!! - 5/31/2013 1:11:52 AM
  • NEWSUNRISE
    This program helps me so much....most of all because its free to me! poor people like me love to have the nice benifits as going to weight watchers.....wher
    e as that program cost like up to $15. a week....i just cant pay and track that way! thank you to the staff at spark people! ill reach my goal with your help! kimberly - 4/26/2013 6:20:02 PM
  • MEEMEEOF5
    I feel that daily weigh-in helps me understand what foods will make me gain. If I eat potatoes one day I can gain up to 2 pounds the next day. It also helps if I gain one day even just a little I make myself work harder that day. If I loose it makes me feel good about myself and I work harder because I feel like I have did good for myself. It is something that just helps me. - 2/9/2013 11:39:53 AM
  • POSEY150
    Daily or weekly? I think it depends on how you react to the number you see. If a daily up/down makes you feel hopeless then a weekly weigh-in would help to smooth the graph. During the loss phase I will weigh weekly then on maintenance I 'll weigh daily. I think a 3-4 lb change upward calls for immediate action. - 2/7/2013 3:50:20 PM
  • ALIVEACADEMY
    One reason why I think the people that weighed in more often lost weight is because they more involved in losing weight. Weight loss requires the proper mentality. Your mind is very powerful, if you train your mind the right way you can achieve anything. Losing weight is not an easy task for a lot of people, some people need more help than others. Check out www.thealiveacade
    my.com for ways to lose weight permanently without eating less or working out - 11/30/2012 11:45:27 AM
  • I have just started to weigh in daily....helps me.... - 10/7/2012 2:40:14 PM
  • I weigh in daily, to see if I need to take my water pill , for my heart and hypertension, if it is up and I have a little bit of a headache, I know all that water is not leaving my body and I have to flush some of it out in order to avoid problems, the weigh in thing is individual I guess because we all have diffrent body chemistries and such - 8/15/2012 10:25:00 AM
  • But yet other articles on SparkPeople say NOT to weigh-in daily for weight-loss. So what's the deal? I personally find it discouraging just because of the natural fluctuations a person experiences throughout the week, due to water retention, and other things. So I'll get stressed out when I see it go up during the week (even if I've not changed anything with diet or exercise) but yet on my normal weigh-in day, the end result is still a loss of pounds. So I think I'll stick to once a week.... - 5/19/2012 10:50:10 AM
  • This article helps to reinforce my belief that weighing daily helps prevent regaining the weight we worked so hard to lose. Having the support of other Sparkers also helps me keep on track. - 5/19/2012 8:33:08 AM