Major weight loss takes more than just putting sneaker to treadmill or fork to plate. Odds are, you’re probably weighing yourself every once in awhile, too—and we don’t blame you if it’s the scariest part of your day.
But when it comes to the dreaded scale, there’s nothing to fear! According to the National Weight Control Registry, 75 percent of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off weigh themselves on a consistent basis. Plus, a 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who lose weight are less likely to gain it back if they regularly weigh themselves.
So, scale on! But do so mindfully, science says. Get this: apparently there is a “right” way to weigh yourself. And as long as you follow this simple rule, you may get results that you can be proud of (and that are a little more accurate!)
First off, doctors recommend scheduling one time per day to weigh yourself and sticking to that time no matter what. Since your weight fluctuates throughout the day, it’s hard to get an accurate read when you’re constantly stepping on the scale.
“You need to know that number on a consistent basis to help you manage your weight to make better decisions about your health,” Holly Wyatt, M.D., medical director of the Wellness Clinic at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
But then you’re faced with a choice: When is the best time to weigh yourself? According to the experts, you should step on the scale in the morning, after you’ve emptied your bladder and before you’ve eaten breakfast or hit the gym. Not only will you get a lower number (woohoo!) but you’ll also see a more accurate reflection of what you actually weigh—sans any extra pounds thanks to water, food, etc.
Plus, make sure your scale is on a hard, flat surface (no carpets) and that you are standing still with your weight distributed evenly across both feet. Getting a more exact version of your weight is guaranteed to put your mind to rest and boost your weight loss motivation.