Keeping the Weight Off: Do Daily Weigh-ins Help?

Every morning as I head into the shower, my husband makes fun of my daily weigh-in on the bathroom scale. Just like many of you, I have struggled with weight loss and weight maintenance. Long before I was exposed to the research literature stating that dieters are more successful when they have a support system and a forum to discuss the challenges of losing weight and staying motivated, I was an avid weight checker.

It's true that weight fluctuates significantly from day to day due to fluid intake and retention. Still, more studies are demonstrating that a routine weigh-in can help prevent weight rebound. For years, nutrition professionals have been counseling dieters against daily weigh-ins, especially during times of aggressive dieting. They usually recommend you pick a longer time period, such as a week, between weight checks.

However, consumers are changing. We live in a world in which we want instant results and seek guidance and health information wherever it is most readily available. Now researchers are finding that when study participants checked weight more frequently after weight loss, those who checked their weight most often were less likely to regain the weight. The theory explaining this result is that it's easier to stop small weight fluctuations early on, than to wait until there is a larger problem to correct.

Nutrition experts may still be hesitant to recommend daily weigh-ins for weight control, but it looks as if we may have to rethink our strategy to meet the needs of a changing consumer.