Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Tipping the Scales Daily?
How often should you weigh yourself when you're on a diet?
Answer (Published 2/13/2006)

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules on this subject, but a recent study found that weighing yourself daily does seem to help. The study, conducted by researchers at Brown University, found that people who weighed themselves every day were less likely to regain lost weight than were those who weighed themselves less often.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

As you may know, many studies suggest that very few people who lose weight succeed in keeping it off. This time, researchers looked at 291 people who had lost at least 10 percent of their body weight, an average of 44 pounds, during the two years prior to the study. To see how successful this group would be at maintaining their weight loss, the researchers divided study participants into three groups: one that met through online chat rooms, one that met in person (both types of meetings included a weight-loss counselor), and one group that received counseling via monthly newsletters. All participants were urged to weigh themselves daily on scales they were given at the outset of the study. They also received advice about diet and exercise.

Initially, the meetings (both online and in-person) were held weekly for four weeks and then monthly for 17 months.

When the study began about 40 percent of all the participants were weighing themselves daily. A year and a half later, 65 percent of those in the internet group and 72 percent of those in the in-person group were weighing themselves daily compared to 30 percent in the newsletter group. The researchers found that of the study participants who weighed themselves daily, only 39 percent had gained five pounds or more. However, 68 percent of those who weighed themselves less frequently had gained five pounds or more.

This suggests that you're more likely to succeed at weight loss if you continue to weigh yourself daily so that you can spot changes and take immediate action to reverse any trend toward weight gain. Results of another recent study (published in the July 1, 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) showed that only one in 10 people who have lost weight manage to recover from a weight gain of more than two to four pounds when they're trying to maintain their losses.

Another way to be vigilant is to maintain regular food records. Clinical trials have demonstrated that people can reduce food intake by up to 40 percent just by writing down what they eat.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here