Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?

For many people who struggle with obesity, getting on the scale is more than just stress. Getting on the scale if viewed through an unhealthy distorted lens can produce anxiety, can be overwhelming, and as a result, can damage motivation for continuing a weight loss program.

Getting on the scale is a challenge all of its own. It’s separate from diets and exercise, but it is also an integral part of measuring how all the other tools are working. Weighing yourself every day may require resolution to face your biggest fear, and some of your biggest triggers, often as soon as you wake up. For some, this is a big enough reason to avoid trying altogether.

Are Daily Weigh-Ins Necessary?

So is it necessary to actually do daily weigh-ins when you’re trying to lose weight? You’ll get conflicting answers from different medical professionals. There are some weight loss programs that swear by this method and say that weighing yourself every single day is necessary to keep yourself focused, keeping your pledge to the weight loss program prominent in your life, and keeping yourself first in regard to your diet and exercise routine. However, that approach doesn’t work for everyone. And if there’s one thing that a weight-loss doctor can tell you it’s not that a one size fits all approach can’t ever work.

However, this is not simply a one size fits all question. The reality is that it could be helpful to weigh yourself daily following bariatric surgery; this could be a helpful strategy to keep yourself focused and track your weight loss. However, if stepping on the scale has been an overly emotional experience for you in the past and it’s something that will prevent you from even focusing on your weight loss goals then it is not something you should push yourself to do every single day–yet.

The Emotional Impact

There is a chance that after having bariatric surgery stepping on a scale isn’t going to be as negative and stressful as it was prior to having met with your bariatric surgeon. Following your weight-loss surgery procedure, you are going to lose weight at a much faster pace than you did before. What’s more, your bariatric surgeon will need to know the pace at which you’re losing weight and how much weight you are losing in between appointments, so there is a medical value to weighing yourself regularly. But that isn’t to say you have to do it every single day if stepping on the scale is something that will bring you anguish. One goal of becoming healthier is to no longer dread the scale.

A scale is a tool used to give us quantitative data that represents your progress in terms of your weight. It is not a reflection of your personal value. It is not a reflection of who you are. It is not even a reflection of how hard you are working in your weight loss program or how hard or how much you want to lose weight. The scale is helpful for self-monitoring and can be used to improve self-control.

 As you are losing weight there is no reason to fear the scale. A scale is a helpful tool that can help you and help your doctor to make sure that you are remaining healthy and on track in your weight loss program. Your weight loss surgeon will tell you how often they think you should weigh yourself.

Many people even start keeping a weight loss chart where they start to track how many pounds they’re losing in a week and how quickly they’re approaching different milestones. Sometimes your weight loss surgeon will want to know if you’re losing weight at a slower pace or a faster pace than might have been anticipated and there’s no great way to do this without stepping on a scale. This is important to optimize your chances of reaching your weight loss goal and make necessary changes along the way to support this goal.

Successes Beyond The Scale

 It is also important to celebrate non-scalable successes every day. Non-scalable successes are positive changes that have nothing to do directly with your weight. An example may include feeling more energetic, seeing the quality of your life improving, and noticing that your old clothes are fitting you better.

 One important related tool for successful weight loss is learning to recognize thought distortions that predetermine defeat. And many thought distortions can be centered on weighing. Rather than using negative self-analysis and critical self-talk in response to weigh-ins, a healthier approach would be to simply see this activity for what it is, a tool to give you awareness of where you are in your journey. In his book, The Lost Art of Thinking, Dr. Neil Nedley details common thought distortions and practical methods for overcoming them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques can also be used to resolve thought distortions. In either case, if thought distortions centered on weighing can be overcome, this gives you a healthy weight to use the power of daily weight measurements to your advantage. One study indicates that those patients who weigh every day lose more weight than those who do not. If, however, these thought distortions continue to cripple and discourage you, then you may not be able to succeed by weighing every day.

To Scale or Not To Scale

So, should you weigh yourself every day after weight loss surgery? The answer is that it depends on you and your growth. Talk to your weight-loss surgeon if you are nervous or anxious about stepping on the scale so often. If stepping on the scale is going to prevent you from being able to focus on your weight loss goals and give this weight loss program an honest try, then it is not something that you should confront every single day yet.

Do not attempt to put personal value and allow the scale to define who you are or how good you are or how good at keeping care of yourself you are. Instead, the scale needs to remain a tool that tells information externalized from you. For some getting on the scale once a week consistently may be the best method for tracking loss.

Our bariatric surgery consultation team is here to provide you with the support, knowledge, and resources needed to take control of your health. We understand that weight loss is a very personal matter, both physically and mentally, and we provide an environment of understanding and empathy.

If you have questions or concerns about how bariatric surgery can help you, contact us for more information and support.

Dr. Joshua Long headshot

This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: January 3rd, 2023

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