People often ask me why I suggest that dieters (without eating disorders) weigh themselves daily, instead of weekly, monthly, or not at all. Here’s why:
1. You need to be accountable. It’s too easy to let yourself stray from your plan if you know you won’t have to face the music right away. Many dieters have told me: “I think I would have cheated except I knew I had to weigh myself the next morning. It’s the only thing that stopped me.”
2. You need to become desensitized to the number on the scale. It’s important for you to practice saying to yourself, day after day, “This number is just a piece of information, like my blood pressure or my temperature. It has nothing to do with who I am as a person.”
3. You need to learn about weight variation. Many dieters think that they should lose at least a little weight every single day if they’ve been faithful to their eating plan. Here’s the truth: Your weight should NOT decrease every day. It’s biologically impossible. Even if you’ve taken in fewer calories than you expended, your weight may remain the same or go up due to hormones, lack of sleep, water retention, and so forth. You cannot lose weight every single day.
4. You need to minimize discouragement. Let’s say you weigh yourself once a week. If your weight is up that one day (for one of the reasons listed above), you may want to quit because you assume it’s been up all week. “It’s not worth it!” a lot of dieters say. “Here I’ve been working so hard at sticking to my diet all week and the scale is up!” Weighing yourself daily—and especially graphing your weight changes– allows you to take the ups and downs in your stride.