You might have been advised to totally avoid scales if you’re trying to lose weight.
And while that’s sound advice for anyone focusing too much on pounds lost, or easily unmotivated by what they see - there might be good reason to not only keep the scales, but to weigh yourself every day.
Researchers at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania recruited almost 300 women, of various weights, and asked them about how often they weighed themselves. None of the women were on any weight-loss programmes at the time.
The researchers measured their BMI (Body Mass Index), which measures a person’s height-to-weight ratio, and assessed their body fat. They did this at the start of the study, six months into it, and again after two years had passed.
They found that the women who weighed themselves every day had lower BMIs at the end of the two years, compared with those who didn’t.
The researchers concluded that weighing yourself every day could make people more aware of their fitness and diet goals.
The study purposefully recruited students, because more than 70 per cent of students gain weight during their first year at college, according to research.
Meghan Butryn, an author of the research, said:
Regularly weighing yourself can motivate you to engage in healthy eating and exercise behaviours, because it provides you with evidence that these behaviours are effective in helping you lose weight or prevent weight gain.
Similarly, if you see weight gain on the scale, that information can motivate you to make a change.
However, the link between weighing yourself every day and weight loss couldn't be confirmed. The researchers wrote:
It is possible that the relation between self-weighing and weight might be driven by scale avoidance among those who experienced weight gain.