Is a weekly weigh in or daily weigh in best for faster fat loss?
Research proves that tracking your results stacks the odds of weight-loss success in your favour. But is a weekly weigh in the best method to monitor your progress towards a leaner, stronger and healthier body? Or does jumping on the scales daily improve your chances of achieving the physique you’ve always wanted? New Body Plan’s fitness director Joe Warner weighs up the pros and cons of each approach so you can make the best decision for you
Is a daily or weekly weigh in best for you? Jump straight to the pros and cons of each approach to accelerate your weight-loss progress!
First things first. It’s critically important to track your progress towards the leaner, fitter and stronger body you want. Why? For one very simple reason. Because people who record their results achieve a better outcome than those who don’t. Always. Every single time.
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Monitoring your progress on a weekly basis – through a weekly weigh in on your bathroom scales, body-part tape measurements, and top-off progress photos – are amongst the best way to take ownership of your better-body challenge and make yourself fully accountable for the outcome you want.
And if you have that accountability to yourself and your goal, you’re infinitely more likely to stick to your training and nutrition plan. And it’s the consistent following of a smart, simple and sustainable programme that will ensure you get the results you’ve always wanted.
Is a weekly weigh in best for fast fat loss?
I’ve written before about why a weekly weigh in (on the same day, at the same time) is a smart strategy to get an accurate insight into your progress without the distractions of inevitable daily weight fluctuations.
These sudden and often dramatic variations in your weight day-to-day can be caused by how much food you’ve just eaten, your hydration and electrolyte levels, when you last when to the bathroom, what your hormones are doing, and many other known and unknown factors.
I maintain that a weekly weigh in is the ideal strategy if you’re someone who’s quick to obsess over your weight. Or get angry, annoyed or disheartened if the number’s not moving in the direction you want as quickly as you like.
Is seeing the “wrong” number on the scale more likely to result in you giving up and raiding the biscuit barrel? Rather than reinforcing your desire to stick steadfast to your exercise and eating plan? Then you’re far better doing a weekly weigh in, and never more regularly than that.
Or even better, consider ditching the scales in favour of only doing top-off progress photos, or body-part measurements. These two options are far better indicators of your improving body composition (less body fat, more muscle) than a no-context number on a set of scales (which might not even be that accurate in the first place).
Why a weekly weigh in may not be best for you
However, daily weigh-ins can work for some people. Especially if you’re someone who is buoyed by even the slightest sign of progress.
Or maybe you’re someone who would benefit from daily weigh-ins because it reinforces your motivation to make more of those small tweaks to your daily routine – drink more water, eat less sugar, take more steps, schedule a training session etc – that quickly add up to massive health and fitness changes.
Daily weighs-in can also help you lose body fat faster if you have a lot of excess fat to lose. One study which tracked the fat-loss progress of 47 overweight individuals found that those who weighed themselves daily lost an average of 13lbs (5.9kg) more than those who only did weekly weigh-ins. That’s despite all subjects following the exact same exercise and eating programme.
So, if you think the added motivation of more regular weigh-ins will help you fully commit to make the healthier lifestyle changes that will get you closer to the body shape you want, then jumping on the scales each morning (as soon as you wake up, after going to the bathroom but before eating or drinking anything) could be better approach for you.
Is a weekly weigh in best for you?
Decide whether a weekly weigh in is the right approach for you by weighing up the main pros and cons
The advantages of doing a weekly weigh in
• Provides accurate weight-loss progress on a regular basis that ignores daily fluctuations
• Allows you to focus on establishing daily exercise and eating habits without a daily weigh in distraction
• Prevents you becoming too obsessed with your weight over more important progress tracking tools, such as your workout diary, food diary or meal planner, progress photos or body-part tape measurements
The disadvantages of doing a weekly weigh in
• Going a whole week without checking your progress may result in a loss of focus or motivation at the start or end of each week
• Doesn’t provide a daily reminder or motivation reinforcement that every single day counts when wanting to lose weight
• A missed week means a big gap between successive readings, which can skew the progress picture
• You may not want to take a reading after a heavy night/weekend away
Is a daily weigh in best for you?
Here are the main pros and cons of doing a daily weigh in to determine whether it’s the right approach for you
The advantages of doing a daily weigh in
• Can provide daily morning motivation to make better lifestyle decisions that support faster fat loss
• Acts as a positive daily reminder that you’re taking control of your health and fitness
• Research suggests it accelerates weight loss if you’re overweight or obese
The disadvantages of doing a daily weigh in
• May result in your focusing too much or too obsessively over minuscule changes in your bodyweight
• Your weight can fluctuate significantly day-to-day, and an unexpected reading may derail your focus or motivation
• Too many consecutive days without your weight moving in the right direction can be very disheartening (even though on a weekly or monthly basis you are making very positive progress)
• Research proves people who over-indulge are less likely to take a daily reading the following day
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