Daily self-weighing within a lifestyle intervention: impact on disordered eating symptoms

Health Psychol. 2014 Mar;33(3):297-300. doi: 10.1037/a0034218. Epub 2013 Nov 18.


Objective: To determine whether daily self-weighing (DSW) is associated with disordered eating (DE) symptoms within an adult lifestyle intervention (LI), and to examine changes in DE symptoms during the 18-month trial.

Method: One-hundred and seventy-eight adults (53% female, 90% White, 52.0 ± 8.6 years, BMI = 35.0 ± 4.4 kg/m2) were enrolled in a randomized trial testing 2 dietary prescriptions within a LI (standard vs. limited dietary variety). Both arms were taught DSW and had the same contact schedule and calorie and activity goals. Frequency of weighing and DE were assessed at 0, 6, 12, and 18 months. Analyses controlled for treatment arm.

Results: At baseline, 16.3% of participants reported weighing ≥ daily compared with 83.7%, 72.3%, and 68.2% at 6, 12, and 18 months, respectively. There was no relationship between change in frequency of self-weighing and change in DE symptoms at any time point. Further, there were no significant differences between those who weighed ≥ daily versus < daily on DE composite scores at baseline or 6 months; at 12 and 18 months participants who weighed ≥ daily reported lower DE scores compared with those who weighed < daily (p = .008 and .043 at 12 and 18 months, respectively). Participants who weighed ≥ daily achieved better weight losses than those weighing < daily at 12 and 18 months (p = .003 and <.001). There was a significant reduction over time in DE symptoms (p < .0001) and a reduction in odds of meeting criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (BED; ps < .001).

Conclusions: Daily self-weighing did not appear to be related to increased disordered eating behavior and was associated with better weight loss outcomes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss
  • Weights and Measures*