Objective: Regular self-weighing, which in this article is defined as weighing oneself regularly over a period of time (e.g., daily, weekly), is recommended as a weight loss strategy. However, the published literature lacks a review of the recent evidence provided by prospective, longitudinal studies. Moreover, no paper has reviewed the psychological effects of self-weighing. Therefore, the objective is to review the literature related to longitudinal associations between self-weighing and weight change as well as the psychological outcomes.
Methods: Electronic literature searches in PubMed, Ovid PsycINFO, and Ebscohost CINAHL were conducted. Keywords included overweight, obesity, self-weighing, etc. Inclusion criteria included trials that were published in the past 25 years in English; participants were adults seeking weight loss treatment; results were based on longitudinal data.
Results: The results (N=17 studies) revealed that regular self-weighing was associated with more weight loss and not with adverse psychological outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety). Findings demonstrated that the effect sizes of association between self-weighing and weight change varied across studies and also that the reported frequency of self-weighing varied across studies.
Conclusions: The findings from prospective, longitudinal studies provide evidence that regular self-weighing has been associated with weight loss and not with negative psychological outcomes.
© 2014 The Obesity Society.