Weighing every day matters: daily weighing improves weight loss and adoption of weight control behaviors

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Apr;115(4):511-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.011. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


Background: Daily weighing is emerging as the recommended self-weighing frequency for weight loss. This is likely because it improves adoption of weight control behaviors.

Objective: To examine whether weighing every day is associated with greater adoption of weight control behaviors compared with less frequent weighing.

Design: Longitudinal analysis of a previously conducted 6-month randomized controlled trial.

Participants/setting: Overweight men and women in Chapel Hill, NC, participated in the intervention arm (N=47).

Intervention: The intervention focused on daily weighing for weight loss using an e-scale that transmitted weights to a study website, along with weekly e-mailed lessons and tailored feedback on daily weighing adherence and weight loss progress.

Main outcome measures: We gathered objective data on self-weighing frequency from the e-scales. At baseline and 6 months, weight change was measured in the clinic and weight control behaviors (total items=37), dietary strategies, and calorie expenditure from physical activity were assessed via questionnaires. Calorie intake was assessed using an online 24-hour recall tool.

Statistical analyses: We used χ(2) tests to examine variation in discrete weight control behaviors and linear regression models to examine differences in weight, dietary strategies, and calorie intake and expenditure by self-weighing frequency.

Results: Fifty-one percent of participants weighed every day (n=24) over 6 months. The average self-weighing frequency among those weighing less than daily (n=23) was 5.4±1.2 days per week. Daily weighers lost significantly more weight compared with those weighing less than daily (mean difference=-6.1 kg; 95% CI -10.2 to -2.1; P=0.004). The total number of weight control behaviors adopted was greater among daily weighers (17.6±7.6 vs 11.2±6.4; P=0.004). There were no differences by self-weighing frequency in dietary strategies, calorie intake, or calorie expenditure.

Conclusions: Weighing every day led to greater adoption of weight control behaviors and produced greater weight loss compared with weighing most days of the week. This further implicates daily weighing as an effective weight loss tool.

Keywords: Daily weighing; Dietary change; Obesity; Self-monitoring; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss*