5 Tips on How to Weigh Yourself

I know this seems silly right?  You stand on the scale it gives you a number and your done.  Sheesh, Lisa this one's easy ... Well, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
  1. Weigh yourself regularly. This really depends on your psyche and I'm sure I'll get comments of people who don't weight themselves ever.  That's fine.  Always use what works best for you.  But if weighing yourself keeps your tummy from turning into a muffin top, then do it regularly.  I happen to be a daily weigh-in person.  Perhaps once a week is enough for you to keep it in check.  Whatever works best for you is what you should do.  Once you decide though, do it without fail.  If you avoid the scale it's because you're afraid of the number.   Just saying ...
  2. Weigh yourself on a flat surface. Carpeting can throw a scale off by as much as 20 pounds!  So make sure you're on an even flat surface.  The usual bathroom tile floor will probably work fine.
  3. Don't bother with a pricey scale. There are fancy ones out there, ones that give you fat percentage as well, but for the most part you don't need them.  A scale is really just showing you a trend over time.  Is it going up or going down?
  4. Weigh yourself "butt naked and hungry, first thing in the morning." I've been telling my clients this for years.  Your weight can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds during the day depending on what you eat, bloating, etc.  Plus, how much can you trust yourself to properly estimate the weight of your clothes.  Just do it first thing, naked before you eat and you'll get a consistent number to work with over time.
  5. Journal your weight over time. You can't see how far you've come (or how far you've slid) if you don't know where you started.  Grab a notebook and pencil, or place a chart on the wall, or get fancy with an online tracking program or an excel spreadsheet.  Whatever works best for you, keep track of your weight over time.  I've been tracking my weight for 8 years and you can really start to see trends.  I weigh more when I'm worried about money for instance ...
So some basic tips to keep you honest and to give you the best results.  Let me know what you think. Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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14 Responses to 5 Tips on How to Weigh Yourself

  1. Laura June 17, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    I think weighing yourself every day is a bit much. I don’t even own a scale. But being in touch with your body, yes. You can feel it if you’ve gained or lost, by the way your clothes fit, for example. The journal is a good idea though; if I had a scale, I’d use it perhaps once a week. (I’m afraid of becoming obsessed)

  2. Lisa Johnson June 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    Hi Laura,

    There are actually several studies that show that weighing yourself daily can help you keep your weight in check. Check out the National Weight Registry for more information on that. BUT, that being said it should always be what you feel most comfortable doing. If you’re controlling your weight and staying healthy without a scale then don’t bother …

    The thing about fitness is there really is no one “end all be all.” There is a wide range of ways to be fit and healthy and people need to figure out what works best for them,

    Thanks so much for your comments,


  3. Steve Sherlock June 24, 2010 at 10:01 am #


    I do it almost daily but at the end of the day, simply because it is easier for me to do it as part of the getting to bed routine. As long as the comparisons are to the same period, the tracking should be the same right? Or are there specific benefits for morning vs evening?

  4. Lisa Johnson June 24, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Hi Steve,

    The only difference would be the volume of food that you eat during the day would vary, also humidity and temperature can cause fluctuations throughout the day. So basically when you first arise in the morning you haven’t “done” anything to your body yet. That being said, if it works for you and you can track your differences over time, then you’re fine. Keep doing what you’re doing …


  5. Coach Jenn July 1, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    I used to ban the scale and only go by how my clothes fit and my measurements, but recently, re-introducing the scale to my program has helped me better track my results.

  6. Lisa Johnson July 2, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    thanks for the input Jenn. I use my scale regularly and when I don’t the weight creeps back up! But it should always be what works best for you. Everyone needs to come up with a plan that works best for them.


  7. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' August 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    I follow a lot of these tips already! I’ve been weighing myself every day lately– I think it’s a good way to track my weight-loss, and to see how certain foods affect me. When I’m NOT in weight-loss mode, I may drop down to weighing myself once a week, but who knows… doing it every day right now isn’t really a hassle!

    I keep my scale in my kitchen, because my bathroom is too small– talk about accountability! I see that sucker every time I open my fridge! ;)

  8. Lisa Johnson August 5, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Megan, excellent placement of scale but that might make the naked part difficult. :-) Thanks for sharing …

  9. Lisa October 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I weigh myself once a month, three days after my period has ended and I know the bloating is gone. First thing in the morning, after peeing, no drinking water or eating yet. I weigh myself once a month because for awhile I got a bit obsessed with the scale. My day would be ruined seeing a number I didn’t like. It was important for me to scale it back, so to speak. Once a month works for me.

  10. Tara Burner June 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I probably weigh in every few days
    can tell if i’m gaining by the way I feel and my clothes
    but weighing in often is great way to stay on track, accountability and motivation….
    each person has to do what feels right and what works for them :)
    there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to weight/fitness

  11. Lisa Johnson June 22, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Tara, I completely agree … there *is* no one size fits all, if it works for you great, if it triggers something bad don’t! L–

  12. Wendyk March 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    I tried getting away from weighing every day, but my weight fluctuates a lot. It’s hard to know if the number on the scale is higher because I’ve actually gained, or because I did an intense workout or I’m retaining water. The few times I’ve tried going weeks without weighing I ended up gaining weight. Daily weighing keeps me accountable.
    I track my weight on an iPhone app that will also show me a graph over time.

  13. Lisa Johnson March 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Wendyk, If that works for you I think it’s fine. I too need to have a little check regularly to know how I’m doing. I realize that’s not the best way to go about it for a lot of people, but I’m always a fan of if it works for you, keep doing it. Thanks for the comment. :-)

  14. Tina February 7, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Most people that I’ve meet are using a scale for weight loss. I had stomach surgery that keeps me from eating a lot because my stomach is only half the size it was before the surgery. Last year I dropped to 98.7 lbs I’m 24 5′ 3. My point is how do I use the scale when I’m trying to keep from loosing to much weight. The same once a week like I’ve been doing or should I do it every day like you say in the artical for weight loss. Any answer is good. Please help. Thank you

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