Weighing In on Scales: Find Your True Weight

Learn how, when, and where to use the scale to your advantage

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

To weigh or not to weigh? That's the question.

For people trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just maintain a healthy weight, the scale can be both friend and foe. But experts say there's a right way and a wrong way to use the scale.

"We do know that people who weigh themselves regularly do better," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. "It's a way to measure progress and success. But the definition of regular is very broad."

"Some people love to weigh themselves daily, whereas I would recommend once a week for most people," Blatner tells WebMD.

The problem is that some people who weigh themselves daily can become obsessed with the number on the scale, and it takes over.

"You have to ask yourself, 'Is this something that is setting my mood for the day?" And if it is, then you're probably not a good candidate for daily weigh-ins, and you should weigh yourself once a week," says Blatner.

The 4 S's of Weighing Yourself

When you do weigh yourself on a scale, Blatner says you strive for sameness. Weigh yourself at the:

  • Same time of day, on the
  • Same day each week, wearing the
  • Same clothing, and using the
  • Same scale

If you're using a scale at home, be sure to place it on an absolutely flat surface. Wobbly bathroom tiles or plush carpeting can lead to an inaccurate reading.