by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
With regard to the weight of our human body, there are pretty much three segments of people:
- those who maintain,
- those who gain, and
- those who lose.
It’s those who want to be in that last category that are jumping on the scale too frequently. And notice I said want to be. That’s the key word.
So let’s back up for a moment and be very direct.
Weigh yourself infrequently…
…and stay off the scale on a Monday.
Well, think about it. How do your weekends go?
Something like, you have more time and you go out to eat more often, splurging on things that you may not during the week.
Can you relate to that?
If you overindulge on the weekends and belly up to the scale on the following Monday (or even on the Sunday), you are going to be disappointed.
In a recent study published in January of 2014, that’s exactly what the research at Cornell University (in collaboration with researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University of Technology) told us. Your weight is typically at the highest point after weekends, on Sunday and Monday. And here’s a cool infographic detailing the summary of that study.
It’s as if you cram your pleasures, have tos, want tos and oh-what-the-hells into those 48 hours. Even the best laid out routine can fall to pieces then. As a whole people tend to be less consistent with everything on the weekends.
So what should you do?
In two words: Ease up.
There’s no need to beat yourself up if you’ve splurged on the weekend. But also make it a promise to yourself to stay off the scale on a Monday. As a matter of fact, consider staying off the scale completely until you feel like you have moved in a negative-digit direction. And that leads us to the good news.
Friday is the best time to weigh yourself
Not only that, but even better is this:
What you do during the week will set you apart weight wise from what you splurge on during the weekend.
Long-term habits may make more of a difference than short-term splurges, says Dr. Brian Wansink from Cornell University. You are most likely to lose weight if you focus on what you eat during the week (i.e. Monday to Friday).
In that above-named study, the participants who succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off were those who keyed in on healthy eating habits during the week and compensated more strictly from Monday to Friday for a weekend gain.
That also means there’s no need to weigh yourself frequently.
Pay attention to the habits you install during the week. Be diligent and consistent, and notice the rhythms of your eating patterns. One really big consideration is to pay mind to your health behaviours. This is why behavioural psychology is at the core of what we teach in our Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner course.
Healthy weight control behaviours can impact nutrient intakes
There is actually a substantial amount of evidence that points towards the science of weight management and how it can be better viewed thorough a paradigm shift. That shift includes the adoption of healthy behaviours with regard to eating habits and dietary quality combined with self-esteem and body image.
Your weight can fluctuate 4 pounds (2 kilos) in a single day. With that in mind, it makes no sense (nonsense) to frequent the scale on a daily basis. This nonsense can add to the games we play with ourselves with regard to how we feel about ourselves and how we judge our success.
Consider weigh-ins once a week – at the very most bi-weekly – and do it at the same time with the same level of hydration.
Remember: there are weight loss cycles
Almost everyone loses weight on weekdays and gains weight on weekends. It’s very similar to our sleep. We don’t sleep the exact same way every night. Weight loss cycles will vary just like our sleep cycles. There are plenty of factors that affect our human bodies on daily basis that determine both of these cycles.
What separates the thinner people from the heavier isn’t how much more they gain on weekends, but how much they lose during the week days.
To have your best success in losing weight, notice your own rhythms.
Take the initiative to reverse the upward trends after the weekend, even if it has to wait until Monday. Better success is more likely to happen for the long run if you allow for short-term splurges and aren’t so harsh on yourself.
So, how frequently do you weigh yourself and why?
Do you notice a difference in how you feel after the weekend vs. during the week?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. Oh, and if you know someone who is a “daily weigher”, pass this along to them for encouragement!