Why You Should Weigh Yourself Infrequently (And Never on a Monday)

by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
Photo Credit: nhanusek via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: nhanusek

With regard to the weight of our human body, there are pretty much three segments of people:

  1. those who maintain,
  2. those who gain, and
  3. 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!

Every other Thursday we share our research and actionable advice to help you and those you care about. If you enjoyed this, join our FREE updates.


  • Sylvia

    Reply Reply July 14, 2014


    I’m a female boxer, competing for a club and we have to weigh in after every session at the club which falls on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    You are certainly correct on the Monday ‘weekend’ gain and Fridays weighing the least.

    My body fat is in the single digits but I still have 3kg to loose to make weight and am finding it inceribly hard to achieve. I’ve maintained my current weight for nearly 2 years but it’s this during the week loss only to gain at the weekend that’s a problem for me.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply July 14, 2014

      Sylvia, what you’ve just shared is great! There’s very little we can do about weekends, there’s less structure/routine. Installing a strong routine from Monday to Friday is the key for your final 3kg. Keep us posted, I’d like to hear how it goes!

      • Pablo

        Reply Reply June 29, 2016

        Hi Sylvia, I a male athlete running middle distance races (1500m and 800M) and Im struggling to loose my last 4 kg. Recently I settled in my “new” minimum weight and finding it ok to train with my new weight. Iy really helped me optimise nutrition by reducing protein intake and carbs just the min amount needed. In my case around 60% of total kcals of CH and about 20% protein.
        I hope this can help.

  • Johanna Dounis

    Reply Reply July 14, 2014

    I weigh myself every day purely for ‘research’ purposes. I’ve been doing it for years and I have learnt that any consumption of simple carbs makes my weight spike and I do better and also feel much better when I eliminate them from my diet. Of course as you said, the ‘morning after, the night before’ is always the worst :)
    Thanks for your informative email :)

    • Alex

      Reply Reply July 14, 2014

      Johanna, exactly, when we observe the scales as a “scientist” and avoid an emotional attachment to the numbers, we set ourselves up for success. Good job!

  • Lisa Scott

    Reply Reply August 17, 2014

    I can go for weeks without weighing myself, what I use is a tape measure!!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 18, 2014

      Lisa, weekly tape measurements work wonders in terms of motivation. Nice blog BTW!

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply August 18, 2014

    I do weigh myself everyday as soon as I get up, after having spent a penny of course. I have found it’s the best time and before I do my exercise each morning. Although this is a bit of an obsession, I find it very helpful and have been able to work out how some foods pile on the pounds and I am more inclined to watch what I eat. I have lost almost 7 stone over the last few years and I want to keep focused. Although I am going to try to change my habit and just getting on the scales on a Friday has to be better for you, watch this space.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 18, 2014

      Congratulations, Deborah – 7 stone is a huge achievement!! We’ll be cheering you on, keep us posted :-)

  • Arline

    Reply Reply August 27, 2014

    I had read that it is better to weigh yourself daily, but the “don’t weigh yourself on Monday” makes sense. I tend to bounce up and down all week! I gained weight when I lost my scale when we moved and I searched for it for years. I finally gave in and found that I had shot up 12 pounds! After I finally went out and purchased a scale, I started weighing myself daily. For me, actually that wasn’t too bad because if I gained any weight, I would immediately cut back. The problem was that I could go back to the weight before the gain, but I wasn’t really losing anything beyond that.

  • Mary

    Reply Reply September 4, 2014

    I have always thought you should weigh yourself daily. It lets you know when you have messed up and you can review what you consumed. It pushes me to work harder. It is true about mondays, however, seeing that rise in weight from the weekend, makes me want to work harder.

    I do think that once a week on fridays would be good for me when in the maintainence phase.

  • alan

    Reply Reply September 9, 2014

    I weigh myself everyday too as am just starting a weight loss journey after a shock weigh in for a holiday megazip ride! I thought I was pretty fit with just a bit of tummy fat but ive always found my weight stays around the same measurement overall .. or slowly creeps up… I find I never seem to really loose weight once I get to 95kgs.. so think I have to exercise more and eat less… which never works because as u exercise more.. you need to eat more.. ah the endless cycle continues.. haha

  • Naomi

    Reply Reply September 9, 2014

    At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I was a slave to counting calories and watching the scales. I made some slow gains, but the scales were very stubborn. That’s when I got interested in nutrition – shifted psychologically to HEALTHY & FIT rather than LIGHT as my goal & bought a tape measure. Haven’t stepped on scales since. I’ve seen much better results (3 dress sizes!), probably in part because I stopped beating myself up about a number, which wasn’t really the central issue. Weight is only one measure of health and surely it’s overused in our society today – after all we all have different physiology? Incidentally despite the 3 dress sizes – now a size 10 – 12 (and losing inches from all the places I needed to), my BMI still has me as overweight and the difference in weight from when I started this journey to today is only 5kg, if that. (that’s probably on a Friday!!).

  • Diane

    Reply Reply September 13, 2014

    I do weigh myself more often – usually 2-3x per week. I had a gastric sleeve almost a year ago and have lost 60lbs since then and 110lbs over the past 5 years. My surgeon and dietician both want me to weigh in regularly so I joined a support group, TOPS. Weighing in weekly at TOPS keeps me honest.

  • Sue

    Reply Reply April 7, 2015

    Interesting article. I’m on a weight loss program, and I found I had the most success when I weighed in on Monday’s. I would work harder, and am more aware of my eating habits and keeping hydrated over the weekend – and this worked very well, and help to continue on the program over the course of the week. When I switched to Friday weigh-in, I actually gained some of my weight back, and have had a harder time losing the rest of the weight. I find that, mentally, it gives me a reason to cheat on the weekend, because now I have all week to be good. Now I weigh myself a little more often than once a week, and have adapted the lifestyle – no matter what day of the week – I try to take it one day at a time.

  • Anne

    Reply Reply April 9, 2015

    I am obsessed with weighing myself every day … have been for years .. however as one of the earlier posts stated I do it without emotion. I signed up for the Nutritional Therapist Course (passed 96%) for personal learning and have lost 18 pounds over the past 3.5 months just through better understanding of nutrition and I am still reading to learn even more. Love these weekly news articles as they continue to educate me and act as a reminder of the overall goal … eating better … for better health. Keep them coming!

  • Tonya

    Reply Reply May 18, 2015

    I too am a daily weigher, but I don’t ever get emotional about a couple pounds gained and it actually keeps me in check when I’m weighing everyday I’m not as likely to put on as much weight without being aware that’s what I’m doing. That being said I decided to give myself an official “weigh in” and chose Mondays and it didn’t take me long to realize my mistake. The weekends are harder for me to control what I’m eating because we are running and doing errands and especially on Sundays eat lunch at other relative’s homes where it’s harder to control what we’re eating. I have also noticed for me Saturday morning is my “low” weight and Monday morning my “high” weight.

  • Sharon

    Reply Reply June 27, 2015

    I find that it rather depends on what is going on with me as to how frequently I weigh? Sometimes I’ll do every day for a week or so. Then it will taper off to monthly. Now I’m beginning to look for a pattern. Lord knows I have decades of bad habits to overcome. What is very cool though, is that the more I learn here the more it is light bulbs going off.

  • Teresa Drake

    Reply Reply July 30, 2015

    A VERY good day to all,

    I would just like to share my reason and passion! I’m 42 and a Mommy of 4 (ages 9 – 20)! Nutrition is something that I believe needs to be one of the main subjects in school. Up and until the age of 15 I was a skinny girl due to the fact that I grew very fast the first 15 years. At that age I was the tallest in my class and I just love to eat, mostly carbs! Anything created out of a potato was my favorite!!

    Then I stopped growing in length and start growing in width… wasn’t to long before I faced my first diet!! I use to be a diet junkie and when I think back on it I just cannot believe that there’s NO system out there warning people about the dangers of diets!

    After I had my youngest 9 years ago I weighed 128kg and I was so unhappy with NO confidence to live outside the walls of our home! Being a mom of 3 daughters and son I just realised that I’m robbing my children from ever knowing who their mom REALLY are!

    You see, obesity is a “big fat ugly ROBBER”… it robs you from your joy, dreams, passion and confidence to succeed in anything. Looking at my youngest daughter, (then 4) I just came to realise that I can still make a huge difference in their lives if I’m going to take the responsibility to educate them nutrition wise!! Unfortunately, the older two girls (my step daughters) live with their mom, so I had very little influence and say in their lives although I love and treat them as my own.

    I started writing my own weight loss program, doing research on a daily basis. I promised myself that I will NEVER ever go on a diet ever again and the changes I’m going to make to lose the weight and become fit, strong and healthy WILL BE for GOOD!

    Long story short… I realised that the well being of your mind, thoughts and what you believe to be true plays the biggest role in your ability to change and it all starts with acknowledgement and accepting responsibility for your own life. You simply can’t change what you can’t acknowledge. No more blaming games!!

    After 5 years I feel AND look better than 20 years ago… I became a Zumba (r) Fitness instructor and simply love every moment Instructing a class filled with ladies who want to change! I’ve lost 65kg… being in total control of food and what and when and how I eat is a kind of freedom that you can’t really explain in words! I’m trying very hard :-D because I’m preparing my first Workshop… but it’s really such and overwhelming “THING” and I really need people to SEE me in action and not only reading my work anymore! People need to SEE my heart while hearing me out…

    I just can’t wait to get qualified… Time is just really something I don’t have a lot of till end of the year… but I’m planning GREAT things for the Health and Fitness of the people in our city and especially the young ones… the children… When I look at my 9 year old and I see how she manage her own eating JUST because she’s educated fitness and nutrition wise… I can’t wait to start with Moms with little girls…

    Regarding the weighing… I use to weigh everyday… I had to see for myself on a daily basis what happens on the scale… how other things, than just FAT, can play around with the number on the scale! Today I’m even free from the scale! I got to know my body 100%… I “measure” with my hands and clothes… I think I get on the scale once in three months just for “fun” :-) People always give me this funny look when I say I measure myself with my hands… The REASON? With things like breast Cancer and all type of illnesses, it’s important to know your own body’s feel!! I believe that you need to pamper your body to keep an ongoing healthy relationship with your body! So I use coconut oil and massage it into my skin from head to toe… eg. I’ve picked up a bloated colon even before I could feel bloated, then I know I slipped with my water intake for the day or the time between meals.

    I learn amazing things from The Health Science Academy and really can’t thank you enough!


  • georgina

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    Hi there
    This is very interesting, weight cycles like sleep cycles.
    I personally rarely weigh myself, as I can tell if I’ve put weight on with the feel of my clothes and feel more frumpy and wobbly. I will be looking at my weight cycle now though.

  • Joy

    Reply Reply December 16, 2015

    I weigh daily in the morning and for me, I have found my weight goes up 3 days after a splurge, not the next day. I know it is weird, but it is what it is. So I know 3 days after being good, I will usually see a loss and I can’t get disappointed that it is not sooner. In the beginning I noticed I would have a good or bad day food wise based on the number but now I have learned it is just a number and it no longer has any power over me, my food choices or my day :-)

  • Tamu

    Reply Reply February 26, 2016

    Hi, I rarely weigh myself unless I think I may be losing my way a bit and need to just check. I’m aware mornings are the best time to do this and towards end of week but like I say I rarely do it. I am one of those people that concentrate on good health and fitness during the week and then I let my hair down a little on the weekend. I without doubt feel better emotionally and physically during the week.. especially the second half and although I do enjoy drinking and having a crisp or something on the weekend I always feel it’s negative effect afterwards and so I try to be mindful about how much I allow myself on the weekends too otherwise I have to pay for it too much on the Monday and even Tuesday. And there you have it :-) x

  • Celia

    Reply Reply May 28, 2016

    I have never been on a diet, although my weight fluctuated after my two pregnancies, and while taking psycho-active medication (I have BiPolar Affective Disorder)and I have managed to keep my BMI at about 21. It helps that I swim three times a week and walk at least two miles every day, but I do treat myself to chocolate occasionally as that stops any craving for sweets or puddings. If I do snack in between meals, it is on fruit, and I have lots of vegetables with my dinner. I have been a vegetarian since 1987 and eat seeds and nuts to ensure that I get the Omega 3 oils and important minerals. I enjoy eating healthily. I usually weigh myself on the monring after I have been swimming as that gives me the ‘best’ results. My weight doesn’t vary very much.

  • Smeeeff

    Reply Reply July 28, 2016

    I try to weigh myself once a week but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me and I slip into weighing myself every morning. I’m currently losing weight and getting fit so I can’t help but be nosey and start weighing. I’m going back to just once a week again after reading this though!

  • Charlotte

    Reply Reply August 23, 2016

    Fab read!
    I’ve been suffering with an ED for a few years, I’ve just gone into recovery and found this has helped so much. Every single person I know has ‘only wanted one biscuit’ and ate the whole pack without realisingm yet never bat an eyelid because they know it wont instantly make then gain 1st.

    Weighing youself is fine, providing it’s not every day as stated in this read and to keep on track of a weight loss journey. I do believe now though that it’s not the weight on the scale it’s how you feel and providing you are happy with youself and your lifestyle is whats important, rather than gaining a few lbs here and there.
    Saying that, my scales told me I had put on 6lbs in a day, so they are now in the bin haha.

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