While a healthy body is not solely determined by the numbers on a scale, it’s by far the simplest way to quantify progress – especially when it comes to weight loss.
With that in mind, accuracy is a must. Good scales go a long way to getting your correct numbers, but there are also things you can do (and not do) that will help. The first being, weighing yourself at the right time of day.
So, after some thorough research, we answer the age old question; “when is the best time to weigh yourself?”.
How to weigh yourself – the right way
Knowing how to stand on a scale correctly can be the difference between a accurate reading and a wildly inaccurate one.
Follow these steps to get the most out of your and weigh ins.
- Lots of digital scales turn on the moment your foot touches them. So, be sure the scale displays zero prior to stepping on it. Once this is confirmed, place both feet firmly the scale. Also, make sure you’re not leaning, or supporting yourself with anything else in your surroundings.
- Care needs to be taken with your clothes. If you’re going to weigh yourself at home, weigh yourself without clothes. If you need to weigh yourself in a public place (where being buck naked is generally frowned upon), wear light clothes so that they don’t interfere with the numbers on the scale.
- Just like clothes, the same rule applies to shoes. Don’t forget to take off shoes, sneakers, sandals and even your slippers when you weigh yourself. This makes a difference in the outcome
See also: How many pushups a day should I do?
When is the best time to weigh yourself
Experts are unanimous. Hands down, the best time to weigh yourself is in the morning, fasting, after going to the bathroom and naked . Yes, all of this is important and we’ll explain why.
When we evacuate, we eliminate between 1/4 pound to 1 pounds of poop per bowl movement. You can almost tripple this if you haven’t had a movement for a couple of days.
The bladder can also store 2 cups (or 16 ounces) of urine. All of this can make a significant difference on the scale.
And science backs this up…
The National Weight Control Registry investigated the best time to weigh yourself and confirmed this interesting fact.
According to the organization, the morning is the best time to weigh yourself and then preferably after you have been to the toilet. At that time, your body does not yet carry the extra weight of a meal. “During the day, when you eat and drink, those foods and liquids add weight, at least until they are digested and excreted,” a nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told Self. “Just one cup of water already adds 0.2 kilograms, for example. And twenty percent of most meals are water, which means a lot of extra weight. ”
How much does your weight fluctuate in a day?
Fluctuations in weight are natural. The weight of the average person goes up and down by as much as 5 to 6 pounds daily. All this boils down to what you eat, drink, your workout regime and even how you sleep.
How many times a week should you weigh yourself
There are lots of conflicting advise concerning how many times a week you should weigh yourself. Some people say once a month is more than enough, others more often.
Speaking from personal experience, weight loss becomes a lot harder when you have no regular way to gauge how much you have lost or gained. This is especially true when you haven’t weighed yourself for weeks on end.
Some people say that how your clothes feel should be enough to indicate weight loss or weight gain. However, if you are a fan of elasticated waist bands, and baggy or floaty clothing, this won’t be much help.
Also, denial can kick in pretty hard when you desperately want that greasy takeaway or an extra portion of cake. With a scale there is no denial, you can see exactly what’s going on.
So whats the answer?
If you are happy with your weight, then weighing yourself a couple of times a week is fine. However, for people trying to lose weight, weighing yourself every day or every couple of days is a good idea.
Researchers have found that in a group of participants, with an average age of 46, those who weighed themselves regularly lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t.
The reason? Standing on the scale daily helps you remember what your goal is and motivates you to achieve it.
How to weigh yourself without a scale
Perhaps your scale is broken, or you haven’t purchased one for one reason or another. So now you’re wondering; is there another way to weigh yourself without a scale? Well, the answer is – yes (sort of). Take a look below at some of the methods.
Method 1: water displacement
This method will involve water displacement. For this you need to be totally submerged in the bathtub. You can get a friend or family member to mark how high the water rises when you are fully submerged.
Later on, you return to the bath tub again and submerge yourself once more. With a ruler you now measure the distance between the previous marker and the one you have made just now. Once done, multiply the number by the container’s surface area.
This is a great method …if you like something that’s absurd and time consuming.
You may as well forget about accuracy, since it’s extremely hard to estimate with this method. Along with that, you’ll have marker points all over your bath tub. Yeah, so not really practical – messy and time consuming.
Method 2: Weigh yourself on your phone
There’s an app for everything these days, so it’s no surprise that there are apps that claim to be able to weigh you too.
These apps use your phone’s built in pressure-sensing technology to detect the weight of an object. Needless to say this is a handy app for weighing vegetables and other small objects.
But whatever the app says, I wouldn’t recommend standing on your touch screen
Method 3: Lever and Fulcrum Method
This involves weighing yourself with a see-saw. It is a little more practical than water displacement method- but only just. The issue still remains with accuracy, there are too many variables and room for error.
This idea requires sitting at the end of a see-saw, while piling on a number of known weights at the other end.
It is recommend that you use paint, since these usually have a fixed weight of around 8 pounds.
When the see-saw levels out – with you on the other end, just add up the weight on the other side.
This all sounds relatively simple, until you take a closer look.
For example, a person weighing 190 pounds would have to pile on over 20 full tins of paint. On top of this, you’re probably have to use a public see-saw. So not the most discreet, or private of weigh ins.
As a side note, if you can afford that much paint, you probably can afford a decent scale.
Bare in mind, if you gain a little or lose a little, it won’t show up with this method. Safe to say, this is impractical and a tad bit embarrassing as weigh ins go
In closing: For the best readings get a decent scale. It’s worth it.
As mentioned before, if you want the best and most accurate readings then a good quality scale is a must. They can run you as little as $15-20, while fancier models offer bodyfat readouts and other more costly features. Whatever you decide on, at least you know you’re getting a good read on your progress.
(Here’s my top recommended scale on Amazon)