People are always asking us for shortcuts on how to lose weight, particularly ones that don’t take much effort.
Essentially, they are looking for weight loss “hacks” that they can do that will help them get a handle on the weight they know they should lose.
Well after coaching people in weight loss and health for over 3 decades, I can honestly tell you that if you adopt this one habit or “hack”, then you can permanently tip the weight balance in your favor, no matter which diet (or “way of eating”) you end up following.
“If it gets measured, it gets managed.”
One of the easiest yet most productive weight loss hacks I have coached people on is this: Weigh yourself every day.
What? That’s it? Yup… that’s it! No kidding… just get on your scale every day first thing in the morning right after you wake up, write down what you see, and without any effort, watch your weight drop almost a pound a week!
Yes, there are mixed opinions about weighing yourself. Many people prefer not to do it at all, and have even thrown out their scales.
And some claim that scale weight is irrelevant or at least very misleading when it comes to measuring health and body composition.
There are valid arguments on both sides, and the scale certainly is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for muscle mass, and your weight can shift several pounds up and down from one day to the next even if you didn’t really gain or lose any fat.
However, studies actually show that frequent weighing (preferably every day) is linked to massively increased chances of successfully losing weight and keeping it off.
For example, one study showed that daily self-weighing caused participants to eat 347 fewer calories on the days they weighed themselves. On a weekly basis, that’s like losing almost a three-quarters of a pound a week by eating this amount of calories less.
Those who weighed themselves every day also lost 4.4% of their body weight, compared to only 0.4% in those who didn’t weigh themselves every day. That’s right, the simple act of measuring their weight every day caused them to lose 10 times the amount of weight!
And those who weighed themselves every day also lost 4.4% of their body weight, compared to only 0.4% in those who didn’t weigh themselves every day. That’s right, the simple act of measuring their weight every day caused them to lose 10 times the amount of weight!
How it works.
At first glance, you might be asking yourself how can this possibly work… actually lose weight just be weighing yourself and writing the result down every day? Well, it actually works in a way that is unexpected by most and it works automatically.
Interestingly, the mere act of doing this first thing every morning before you do anything else makes the “weight thing” a subconscious priority in your day and has been shown to guide you in both your choices of the foods you eat and how much you eat.
But the key ingredient that really makes this successful in losing weight is the second part: Writing down the number. Whether you do this with a pencil on paper or you do this electronically using an app on your iPhone, it is the tracking each day that creates the momentum for the auto-pilot guidance that lasts throughout the day. Without doing this second part, your results likely won’t be significant.
The best way to do it.
If you decide to start and stick with this practice of weighing yourself every day, here are some guidelines you should adhere to so you achieve a natural, almost “under the radar” loss of those unwanted pounds.
It is very important to weigh yourself at the same time every day, preferably in the morning right after you go to the bathroom. This will not only help you form the habit, but it is the most accurate time of the day since you have not had any real physical activity yet and have not eaten anything.
Write the number down immediately so that you don’t forget it. You could write it in the Notes app on your phone, for example. There are also apps called Happy Scale (iPhone) and Libra (Android). These apps show a smooth line to hide the fluctuations in your weight so you can see where the overall trend is better. Using these types of apps, you won’t feel as bad about weighing a little more one day than you expected. It’s mostly just a fluctuation in water weight anyway. This app shows your overall progress in a much better way.
Another thing you can do is buy an electronic scale that sends information about your daily weight to an app on your phone. Then you can see the overall trend automatically. A popular one is the Withings Body – Body Composition Wi-Fi Scale. Not only does it measure your weight, but it also estimates your body composition, including body fat percentage. Of course, nothing you buy with regards to a body composition analyzer online will be as accurate as the more sophisticated, medical and research grade body composition scales in actual research or testing centers, but it can be useful to show you the overall trend.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you lift weights as part of your exercise regimen, then chances are that your scale may not change much initially even though your overall body fat levels are going way down. That’s because you may be restoring or regaining lost muscle at the same time as you’re losing fat. This is particularly true if you are a beginner to strength training in which you are lifting weights as this tends to increase blood flow to your muscles (which adds some pounds) as well as increase water and nutrients in your muscles (which also adds pounds).
Women also need to be aware that their weight may shift up and down a few pounds based on their menstrual cycle. As you approach the onset of your menstrual cycle, your body will tend to retain water due to the hormone shift. This is a natural phenomenon, so don’t start losing your mind when you see your overall weight go up just before you begin your menstrual cycle.
Weighing yourself every day can be extremely beneficial, at least for most people. Just make sure to keep in mind the limitations of the scale weight and how it can be misleading based on a number of factors.
If you see that you haven’t lost any weight for 1 or 2 weeks, then look into some changes to jump-start your weight loss again (if needed). If you see that you’ve started gaining, try to figure out the reasons why and what you can do to stop that trend. Even consider our Truthentics Escape Your Slow Metabolism Program which is designed to help you rebuild your metabolism so weight loss is faster and easier.
When it comes to losing weight and not gaining it back, vigilant awareness is key. Weighing yourself every morning provides this awareness. Being aware of your weight and weight trend gives you the information you need to decide whether you need to make adjustments or not.
So, every day…
Get up and go to the bathroom.
Step on the scale and write down your weight.
Quickly scan the overall trend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rich Farina is a Metabolic Health and Conditioning Specialist with over 30 years of experience helping thousands of individuals lose weight, rebuild their metabolisms, and improve their health in his Metabolic Testing & Weight Loss Centers.
He holds both Bachelor and post-graduate degrees in Exercise Physiology and Public Health respectively and is a passionate advocate of using proven, scientific principles in his approach to exercise and nutrition. He is a contributing author, professional speaker, and advisor on topics that include weight loss, human performance, and medical fitness.
He continues his deep-seated passion to help people improve their health and optimize their body's performance through his seminars, webinars, books, and line of proven-effective nutritional supplements.