Weighing Every Day Matters: Daily Weighing Improves Weight Loss and Adoption of Weight Control Behaviors


Dori M. Steinberg, PhD, RD; Gary G. Bennett, PhD; Sandy Askew, MPH; Deborah F. Tate, PhD

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Daily weighing is emerging as the recommended self-weighing frequency for weight loss. This is likely because it improves adoption of weight control behaviors.

We examined whether weighing every day is associated with greater adoption of weight control behaviors compared with less frequent weighing. We conducted a longitudinal analysis of a previously conducted 6-month randomized controlled trial among overweight men and women in Chapel Hill, NC.  The intervention focused on daily weighing for weight loss using an e-scale that transmitted weights to a study website, along with weekly e-mailed lessons and tailored feedback on daily weighing adherence and weight loss progress. We gathered objective data on self-weighing frequency from the e-scales. At baseline and 6 months, weight change was measured in the clinic and weight control behaviors (total items1/437), dietary strategies, and calorie expenditure from physical activity were assessed via questionnaires. Calorie intake was assessed using an online 24-hour recall tool. We used c2 tests to examine variation in discrete weight control behaviors and linear regression models to examine differences in weight, dietary strategies, and calorie intake and expenditure by self-weighing frequency. Fifty-one percent of participants weighed every day (n1/424) over 6 months. The average self-weighing frequency among those weighing less than daily (n1/423) was 5.41.2 days per week. Daily weighers lost significantly more weight compared with those weighing less than daily (mean difference1/4e6.1 kg; 95% CI e10.2 to e2.1; P1/40.004). The total number of weight control behaviors adopted was greater among daily weighers (17.67.6 vs 11.26.4; P1/40.004). There were no differences by self weighing frequency in dietary strategies, calorie intake, or calorie expenditure.

Weighing every day led to greater adoption of weight control behaviors and produced greater weight loss compared with weighing most days of the week. This further implicates daily weighing as an effective weight loss tool.