The Best Time To Weigh Yourself

Although it sounds easy, weighing yourself can be a bit tricky. If you do it irregularly, you can't tell how much weight you lost in a specific period of time. If you weigh yourself every day, you get weird results that annoy or demotivate you.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Today, I want to briefly show you not only when, but how to check your body weight. This is what we are going to look at:

  • When the best time for a weight check is
  • Why it's best to do this only once a week
  • What you have to consider when your weight develops in a strange way
  • What kind of scale works well for you

What is the best time to check my weight?

If you want to have reliable, consistent results that really tell you how much weight you have lost in a given amount of time like a week, the following requirements should be met:

  • It's a day when you have slept in
  • You have just gotten up and went to the bathroom to do number one and number two
  • You don't have anything on, or you are only wearing underwear
  • You haven't had anything to drink yet
  • You haven't eaten anything really heavy* the day before

*really heavy meaning: A huge thanksgiving or christmas meal or something of that sort.

Why are these things important:

First of all, it's not a problem if you don't follow all the steps mentioned above. But if that's the case, you have be lenient and accept to be tolerant towards your own weight. I will come back to this later, because your weight can change quickly from one day to the next.

Having slept in is a good thing because your body is used to your everyday habits of waking up and going to the bathroom on a normal workday rhythm. Once you have slept in, your body is very desperate to go to the bathroom, and you will get rid of all that's been in your digestive system for the night. It's also been the longest time since you last drank something. Therefore, sleeping in has a normalizing effect on your weight.

Going to the bathroom helps to weigh yourself better afterwards. Depending on what and how much you last ate, not just the night before, but also the whole day (or more) before, your weight will be different because of what's still inside you. If you like, test yourself by checking your weight before a meal and after. All the food and beverage inside you will make a big difference.

Wearing no clothing or consistently wearing underwear is important to get realistic results. Imagine what difference it makes if you weigh yourself in a business suit one day, another day in a t-shirt with shorts and in a sweater on a cold day. This is not how it works. Either weigh yourself completely naked or with underwear. Whatever choice you make, stick to that choice.

Don't drink before you weigh yourself. The only exception is when you wake up at night and feel thirsty. Of course you need to drink enough then. What I mean is, don't get up and drink a cup of coffee or a glass of water before you weigh yourself. Or, again, if that's what you like to do, then you have to do it every time from now on!

You should try not to eat anything too heavy the day before. Every once in a while, we like to really go "all you can eat" on our food. Even on a diet, there are days when it's not wrong to do so. However, if it's the day before you weigh yourself, your body won't be fast enough at digesting to get all this heavy food out of your body. You will appear to have gained weight or lost only insignificant amounts of weight, even though that's not the case!

So which day of the week is the best day?

This is a question you have to answer individually. I can answer it for myself, and my guess is that 90 per cent of you will agree. Sunday is the best day for me. It's a day off, I've slept in, my body has had a lot of time to digest, and it's also the end of a week, which gives me a chance to start all over regardless of how successful I was.

If you work the night shift, or on holidays, anything like that, your personal day for a weight check may be different. Find what is good for you.

Why should I only weigh myself once a week?

Having read my previous points, you can already tell why it's better to weigh yourself only once a week. But to tell you something from my own experience, this is what happened to me more than once and caused a lot of trouble. Read my thoughts:

"Last week, I lost a total of two pounds. Therefore, after half a week, I should now have lost 1 pound... let's see..."

And the result was of course not satisfying. Or sometimes it was, but then I got overexcited and expected more weight loss than what was realistic for the rest of the week.

You can't break your weight loss down into little increments. Human biology works in different ways. Your weight can go up and down all the time, and sometimes, it seems as if nothing is happening at all. I found out that my weight was mostly constant throughout the whole week and dropped significantly on the weekend. Why? Because I slept in, had to go to the toilet, and all the food I had carried with me to work, home, to bed, all that food from the whole week was finally gone.

Remember that weighing yourself a lot causes pressure, stress and frustration. These things are not just mind trouble. They have an actual effect on your diet. Your body is as sensitive to the stress as your emotions. Remember what it was like in school, being in front of everyone and under pressure? This is how your body feels when you put it to the test too often.

What do I have to consider if my weight develops in weird ways?

Sometimes, even though you weigh yourself very stoically and without pressure, you will notice that you didn't get the weight loss you hoped for. Here are some things you should not only take into consideration then, but also allow them to act as justifications to not get mad at your body:
  • Results may vary - weight loss is not a mechanical but a biological process!
  • Muscle growth can occur - especially when you exercise! Muscles are very heavy tissue!
  • Heavy food - your body might have been unable to catch up with digestion. That's okay.
  • Thirsty at night - you had to drink a lot at night, and now it's in your body. No problem.

What kind of scale do I need?

It's important to stop guessing why your weight changes the way it does. One of the first things to do on a diet is to get a digital scale that measures body fat, muscle tissue, bones and water. Electric currents go through your body and measure the density of the tissue, thereby determining which one is which. And don't worry, it's not painful, you don't even notice there is electricity involved.

Once you got that kind of scale (which is very cheap and can be bought in most stores), the first thing you do is weigh yourself even before your diet has started. Write down your weight in a personal diary or table and keep this journal of weight development updated. Your starting weight is psychologically important - it will come in handy when you start bragging about how much weight you actually lost (this is the sweetest part, trust me).

By the way:  You don't need to keep writing down the weight of your bones. It doesn't change for the most part and plays no role in your weight loss.

What do you think? Which day is the best of the week to check your weight? Are there any other things that have had an impact on your weight? Let me know!

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