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Checking the Scale Every Day Does Not Have to be a Bad Thing

Daily weight changes may motivate individuals to maintain a healthier lifestyle…

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Obesity has been a major problem for Americans for a long time, which is why there are countless exercise programs and diet food items available that claim to help individuals conquer weight loss. But, what if simply weighing yourself regularly could make a difference in your weight? Stepping on a scale on a daily basis to check for weight changes has been evaluated in previous research as a part of weight loss interventions, but not as the sole method for weight loss and weight loss management. Using the Caloric Titration Method, individuals are able to monitor their own weight and use visual improvements that they have observed as positive reinforcement for continued weight loss. Researchers put this method to the test with overweight and obese adults for a period of two years. They proposed that individuals using the Caloric Titration Method would not only lose more weight in a one-year period than those who did not use this method, but they would also be able to keep the weight off.

Research participants were randomly placed in either the control or intervention group. Both groups were educated about proven weight loss techniques and encouraged to use whichever methods they preferred to lose weight. The intervention group was also provided with a scale and asked to record their weight on a daily basis.

At the end of the first year, there was a significant difference in weight loss between groups (p = 0.019). On average, the intervention group lost almost 6 pounds (+/- 13 lbs.), while the control group only lost about 1 pound (+/- 10 pounds). After two years, the average change in weight for the intervention group was less than 1 pound (+/- 11 lbs.), which was not significantly different from baseline (p = 0.929). Overall, this study suggests that overweight males using the Caloric Titration Method, along with other self-guided weight loss techniques, are more likely to lose small amounts of weight and keep it off. The weight loss experienced by women alone was not statistically significant in this study.

Obesity is not a problem that will go away any time soon, therefore it is important to find inexpensive, low stress, universal weight management strategies that work.

Encouraging individuals to oversee their own weight loss progress can be empowering, giving individuals a greater sense of control and allowing them to see how their daily activities and eating habits can impact their weight (both positively and negatively). Any healthy weight loss, is good weight loss. The Caloric Titration Method, in combination with other weight loss methods, can be beneficial to individuals interested in losing weight.

Practice Pearls:

  • Weighing yourself everyday can serve as positive reinforcement for weight loss and sustained weight loss management.
  • The Caloric Titration Method is a simple, inexpensive way for individuals to play a more active role in their weight loss; it serves to show individuals that their daily activity and food choices correspond with fluctuations in their weight.
  • Daily self-weighing and visual feedback is the component of weight loss management that is more strongly related to preventing individuals from re-gaining weight than helping them lose weight.

Pacanowski CR, Levitsky D. “Frequent Self-weighing and Visual Feedback for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults.” Journal of Obesity (2015): n. pag. Web. 16 Jun 2015.