Study: Key to weight loss is stepping on scale every day

DALLAS — What’s a sure-fire way to increase your odds of losing weight and keeping it off? Stepping on the scale — and doing it every day. A new study finds that people who weigh themselves frequently are more likely to shed unwanted pounds compared to those who only keep tabs on their weight every now and then.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine found that routinely monitoring body weight not only keeps goals in the front of the mind, but it allows a person to recognize the patterns that are working. That is, when a change in diet, fitness, or other lifestyle habit occurs, literally watching your weight can help you see what’s most effective.

For the study, the authors looked at data from 1,042 mostly middle-aged adults participating in the Health eHeart study, a long-term project out of the University of California, San Francisco. Participants are tasked with self-reporting health data, including pulse, sleep totals, blood pressure, and of course, weight.

Researchers specifically looked at how frequently participants weighed themselves and compared it to their weight at the end of the 12 month period. They discovered that participants who weighed themselves six to seven times a week showed the most significant weight loss at the end of the year, shedding about 1.7 percent of their weight on average.

Conversely, participants who weighed themselves once a week or less typically didn’t lose any weight at all.

A similar study a year ago showed that female college students who weighed themselves daily also registered weight loss over a two-year study period.

Of course, there’s no magic involved here. It may simply be that when you’re paying more attention to your weight, you’ll also pay more attention to the way you take care of your body. And with everything else we find ourselves thinking and worrying about in our daily lives, sometimes that can be far easier said than done.

The findings are part of a presentation November 10 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago.