The scale can be a powerful motivator for weight loss — and not just for the number it shows. Researchers have found that women who make stepping on the scale a part of their daily routine are less likely to gain weight.
Women who weighed themselves at least once a day saw a drop in body mass index. Those who didn’t weigh themselves each day had no decline in body mass. The group of nearly 300 college-aged women of varying weights and body fat percentage were tracked for two years by researchers from Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers wanted to know whether consistent weighing could prevent weight gain among women who weren’t using a weight-loss program.
They measured the women’s body mass index, which is a calculation based on height and weight. The researchers were especially interested in studying college students, about 70 percent of whom gain weight during their first year.
On average, the women who weighed themselves each day experienced some weight loss. That led to modest changes in their body mass index compared with those who avoided the daily weigh-in. The women who didn’t weigh themselves each day had little change in their body mass index.
Daily weighing appears to be an important behavior that influences body fat and weight trajectories, the researchers concluded. It’s a habit that could prevent unwanted weight gain, even among those without a weight-loss history.
Researchers noted regularly weighing yourself can also provide motivation for healthy eating and exercise because it provides evidence that the positive behaviors are effective.
So, don’t fear the scale for the number it shows. Instead, embrace it as a tool for weight loss.