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A Weight Monitoring Schedule that Works for You

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
February 9, 2022
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For most of us, monitoring our weight can be frustrating, scary, or just annoying. While most of us check our weight because we want to lose weight, some of us are actually trying to keep weight steady or gain weight. Here we will discuss why you may want to lose, gain, or maintain your weight, and how often you should check under different situations.

In general, there is no need to check your weight more than once per day. Your weight fluctuates a lot in a day. A small bottle of water may raise your weight by 1 lb, while an intense workout may cause so much sweat loss that you appear 3 lbs lighter. Once you normalize your weight by replacing lost fluids, or using the restroom, your weight may differ greatly. The stress of this drastically fluctuating number may make you confused or misled, and checking too much every day can lead to hyper-focusing on your weight and disordered patterns of eating.

Instead, Try to be consistent. Ideally, check weight in the morning, after using the restroom, and before eating for best results.

I want to lose weight. How often should I check my weight?

  • At least weekly if you are working slowly on eating healthfully, OR exercise, but haven’t been able to do both or make big changes.
  • At least 4 times per week if you’ve made recent significant changes in your lifestyle or routine. You’ll likely see the weight change faster. But don’t look at the number. Watch for the pattern or trend throughout the week and month.

I am trying to maintain my weight. What should my monitoring schedule be?

  • Check weekly if you are maintaining your weight and you don’t have a condition like Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
  • Check daily if you have CHF. Tell us if your weight rises more than 3 lbs in a day or 5 lbs in a week, as this can be a sign of a more significant heart issue.

I am trying to gain weight. How often should I check?

  • At least 4 times per week if you’re underweight (BMI below 19), or if you are normal weight and actively losing weight. Watch for the pattern or trend throughout the week and month.
  • Weekly if your weight is stable or rising and you are at risk of being underweight due to cancer, COPD, malnutrition or gastrointestinal issues, or you have poor appetite.

Takeaways

As always, these are very general guidelines. Your specific condition or combination of conditions may require a different monitoring schedule. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you. Your care team will help you with your nutrition needs and questions along the way.

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