Weight matters: To weigh or not to weigh

It’s that time of the year again when ardent health-conscious consumers, both young and old, take to scouting the internet for tips and guidance on good nutrition, weight loss and overall healthy lifestyles.

One of the big questions on the minds of weight watchers in particular has to do with regular weight monitoring. Is it beneficial to regularly self-weigh or not? If you have ever tried to look for answers, you have probably discovered that the internet abounds with many contrasting views on this matter.

The scientific research evidence

In a 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, the authors  suggested that although regular self-weighing, can motivate healthy behaviour change leading to weight loss, it should be done cautiously. The reason being that, in some cases, it may generate negative feelings and increased body dissatisfaction, which ultimately undermines weight loss efforts1.

Another article proposing a contrasting viewpoint published in the same journal in 2005, concluded that, there is no evidence, that weighing by participants who have completed a weight loss programme is a cause of negative feelings or of body dissatisfaction2. The authors further asserted that, there is little evidence that negative feelings or body dissatisfaction leads to poor outcomes in weight loss programs2. They further explained that on the contrary, a number of studies consistently show that more frequent weighing is associated with better weight loss outcomes and weight loss maintenance2.

More recently, a study in 2014 investigated the effect of regular self- weighing on weight maintenance after completion of a weight loss programme for adults3. Participants were divided into 2 groups with one group encouraged to self-weigh weekly and the other group not encouraged to self-weigh. After 12 months, both groups had regained some weight but the weekly self –weighing group had regained less weight on average (1.23 kg) compared to the group which was not encouraged to self-weigh (1.83 kg)3.

Bottom line – To weigh or not to weigh

Based on current research evidence and clinical experience, we can recommend that regular self-weighing, keeping record and monitoring weight changes is an effective tool to aid weight reduction and maintain weight loss. Weekly self-weighing can show you how your current diet and physical activity levels affect your weight and enable you to make necessary lifestyle changes to achieve you goals.

There is no doubt that standing on a weighing scale regularly is a far better way of monitoring weight, rather than common methods such as, self-judging how you fit into your clothes, checking whether your belt hole position has changed, or the popular one of the sense of feeling heavier or lighter lately.

If you are seriously thinking about addressing any weight issues, whether weight loss or maintenance, it is a good idea to invest in a good weighing scale in 2017.

Happy New Year!


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