The two-year study, published in the Journal of Obesity a few months ago, found that frequent self-weighing and tracking results on a chart were effective for losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men.
David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University and the paper’s senior author, said: “Stepping on the scales should be like brushing your teeth.”
This is “contrary to the popular theory that frequent trips to the scale could be confusing, discouraging or even psychologically dangerous”.
“You just need a bathroom scale and an excel spreadsheet or even a piece of graph paper,” said Levitsky. “The method forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight. It used to be taught that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily, and this is just the reverse,” he added.
Dori Steinberg, an obesity prevention and treatment researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute in Durham, N.C and lead author, believes those who weigh themselves frequently can start connecting the dots to see patterns and act on them.
“If you go out to a buffet dinner, you could be up 4 pounds the next day,” she says, which could lead you to choose to consume fewer calories that day. “Or if you change a behavior like snacking at night, you might see your weight drop three days in a row.”