If one of your morning habits includes weighing yourself, you might be
more successful at losing pounds than people who use a scale less frequently.
“Recent studies out of Cornell and Duke Universities, which were
published in the journal
Obesity, found that people experienced successful weight loss by using a scale
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE, supervisor of health education and prevention at
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group in Fullerton. “As opposed to becoming a slave to the numbers, people
used it as a way to self-monitor their weight and adjust their diet and
exercise habits accordingly.”
In the study, one group of participants was asked to weigh themselves daily.
(The Cornell study researchers also asked them to chart their numbers
for a visual aid.) People in a second group could weigh themselves as
often as they liked. In both studies, the people who weighed themselves
daily lost more weight than their peers in the other group. The Duke study—which
also offered weekly training and feedback emails— also found that
people who weighed in every day formed better health habits when it came
to eating, such as consuming fewer calories and adopting portion control.
“Making it a habit to step on the scale regularly can also have a
long-term effect,” Watkins says. “The Cornell study found
that participants who weighed themselves daily were able to maintain their
weight loss after the first year. The second group was also asked to use
the weigh-and-chart method after the first year, and they ended up losing
more weight using that daily method than they had during the initial study
Weighing consistently is a key component in St. Joseph Health’s highly
successful Healthy Concepts/HMR Weight Program. This program was named
one of the top three
weight loss programs in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report. One of the key
factors in the program's success is accountability, one being on the
scale, Watkins states.
The key, Watkins says, is to use the number on the scale as a motivating
and monitoring tool—not as part of your identity.
“What you weigh is not who you are," Watkins says. “Don’t
fixate on reaching a certain number because that’s what you weighed
in high school. Rather, talk with a registered dietitian or your physician
about what a healthy weight range is for you. If you find yourself obsessing
about the numbers every day, a Registered Dietitian can help counsel you
on setting goals and using other self-monitoring tools. In the end, it’s
all about being healthy.”
Learn more about
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE. For more information about the Healthy Concepts weight program, contact
us at (714) 446-5154 or visit our
website. For information on our other health education programs call (714) 446-5677.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.