Perhaps the most widely used recommendation that’s come out of the NWCR has to do with daily weighing. One study followed 2,462 of those already on the register, and, as you might expect, some of those people did regain at least some of their weight over the course of the next year. (3)
This study found that those who stopped daily self-weighing were much more likely to gain weight. The authors concluded: “consistent self-weighing may facilitate weight control by enabling individuals to catch and reverse small weight gains.”
Well, maybe. As I read this, I wondered if the decrease in self-weighing associated with weight gain was as much the result as the cause of the gained weight. It seems likely to me that as the successful ‘weight-loser’ started eating more and putting on weight, they would be so upset every time they got on the scales that they would simply stop weighing themselves. They stop weighing themselves not only because it’s depressing to keep seeing the increase on the scales, but also because self-weighing – at least for those people – clearly wasn’t working to keep their weight down.
This is actually mentioned on the last page of this report: “it is possible that individuals who are gaining weight decrease their frequency of self-weighing because they find doing so distressing or because they do not perceive it as a helpful weight control behaviour.” But then (and this is the crazy part) the study is published under the title: “Consistent Self-monitoring of Weight: A Key Component of Successful Weight Loss Maintenance.” And as a result, the advice you get in the magazine and newspaper articles is, “weigh yourself”.
I cannot remember the last time I weighed myself. Going by the fit of my clothes, my weight fluctuates by a small amount, which I regard as completely normal and inevitable. I am well within what is considered a healthy weight range, but the motivation behind what I do and don’t eat is all about supporting my health.