Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Psychology of Daily Weighing

Journal Entry 01/06/10: Weight = 173.8; Coinage = $1.24, 44 pennies, 2 nickels, 7 dimes; Ground Scores = 4; Glass bottles retrieved = 11.

Journal Entry 01/07/10: Weight = 173.4; Coinage = $1.31, 31 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, and 2 quarters; Best find = a curb quarter spotted while walking to the barber shop.

Feature Entry: The Psychology of Daily Weighing

The Consumer Reports ratings of Bathroom scales is in. See the February 2010 issue. Digital models are better than Dial models and the Taylor 7506 is rated a best buy and cost about thirty bucks. I know, boring!!

Yet, the MoneyWalkers weigh every day. Ms MoneyWalker isn’t a walker but she follows the big four methods for weight loss/weight loss maintenance, e.g., daily weighing, high fiber breakfast, daily exercise, and portion control. Her exercise regiment is stair climbing for cardiovascular, dumb bells for strength, and body stretches for flexibility. She is a suave 5’ 6” 117 pounder that nearly everyone under estimates her age. (Hint: she carries a Medicare card.)

Experts and authors of fitness/weight loss books and articles usually do not recommend daily weighing. They site lack of scale accuracy, normal daily weight fluctuations (water retention), and the danger of negative reinforcement as possible reasons. The MoneyWalkers however believe that the advantages offset these potential negatives. Here are our reasons for the daily practice. Incidental, the new digital models are much more valid and reliable than the older dial models.

First, daily weighing provides instant accountability concerning food and beverage binging. We are both guilty of short periods of time when we overeat in an unrestrained way. Our digital scales are accurate within plus or minus 1 lb 87 to 100 percent of the time and provides read-outs in fifths of a pound.

Second, we find that daily weighing reinforces our daily exercise, in my case the daily walk. The scale a little up, take that walk; the scale a little down, keep up the good work. Thus, the scales provides both negative and positive reinforcement, both important for creating habit strength.

Third, some recommend that the wardrobe fit be substituted for daily weighing. But we find that daily weighing provides more transparency of the effectiveness of a continuing weight loss or weight maintenance program than wardrobe fluctuations. Actually, we use both methods.

Finally, we find that daily weighing informs the psychology of weight loss/maintenance. Binge with calories, the shadow knows. Blow off a few workouts, the shadow knows. If one is aware that the morning ritual of the scales await, it is easier to maintain fidelity to the program.



  1. Once again, a very timely post for Numi. I have been thinking that it is time to replace the evil scales that I know are at least 25 years old, probably more like 35 or 40. I'll be looking into the Taylor 7506 immediately.

    It has now become clear to me that daily or every other day weighing is necessary. Last year the pounds crept up on me while the scales gathered dust in the closet. Even when I went for a physical I turned backwards so I didn't have to face reality. For a long time I used the wardrobe test but that obviously didn't provide the needed incentive.

    Just so you know, your ideas and comments have been part of my motivation in shedding some of my baggage. They are appreciated.

    As for Ms. Moneywalker, those numbers are very impressive. However, you might be in trouble for letting it slip that she carries that card!

  2. Have you had medical clearance to start a program and do you have a medical condition that needs to be followed by a medical professional? If you haven't, then this should be the first thing on your checklist. most accurate digital bathroom scale