Content of the material
Method 1: Weigh yourself in the bathtub
In the water displacement method, you’ll submerge yourself completely in the bathtub, naked, while a third-party marks the level of the water with a marker.
You’ll return to the tub after some period of time and submerge yourself again, comparing the difference in the volume you’re taking up in the water.
For obvious reasons, this is absurd and impractical.
I could give a very sciencey explanation of how to actually calculate your volume and use it to determine weight loss, but…
It’s going to be enormously difficult to do this with any accuracy. Your best bet will be to “weigh” yourself via water displacement once every few weeks and take note of whether the water line is going up or down by any noticeable margin, not to actually calculate your weight this way.
Still, there are far too many variables and much too much margin for error here for this to be a reliable way of weighing yourself without a scale.
How to weigh yourself with a scale
So let’s say you do have a scale, or you just broke down and bought one, and you want to weigh yourself properly. There are a few key places to go wrong here that many people screw up, which makes tracking your weight loss progress a lot more difficult:
Step One: Weigh yourself at the same time of day…
Most often it is best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning when you’ve digested your food (preferably after a morning poop) and you haven’t had anything new to eat or drink.
Alternatively, if that’s not feasible, you can just aim for some kind of consistency with the time… Maybe you weigh yourself right after lunch or right before bed a few times per week.
Step Two: Weigh yourself naked or with consistent clothes…
There’s a big difference between the weight of nothing, or just underwear, vs sweatpants, shoes, and a hoody. You want to avoid big swings in weight due to your clothing choices, so the best way to do it is to weigh yourself naked or in your underwear whenever possible.
If that’s not feasible, just try to make sure you’re wearing relatively the same kind of clothing each time. I weigh myself at the gym in workout shoes, a tank top, and sweatpants, usually.
Step Three: Don’t weigh yourself every day...
There’s just no need. Your weight can fluctuate up and down by a pound or more (or way more for women) mostly due to water retention and food fullness. You’ll drive yourself crazy reading the scale every day and wondering why you’re suddenly a pound and a half heavier. Weigh yourself a few times per week, that’s plenty.
And don’t worry so much about the exact number, rather what I like to do is keep a rolling average of my last 3 weigh-ins. That helps you pay attention to whether you’re trending up, down, or about the same, and it takes unpredictable water retention out of the equation to some degree.
Hope this helps!
Measuring Your Progress
Once you implement your weighing schedule, you’ll obviously want to track your progress week-to-week.
After all, that is the whole reason that you are weighing yourself in the first place!
To do this, you can use either a notepad, an online app like MyFitnessPal or FatSecret – or, if you’re a Caliber Fitness member, you can use our , which has the advantage of allowing your trainer see how you’re progressing.
However, when you’re tracking your weekly weight changes, you should be aware of one important point…
Weight loss doesn’t follow a consistent, linear pattern – even if you are perfectly sticking to your diet and workout plan.
Instead, your body tends to lose larger amounts of weight some weeks, and less other weeks.
This should not be seen discouraging; believe me, this is just the way it goes.
And, yes, there is an explanation for why this happens, but that is beyond the scope of this particular article.
So, to avoid stressing out about it, you should look at your weight loss (or weight gain) in 3 week blocks of time.
For instance, let’s say that you are trying to loss 1 pound a week.
The first week you lose 1.3 pounds.
The second week you only lose 0.4 pounds.
However, the third week you loss 1.4 pounds again.
This means that in 3 weeks you have lost 3.1 pounds – which actually exceeds the goal of 1 pound per week.
5. Before and After Photos
To have a successful weight loss journey many fitness professionals visually documenting it with progress pictures. Not only can you see changes to your body, but it also gives you a chance to celebrate your success.
Being able to see the results will keep you motivated and accountable, especially if sharing your progress with friends, family, or even on social media.When other people around you start noticing the differences, they will encourage you and provide the support that you may need on days you feel less motivated.
If you are feeling brave, we recommend finding Facebook groups with others who have similar fitness and wellness goals as you to have access to even more support! For even more motivation, check out these motivational quotes!
For the photos to be effective, make sure to take the photos in the same place and wear the same clothes. Keep in mind the more skin you show in the photos, the better you will be able to see the results.
This is why many people choose to wear swimsuits for their before and after photos. If you do not have someone to help you take the photo for you, propping up your phone camera and using the timer setting will work just as well.
How often to weigh yourself
As for how frequently you should be stepping on the scale, the answer is a bit more complicated. While research points to daily weigh-ins having a clear positive impact on weight loss, you may want to weigh a bit less frequently depending on your relationship to your weight and the scale in general.
You may feel a lot of anxiety when it comes to weighing yourself, and checking your weight frequently may make you obsess over it in an unhealthy way or even fall into negative mindsets and give up trying to manage it entirely.
Then again, completely avoiding the scale isn’t going to do you any favors.
If the scale causes anxiety, aim for at least once a week and keep in mind that changing habits and weight loss is often a slow, incremental process.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of losing weight, though, a number of research studies point to daily weigh-ins as more effective than weekly weigh-ins.
One study from researchers at the University of North Carolina found that weighing daily was even more effective than only weighing a few times per week. The reserachers concluded that “Weighing every day led to greater adoption of weight control behaviors and produced greater weight loss compared to weighing most days of the week.”
Another study found that over 12 months, people who weighed themselves daily lost significantly more weight than those who either did not weigh themselves at all or only weighed themselves weekly. Indeed, the latter two groups had no significant weight loss.
Much of these peoples’ success may be attributed to their establishing the habit of paying attention to their weight on a daily basis, which could influence all kinds of lifestyle choices and help create a positive loop of healthy choices and better weight control.
As psychologist and director of behavioral services at St. Luke’s Health System Humphreys Diabetes Center in Boise, Idaho told American Heart Association News: “That’s an action we call self-monitoring, which is an evidence-based strategy that we use with all kinds of behavior change…Tracking your behavior gives people some accountability, it can create some natural feedback, and it can serve as a source of motivation. They see, ‘Gosh, if I really follow my plan, I start to see some changes.’”
To give yourself the best chance of success, whether your goal is weight loss or maintenance, accept that weight can fluctuate from day to day and even hour to hour and try to establish a pattern of paying attention to it — not obsessing over it.
Use the Bathroom Before Stepping on the Scale
You can experience significant fluctuations in weight due simply to your bladder or bowel contents. Depending on your body size, hydration, and recent meals, you may lose up to a pound after using the bathroom! If you don’t believe me, test this fluctuation by weighing yourself just after rising and then again after breakfast. You may be surprised how much change you see. Simply put, in order to get the most accurate read on your body composition goals (rather than your last meal), make sure you’re as empty as possible before stepping on the scale.
How often should we weigh ourselves?
As tempting as it may be when you’re nailing the healthy eating and exercise, daily weigh-ins are inadvisable. “The body’s weight can fluctuate due to varying factors such as stress, heat, or even the time of month for females,” says Luke. “Once a week should give you an accurate reading of your progress, but if you need to do it more, pick days with space between them, for instance, Monday and Thursday.
Pollyanna Hale, a UK nutritionist and founder of weight loss plan, The Fit Mum Formula, agrees: “Most people are looking for fat loss and/or muscle gain and it takes longer for these to change. Day to day fluctuation is likely just water changes, or bowel content weight (which will be more if you’ve eaten a bulky, high fiber meal, even if it wasn’t high in calories).”
However, dietitian and British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Priya Tew believes we should aim to avoid scales. “Ideally you want to step away from the scales and not weigh yourself regularly,” she says. “Instead think about how your clothes fit, about eating well and being active. Unless you are trying to lose or gain weight I would recommend no more than monthly weighing.”
– RELATED: Dos And Don’ts For Warding Off Winter Weight Gain –
Measuring Your Weight for Healthier Outcomes
Whether you are on a major weight loss journey or looking to gain muscle, it is important to remember that our body weight fluctuates all day, every day. As explained at the beginning, muscle weighs more than fat, meaning that even though you are losing weight because you are losing fat in the process, your weight may be higher if you have gained a decent amount of muscle.
It is also important to keep in mind that the whole process will require patience and self-accountability all the way through to the end.If you become serious about measuring your body fat percentage, it is very likely you will learn to rely on body fat calipers.
For those who prefer a more scientific approach, the water displacement or see-saw methods will be fun for you to complete and you will learn about your body. If you are the type who prefers simplicity, sticking to the old-school soft measuring tape and trying on your old clothes will provide you with the results you are hoping to see.
Lastly, regardless of the method you choose to measure your body weight without a scale, it is highly recommended you visually track your progress using before and after photos as well as a food diary or food tracking app. These are some of the best tools for keeping yourself motivated and on track during your journey to a healthy lifestyle!