The scale.? Some days, it’s your best friend, displaying the pay off of your hard work and healthy lifestyle.? Other days, it’s your worst enemy, discouraging your efforts with a number higher than you expected.

Regardless of your love/hate relationship, if you want to lose weight, you need to learn to live with it.

Research has shown that those who regularly weigh themselves on a scale are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off than those who don’t or do it inconsistently.? While it is not the only way, the scale is an easy and consistent way to monitor progress over the long term.? To use the scale to maximize your results, keep these things in mind:

  • Weigh yourself once a week.? Don’t become so fixated on the number that you’re jumping on everyday and critiquing every pound lost or gained.? While sometimes the number can be motivating, it can also be discouraging.? Be mindful of the numerable influences on your body weight, including hydration, hormones, and time of day.? Your body can swing up or down a few pounds in a mere 24 hours.? Don’t allow a disappointing number to distract from other signs of success (ie: clothes are fitting better, you have more energy).
  • Weigh yourself on the same day, at the same time, wearing the same amount of clothes, using the same scale. Again, remember all of the influences at play here.? And different scales are set to “zero” in different ways, potentially adjusting your weight a few ounces one way or another.? In order to get an accurate comparison from one week to the next, your body should be in relatively the same state as it was the last time you stepped on the scale, as should be the scale.? Different scales are set to “zero” in different ways, potentially adjusting your weight a few ounces one way or another.
  • Write it down. Keep track of your weekly weigh-ins on chart where you can monitor progress over a few weeks at a time.? This allows you to look at the general trend over time instead of fixating on small set-backs from certain weeks.? Keeping track may also be important for your health; if you’re noticing the number climbing despite a consistent calorie deficit every week, talk to your doctor.? An underlying health issue may be at play.
  • Be consistent. Incorporate your weekly weigh-ins to your schedule so it becomes a habit and not something you absentmindedly remember (or forget) from week to week.? Make your weigh-in as much of a priority as your workouts.