This article is from the Diet FAQ, by Claudia McCreary email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
As mentioned above, weight is only a rough indicator of fitness. However,
many people engaged in a reducing or fitness plan find it desirable to check
their weight regularly. Opinions on how often one should weigh vary widely.
The natural tendency of a person on a weight loss plan is to weigh
frequently, perhaps several times a day ("I've lost a quarter pound since
this morning!"). It's important to remember, though, that your weight will
increase and decrease throughout the day depending on your activity level,
food and fluid intake, etc. Even your day-to-day weights will fluctuate,
mostly due to varying degrees of fluid retention. (Many women tend to gain a
few pounds during their menstrual periods due to "water weight," and men and
women both tend to retain extra fluids after ingesting large quantities of
sodium, e.g. Chinese food.) For this reason, many a.s.d members feel that it
is more reasonable to weigh less often, perhaps once a week or once a month,
to obtain a more realistic pattern of weight loss or maintenance. Even this
approach has some drawbacks, though--what if you just happen to be heavy due
to fluid retention on the one day per week or month that you weigh?
If you do decide to weigh yourself regularly (at whatever frequency you
think is most appropriate for your emotional well-being), we recommend that
you: a) Weigh yourself under similar conditions each time. For example, if
you weigh yourself daily, do it at the same time every day, wearing
approximately the same clothes each day, on the same scale. Probably the
best time is in the morning, right after getting up and going to the
bathroom, before eating or drinking anything. b) Look not at specific
numbers but at trends in your weight patterns. If you weigh daily, you might
wish to average your daily weights to obtain one weekly average, which you
can compare to previous weeks. Try plotting your weight on a graph, and look
for a gradual downward inclination, ignoring the occasional sharp peaks and
dips, which are probably due to differing degrees of fluid retention.
Some people have abandoned the scales entirely, preferring to rely on other
indicators, such as:
* How well do your clothes fit? Are they tight or loose through the chest,
thighs, or waist?
* The "pinch test": Can you "pinch an inch" of fat at your waistline or at
the back of your arm?
* The "jiggle test": Jump up and down in front of a full-length mirror,
nude. Does anything jiggle that shouldn't
* Overall muscle tone: When you put your hand on your thigh or hip, do you
feel muscle or fat?