Track Body Weight With Monday Morning Weigh-Ins

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How to Track Body Weight 1

While I’ve talked about the importance of measuring body fat percentage, I think tracking your body weight over time is also very important. Unfortunately, most people track their weight incorrectly and don’t understand the most important reason WHY they should even bother.

Daily Body Weight Tracking Can Make You Crazy

When most people try to lose, or even gain weight, they try to weigh themselves every day, or even multiple times per day, which is at best a waste of time, and at worst, compulsive, and even counterproductive (I admit I’ve done this). Day to day, it’s almost impossible to track meaningful changes in your body. It’s like trying to measure how fast grass grows on a daily basis. Pretty silly, right?

Daily weight-ins can make you go crazy because of changes in water weight. Your body is comprised of 60-75% water, which depends on the amount of muscle you have (muscle contains more water than fat). Small fluctuations in your hydration level can change your body weight by a few pounds. If you are weighing yourself multiple times per day, any changes in body weight will be a results of changes in hydration level.

Using the scale to track your body weight is a proxy for measuring changes in body fat on a more frequent basis, not trying to figure out how your hydration levels fluctuates. Measuring changes in body fat can be verified on a bimonthly, or monthly basis with body fat percentage tests.

Monday Morning Weigh-Ins = Consistency & Accountability

How to Track Body Weight 2

I believe the best way to track your body weight is to weigh yourself every Monday morning after excretion. Conducting your weigh-in on a weekly basis at the same time of day allows you to track changes in your body weight far more accurately. The morning works best because you have not eaten any food, or drank any fluids, so it’s more likely your hydration levels will be similar to the previous week.

The reason I make every one of my clients track his or her body weight is not just to see if they are gaining, or losing fat, but for accountability. Without accountability, it’s very easy to make excuses and very hard to make positive changes. I have some coaching clients who simply email me a few times per week just so they have someone to keep them in line. The scale is one way of keeping you in line.

Do you notice why I chose Monday as opposed to the other 6 days of the week? Monday is strategically placed after the weekend, which is when most people swerve off the road. During the week it’s easy to get in a routine, whereas the weekends are less structured, which is prime time for mindless overeating and drinking.

I understand weighing yourself and being accountable for your (oftentimes) subconscious actions can be VERY stressful and emotional. I’ve had clients who would slip up during the weekend, then basically refuse to weight themselves on Monday morning. They didn’t want to see how their actions directly caused them to gain weight.

In fact, even after a couple slip ups, some people will completely stop weighing themselves, which is a MASSIVE mistake. Yes, being accountable and responsible for our actions can be tough, but you can look yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you are trying. Have courage and take responsibility for your actions, even if sometimes they seem uncontrollable.

Body Weight Changes are Not Perfectly Linear

How to Track Body Weight 3

Just as the stock market goes up and down, changes in your body weight may not be perfectly linear. Over time however, assuming you are trying to gain, or lose weight, the scale reading should move in the right direction. If you are maintaining your weight, my suggestions is to give yourself a 5 pound range so that if you go outside the range on either side, then you can take the appropriate actions.

As you are trying to lose fat, changes may not be linear because (1) hydration may be a factor, (2) you may gain some muscle, (3) you didn’t have any changes in your body. My suggestion is that if you have the same weight after a couple weeks, then reflect on what could have happened, then consider tweaking your game plan.

Use a Digital Scale Over an Analog

So what scale should you use to track your body weight? I prefer Digital scales, which give you an accurate reading in 0.2 pound increments. Even losing 0.4, or 0.6 pounds in a week can be motivating, because you are still moving in the right direction. With analog scales, it’s much harder to perceive these more minuscule changes. Tanita Digital Scales are considered “best of class” and range from $30-$100, with price range differences dependent on functionality and materials, not accuracy.

Analog Scale Digital Scale
How to Track Body Weight 4 How to Track Body Weight 5

You can then input your weekly results in a spreadsheet, or use an online calorie tracker, or app that also allow for tracking weight over time. If you don’t know how to calculate your ideal weight, you can check out my article on the Ideal Body Weight Formula.

I hope this has cleared up some confusion for you about how you can track your body weight and the real reason why it’s so important!

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17 Comments on “Track Body Weight With Monday Morning Weigh-Ins

  1. Hank
    July 23, 2010 #

    Very disappointing to learn how compulsive I am. I will try to weigh myself less and I see the merit in choosing Monday.

  2. Mary
    July 24, 2010 #

    Monday morning weigh-ins are definitely not my favorite. In fact I have deliberately avoided them in the past. Weighing-in on a Monday makes the most sense.

  3. Julia
    July 26, 2010 #

    I am on the other end of the spectrum, I haven’t weighed myself in at least 6 months. I usually gauge my weight by how my clothes fit…when I am on the low end I can wear my 2′s + when I am on the high end I wear my 4′s. I guess this gets a little skewed in the summer when I primarily wear sun dresses. This morning I took the plunge + weighed myself @ the gym before I worked out. I actually weigh 5lbs more than I thought I did which was a little depressing. I am trying not to let it get me down + focusing on accountability + am hoping with a little extra effort the # will be a little bit lower next Monday! Thanks for all the great information + the continually inspiring posts! As someone who is health conscious but also works + travels for work a lot I have found them to be super useful!

    1. Marc Perry
      July 26, 2010 #

      @Julia I REALLY appreciate the kind words! It means a lot. It’s nice to see you enjoy the articles that take me A LOT of time to create.

      I think seeing how your clothes fit is certainly a reasonable measure of progress. I like to weigh myself about once every week, or so, then just pinch my stomach fat to see where I am. I’ve done it so many times I’m like the human body fat tester!

      I don’t think the scale is the only way, or perfect way to measure progress, but it’s definitely one way I’ve found very helpful. I definitely wouldn’t get too stressed out about your weight, especially if you are eating well and exercising. It is just one measure of health/progress after all. And I know how hard it can be trying to stay fit and healthy with a tough schedule and frequent travel, so kudos to you!

  4. rj
    July 27, 2010 #

    i totally echo julia’s comment (minus the sun dresses)! i do have plenty guilt coming off a wkend. and i defi guage weight acc’d to pants comfort haha. why are you making me do this marc!? i know….for my own good. cant argue with the master…

  5. Anna
    July 28, 2010 #

    This is great information regarding not weighing to often. I used to weigh everyday but soon abandoned that idea. Your articles are very informative. I enjoy them very much.

    1. Marc Perry
      July 28, 2010 #

      @Anna – Thanks a lot for the compliment regarding the articles and I’m thrilled you are enjoying them!

  6. Toni
    July 5, 2011 #

    I don’t know if weighing yourself every Monday morning is critical in keeping yourself in check. I weigh myself like every two weeks. Women have tons of hormonal fluctuations throughout the month so I’m not sure if weekly weigh-ins would be helpful, in my opinion. I tend to go more by how my clothes fit. Also, about once a month, I try on my bikini and stand in front of my full-length mirror – that way I can properly assess where I’m at. It sounds obsessive but it works for me.

    1. Marc Perry
      July 10, 2011 #

      @Toni – For guys, I suggest every week, for women depending on comfort level, I think 1-2 weeks is fine, or even paying attention to how clothes fit. Thanks for sharing that.

  7. kate shadow
    November 13, 2011 #

    Seeing myself in the mirror, its evident that I need to lose body fat. I have been trying for years, and nobody could understand why I wasn’t losing weight. Recently though, my weight loss has jumped to at least 5 pounds per week. Could this be caused by calorie cutting?

    1. Marc Perry
      November 14, 2011 #

      @kate shadow – I guess the first question is, how much do you weigh? The amount of the weight loss (5lb) seems significant and it’s unlikely it’s all fat. It may have been 1-2lb of fat (depending on how much you weigh though). Fluctuations in weight can occur if you manipulate your carboydrate, water, and sodium intake. I could lose 5lb easily in a day by decreasing my carb intake and drinking a lot of water and taking it easy on the sodium, especially if I’m dehydrated, which means I’m holding on to a lot of water. So, if you changed your carb intake/water intake/sodium intake, that could be the explanation. A large portion may also be fat loss, but you know more than me how you changed your diet from how it was before, to how it was the last few weeks when you lost all this weight. Finally, if you lack any energy, or don’t feel right, I would see your doctor right away.

  8. kate shadow
    November 18, 2011 #

    @Marc
    I now weigh only 188, and am losing over a pound a day. I took your advice, went to the doctor, and discovered that I was consuming less than 200 calories per day. I am still losing weight, but am hoping it slows soon. Thank you so much. You could have saved my life.

    1. Marc Perry
      November 20, 2011 #

      @kate sudow – happy to hear you are on the path towards improving your health and well being.

  9. vinay
    January 29, 2012 #

    my height is 172cms i weigh 79kgs is it correct i am not athlete i think i carry most of my weight around thigh and waist region plz help me out

    1. January 29, 2012 #

      @vinay – I’m not sure I’m following your question. If you are asking if it’s ok to have fat around your thigh and waist, it sounds like genetically that’s where you carry your fat. It is what it is! With a proper diet and exercise, you can lose the fat and get a leaner body.

  10. nazrin
    March 8, 2012 #

    Hi Marc,

    I would like to ask, but i know it’s a stupid question but it has been bogging me since i’ve started doing exercises.

    1) Is the immediate weight that we lost after a workout or HIIT were just water weight or fat as well?

    2) Does the weight gain after meal is normal, and should be taken as a yardstick for weight gain but rather concentrate on calories intake only?

    I’m currently 138lbs and 5 foot 7. I went to the bodyfat machine testing (BIA) and the results turned out that i have 12.3 % of bf.

    Thank you very much Marc for helping people like us.

    1. March 10, 2012 #

      @nazrin – Here are my answers:

      1) Is the immediate weight that we lost after a workout or HIIT were just water weight or fat as well?
      Just water.

      2) Does the weight gain after meal is normal, and should be taken as a yardstick for weight gain but rather concentrate on calories intake only?
      Weight gain after a meal doesn’t mean anything necessarily. Calorie intake is what matters over time along with eating unprocessed foods.

      Sounds like you are getting solid results. Keep up the great work.

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