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When to step on your bathroom scales

Close up of a woman stepping on bathroom scales
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If you’re someone who has struggled with your weight and had it go up and down over the years, you might have a love/hate relationship with your bathroom scales.

On the one hand, scales are a great way of tracking weight loss, which is a huge motivator in continuing with diet and exercise. On the other hand, stepping onto the scales and finding you’ve made no progress can be really disheartening. They can also drive unhealthy and obsessive weight loss habits.

If you’re trying to lose weight and wondering how to use your scales in a healthy way, read on for our simple guide.

How do I know if I need to lose weight?

If you’re at a healthy weight, there’s no need to worry about regularly weighing yourself to monitor weight loss or weight gain.

In the NHS, “body mass index” or “BMI” is the system used to calculate whether you’re underweight or overweight. With this system, you divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared to get one number – as a shortcut, you can use our BMI calculator.

In general terms, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 means that you’re at a healthy weight, while a BMI under 18.5 is underweight. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 you’re considered overweight, and if it’s over 30 you’re considered obese.

There are big limitations to the BMI system, in part because it can’t “tell the difference” between fat, muscle and bone. This means people who are very muscular might be considered overweight, even if they have little body fat. Another limitation is that being a healthy weight doesn’t automatically mean you have a healthy lifestyle.

However, working out your BMI can still be a helpful starting point if you’re looking to get healthier. If you try it and get a result of underweight, overweight or obese, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your GP.

How often should I weigh myself?

If you’re trying to lose weight, the NHS recommends weighing yourself around once a week. Most weight loss plans, including the free 12-week programme available through the NHS, aim for weekly progress, which is why there’s usually no need to check in more often than this.

You might find it helpful to create a routine around weighing yourself – e.g. you do it at the same time on the same day each week – and keep a note of your progress in a notebook or on your phone.

Just remember: weight loss is about long-term progress, not short-term losses. If you have the occasional setback (e.g. a week where you don’t lose or put on weight) don’t let it put you off. Keep going with your diet and exercise regime, and you will see progress.

How to weigh yourself with a scale

Weighing yourself using a scale isn’t difficult but there are some basics to keep in mind:

  • If you’re trying to lose weight, aim to weigh yourself once a week, ideally on the same day
  • You don’t have to be naked when you step on the scales, but try to wear similar clothes each time e.g. pyjamas
  • Avoid wearing heavy fabrics and shoes
  • Make sure your scale is on a hard, level surface

Our bathroom scales

If you’re looking to buy a new set of scales to keep you motivated on your weight loss journey, browse our range today.