Why Weighing Yourself Every Day Could Be Messing With Your Mind

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you. 

The Background

Stepping onto the scale can be a pretty fraught task no matter how much you weigh. Obsessing over a number that fluctuates each time you eat, drink or go to the bathroom is not only an ineffective way to tell how fit you are, but studies also suggest that the psychological torture it could bring isn’t so great for mental health, especially for women. Not to mention, research hasn’t been able to adequately prove that daily weigh-ins actually lead to weight loss. 

Still not convinced you should stop focusing on that yo-yoing number? In a new 10-year study, researchers from the University of Minnesota looked at just how bad it was for young men and women to subject themselves to the tyranny of the scale on a regular basis. 

The Setup

The researchers used survey answers from the Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults study, which followed adolescents in middle school into young adulthood for 10 years. They focused on 1,868 participants, about 57 percent of whom were young women. The survey first asked participants how much they agreed with the statement “I weigh myself often.” It also included questions that measured their body satisfaction, weight concern (“I think a lot about being thinner and I am worried about gaining weight”), self-esteem and depressive symptoms. 

The Findings

For young women, weighing themselves often was associated with a host of downsides: decreased self-esteem and body satisfaction, as well as increased depressive symptoms and weight concern. Young men who reported frequent trips to the scale, however, only suffered increased weight concern. 

Research on the matter is a mixed bag, but these findings add to a growing body of literature linking self-weighing with poor psychological health, particularly for women.

The Takeaway

It may be tempting to pop onto your scale after your morning shower or before you brush your teeth at night, so keep in mind that obsessively weighing yourself may not be as harmless as it seems. Sure, tracking your weight once in a while can be a helpful way to keep tabs on personal health, but this study suggests that doing so every single day may lead you to put too much stock in a fluctuating number that may only make you unnecessarily upset.

While we may not need a study to tell us this, a friendly reminder to chill about your daily weight is probably a good thing.

Rather than occupying yourself with an ever-changing number on a scale, you might be better served saving all of that mental real estate for more productive, body positive things, like Beyonce songs or anything Amy Schumer has ever said.

Also on HuffPost: