Making a vow to lose weight this year and keep it off? Stepping on an accurate bathroom scale can help you track your progress and meet your goals. According to weight-loss experts and research, the best time to weigh yourself is first thing every morning—not just once a week.

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“Make it part of your morning ritual," says Holly Wyatt, M.D., associate director of the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “You need to know that number on a consistent basis to help you manage your weight to make better decisions about your health."

Research published in 2015 backs her up. The studies point to daily weight measurement as a more effective way to keep the pounds from piling on. That may be because the number that flashes from the scale prompts people to make small changes in behavior every day, whether it’s eating less or exercising more.

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

In a Journal of Obesity study published in May 2015, researchers from Cornell University tracked 162 overweight women and men (the average age was 47) over two years. They found that those who weighed themselves every day and tracked their results over time were more successful in losing weight and keeping it off, especially the men.

Participants who lost weight the first year of the study were able to maintain it the second year. “You just need a bathroom scale and a piece of graph paper so that you can see patterns,” says David Levitsky, Ph.D., co-author of the study and a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell. This method “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” he says. “It used to be taught that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily, and this is just the reverse.”

Levitsky says the study found that stepping on a scale every morning was especially important in preventing age-related weight gain. "A trivial 100 calories every day can add up by the end of the week," he says. "But if you're aware of that, you can make a small change every day, like reducing portion size or skipping a snack."  

Another study, published in the April 2015 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, followed 47 obese men and women, all of whom followed the same diet plan for six months. In that time period, those who weighed themselves daily lost significantly more weight (13 pounds, on average) than those who weighed themselves less frequently.  

The Right Way to Weigh In

Follow these steps to get an accurate daily weigh-in, which will help you make smart choices about what to eat and how much to exercise. In our previous tests of digital scales, the Taylor 7506 got top scores.   

  1. Use your scale every morning (the best time to weigh yourself) after you empty your bladder, wearing as little clothing as possible. Because you lose water weight overnight, you'll get a lower number, too.
  2. Place your scale on a hard, even surface—no carpeting. A wobbly or tilted scale can result in an inaccurate reading.
  3. Stand still, with your weight distributed evenly on both feet. If you’re using a body-fat scale, you should be barefoot.