Self-Weighing Makes Weight Loss Harder Study Finds

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Let’s face it, we all get curious about our weight sometimes, and this concern makes you check your weight every now and then. You do it thinking it’s a positive step, the best way to avoid obesity and all other related complications. But what if you’re wrong? What if checking your own weight regularly could be detrimental to your health?

Findings from medical studies

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, women who keep checking their own weight are more likely to be depressed and have low self-esteem. Despite regular self-weighing, it had no impact whatsoever on the actual weight of participants but only seemed to exacerbate physiological problems.

To put this theory to the test, researchers observed behavioral changes among young adults in relation to their self-weighing habits. 2,000 young adults were included in the study and they reported how often they checked their weight over a 10-year period. The participants also had to indicate what they believed to be their ideal weight.

This information was then correlated to their changes in weight over the same period as well as other changes they had mentally and in their behavior. These were determined by asking them about their self-esteem and diagnosis for signs of depression.

And here is what researchers found: Women who weighed themselves too often were more likely to exhibit weight concern and depressive symptoms, as well as a lower body satisfaction and self-esteem.


Carly Pacanowski, the leader of the study, thinks the paradox comes about because those who check their weight very often will be more concerned with their body weight instead of their overall health. The subsequent psychological disorders from self-weighing could lead to more serious eating disorders, contributing to the problem rather than the solution.

These studies are important for health professionals because it helps them modify the obesity-prevention programs in light of this knowledge. Obesity is a serious concern, with more than a third of American adults being overweight. However, it is still very important to know how certain behaviors could be affecting people negatively without them knowing about it.

What this means

Don’t throw your bedroom scales away just yet, the message here is not to concentrate too much on the body’s weight but to look at our general health. It should also serve as a warning sign to parents and health workers when teenagers, especially females, keep very keen track of their weight.

Despite the findings from this study, researchers have urged every health professional to note their patients’ self-weighing habits and match them up with psychological disorders. In so doing, they will create an even larger database that will be more accurate in determining the actual effects of self-weighing.

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