Frequent self-weighing can control weight but may hurt self-esteem

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weight loss

When we lose weight successfully, we tend to weigh ourselves a lot to monitor the weight.

As a common strategy, self-weighing can help us correct even slight weight regain and make our weight stable in the long run.

However, too much self-weighing is associated with negative mood and can hurt self-esteem, reported by a study newly published in Appetite.

Researchers recruited 18 weight-loss maintainers and 18 people with normal stable weight in their life.

The two groups answered questions about their strategies, rules or habits to control weight either after weight loss or during their whole life. They also reported the frequency and reasons of self-weighing.

Result showed that weight-loss maintainers used self-weighing as a useful strategy to monitor weight in daily life, whereas the normal weight group rarely used a scale. For the latter, clothes and mirrors were more important.

In addition, weight-loss maintainers were more watchful about their diet and physical activity, but people with stable weight could control their eating better (e.g., having enough food without overeating).

Interestingly, although weight-loss maintainers weighed themselves frequently, they did not think about it positively. They mentioned that weighing too much made them overwhelmed and “drive them crazy”.

When they regained weight (and found it via self-weighing), they got anxious, guilty, sad and angry. They blamed themselves. In addition, they became sensitive to the scale.

On the other hand, when they lost weight, they considered eating more but meanwhile worried about gaining weight.

Researchers suggest that for weight-loss maintainers, self-weighing can be a successful strategy to control weight. It is encouraging when weight is stable and can provide a warning sign when weight increases.

Nevertheless, too much self-weighing can affect their mood, body image, and self-esteem. To solve the problem, weight-loss maintainers should try other methods, such as learning about nutrition, planning meals ahead, and exercising regularly.


Citation: Carrard I, Kruseman M. (2016). Qualitative analysis of the role of self-weighing as a strategy of weight control for weight-loss maintainers in comparison with a normal, stable weight group. Appetite, 105: 604-610. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.06.035
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