One Small Thing

Weigh yourself on this day of the week for the most accurate reading

If you weigh yourself regularly, you know: There are times when it’s best not to make eye contact with the bathroom scale. You may love the reading one day, and curse it the next.

So what’s the single best day for the most accurate result?

It’s Wednesday, says Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and author of “Slim by Design.” Researchers suspect that’s because, fueled by weekend bacchanals, we usually weigh the most on Sunday nights, and spent by work and other responsibilities, we weigh the least on Friday mornings.

So you should weigh yourself in the middle of the week for the most precise and consistent reading, Wansink advises.

Related: Slim down for summer! 7 simple steps to jump-start your weight loss effort

Other experts weren't so sure. Weight fluctuates because of hormones and how much water you're holding onto, and it's such an individual thing, influenced by when you work out and other factors, said TODAY Tastemaker Keri Glassman, nutritionist, registered dietitian and healthy cooking expert.

Angeliki Jackson / TODAY
Weigh yourself in the middle of the week for the most consistent and accurate reading.

So identifying one particular day as the most accurate time for stepping on the scale may be meaningless, she noted.

"Some people weigh less on Mondays because they work out all weekend long and weekends are actually clean for them," Glassman said.

So how often should you step on your scale? One of Wansink’s studies found that the more frequently people monitored their weight, the more weight they lost. He advises weighing yourself at least once a week.

Other recent studies advocate daily self-weighing.

Glassman said it depends on your relationship with a scale. If the reading affects your mood and "freaks you out," you should not be weighing yourself daily. For others, a daily weigh-in is a tool to stay consistent.

Remember that healthy body weight is an important factor in an overall healthy life, but it's not the only number that matters, she added. Keep in mind that everyone has a weight range, so the readings can fluctuate.

"Don't overly obsess about the scale," Glassman advised. "There are so many ways it can mess with your mind."

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