If you’re already a part of the Found family, then you already know a little, or maybe a lot, about Weigh-In Wednesday. It’s a key part of our program, and for many of our members, it can (understandably!) bring up anxious feelings. So we wanted to share a little more info about why we do it, how consistent weigh-ins are essential to a successful weight care journey, and what to do if hopping on a scale makes you feel stressed out. Here’s what you need to know.
For decades, weight has been a means of measuring someone’s overall health. Decades of research in this area means that looking at weight can tell us a lot about how someone is doing. But your weight doesn’t tell your full health story. So while it’s useful for your medical team to know and measure your weight over time, it’s not necessarily the outcome we want YOU to focus on in your journey toward health.
We encourage you to shift your mindset from considering weight as the be-all-end-all, and instead think of each weigh-in as one small data point on a comprehensive table charting your ongoing journey toward wellness. All of those data points are really helpful. When you log your weight every Wednesday, you can look at the big picture and track positive trends over months and even years. When you look at it that way, it’s easier to stop seeing the scale as something to fear and instead embrace it as a powerful tool to help guide you.
We’re never going to be hyper-focused on a single day or week, so keep that in mind if you’re worried about what that number’s going to be. We really want you to focus on the other positive outcomes of weight care. That’s why we also encourage you to measure, track, and share your progress with non-scale victories (NSV)—like practicing healthy habits, celebrating those times when you feel more energized, or noticing how clothes fit differently.
It’s important to remember that the number on the scale will go up and down, and sometimes stay the same, even as you’re losing body fat. This is all a part of a normal and healthy weight care journey. Your weight can fluctuate (as much as a few pounds daily) depending on many factors including stress, hormones, digestion, salt intake, sleep quality, and hydration.
People who accept fluctuations in the scale appear to be more likely to lose weight and keep it off compared to those who judge singular instances of lower weight or progress. A systematic review found that this sort of acceptance actually improves your ability to sustain weight loss over the long term. Additionally, people who lose weight at a slower rate (2 to 5 pounds per month or less!) are much more likely to keep weight off over time. Losing weight too quickly can lead to issues from muscle loss and nutrient deficiencies to gallstones and loose skin. Not what you signed up for, right?
Having realistic expectations helps. Achieving sustainable weight care is a slow process that takes time, patience, discipline, and consistency. It’s easier said than done, but try not to let those daily and/or weekly fluctuations in body weight discourage you. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll get where you want to go.
There is a significant relationship between self-monitoring–such as weighing in and keeping a log–and successful weight care outcomes. A survey of 22 studies show that over time, being honest and consistent with tracking your weight will pay off. The average person is at their highest weight on Sunday, thanks to relaxed weekend choices, and their lowest weight on Friday, after being spent by work and other responsibilities. That’s why a number of fitness coaches and weight loss experts recommend weighing yourself in the middle of the week for the most precise measurement. To stay consistent, try to keep other variables the same as well. We recommend weighing yourself:
On the same scale each week
The scale should be on a hard, level floor
In the morning after you’ve used the bathroom, and before you have eaten
Wearing lightweight clothing and barefoot
All of that said, we totally understand that for some people, Weigh-In Wednesday and scales just aren’t helpful. If that’s the case for you, there are other ways to track your progress. Here are some ideas:
Observe how you feel. There’s no more accurate progress-tracking tool than the way we feel. Maybe you’re waking up with more energy or your skin is feeling more hydrated. Perhaps your mood has even changed! There are so many ways that how we feel will change, in both our bodies and minds, as we become a healthier version of ourselves. Logging notes about how you feel in the Found app is a great way to track your progress.
Snap progress photos. We recommend taking pictures of yourself from the front, side, and back every two weeks. This is because while weight loss and fat loss are related, they’re two different things. We all look at ourselves on a daily basis, so even the most subtle changes might go unnoticed. But by taking those progress photos, over time, you’ll see how those incremental changes add up to something substantial. If you're up for it, you can share progress photos any time in the community, whether you’re doing Weigh-In Wednesday or not—we love to see them!
Take measurements. Because the scale loves to fluctuate, measurements are often a more accurate tool for tracking fat loss. We suggest measuring your waist, hips, thighs, and upper arms every month. It’s absolutely possible that you’ve lost inches even if the scale hasn’t budged!
Try on your favorite pair of jeans. This is a personal favorite! Do you have those jeans that you look at, that you can’t bear to donate, but just don’t fit you anymore? Or maybe a dream dress that you’d love to fit in at next year’s holiday party? Try on that piece of clothing once a month, and see (and feel) how the fit changes over time. Log some notes in the Found app, and you’ll be able to go back and see progress, too.
Log a non-scale victory in “Celebration.” If you had a great night’s sleep, ate an extra veggie every day, woke up feeling optimistic, or felt great when you put your clothes on this morning, log it. Aside from “Celebrations” you can also log Meals, Movement, Moods, Sleep, Meds, and Roadblocks in the Found app or platform. All of these help you get a sense of where you’re at and how you’re doing right now.
Reach out to others. Fellow Found members, friends, and family members can all be great sources of encouragement. Set a daily, weekly, or monthly time to touch base with one another over text message, the app, phone call, FaceTime, or another method that works for you.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.