Let’s start this post with Sean Croxton’s (http://undergroundwellness.com/blog/ ) video below about chronic scale use, as it makes some very important points. I will continue below the video, which I do suggest you watch as you may see yourself.
Okay, now right out of the box I will admit that I am a data nut. I do weigh myself every morning and keep several spreadsheets (weight by weekly average, weight and body fat for the rolling last 30 days, weight and body fat by month, and body fat by weekly average). However, the point Sean is making is that putting too much thought or importance in the day to day fluctuations of the scale weight is a big mistake, you have to keep it in perspective. I find that the weekly and monthly averages smooth all this daily data out to give me a clear picture of what the trend is and if I need to make adjustments.
I link below to a post by Scooby Werkstaat at Scooby’s Workshop.com which details all the things to watch out for when weighing, as well as giving good solid advice on how to do it correctly so you establish an accurate trend and really understand what is happening with your progress (or lack thereof as the case may be). This post by Scooby also contains a link to a basic spreadsheet to enter your daily weight and body fat measurements – it crunches all the numbers for you and gives you a nice graph showing your trend line. Kudos to Scooby for making this and all the other information on his site free.
Okay, now you notice I mention you need your body fat measurements – this is crucial and does not have to take a lot more time than just weighing. Without tracking body fat you have no idea if the weight you are seeing, even averaged out, is from muscle gain, fat loss, or a combination of both. Just be sure to be consistent about measuring in the same place for the same amount of time everyday. I use a sewing tape and a sharpie to mark my measurement points. In my experience doing this for many years, it is virtually impossible to get an accurate body fat number without getting the medical tests to determine it, but if you practice a bit, you will come up with a time to measure that seems to work for you. Scooby only measures for about 2 seconds, other sites and the manufacturers recommend measuring until the rate of movement on the caliper scale slows down. After experimenting with many different time periods over the years I personally measure 80 seconds until the scale no longer is moving – this gives me a body fat calculation which is about 1% less than my actual body fat (at least as far as I can estimate it), but the important thing here is consistency so you get an accurate trend and I find this the easiest way to get a consistent number day after day. Scooby goes through the basic process at this link http://scoobysworkshop.com/body-fat-calculator/ . Also, a note on the belly skinfold – there does not seem to be any particular guidance about whether this should be vertical skinfold or horizontal. Some sites say vertical and others say horizontal. I use a vertical skinfold as it is just easier to hold and read the scale. Again, understand you need to sacrifice complete accuracy for consistency here. Also, a word of warning – it will be tempting to use the body fat indicators on many scales sold today – stay away from using these for convenience as they are very inaccurate and vary a lot depending on your degree of hydration – you cannot get meaningful and consistent numbers with these. Just commit to the calipers and skinfolds.
Finally, I am giving a link to the body fat calipers I use and recommend – inexpensive and a nice scale which is easy to read while still pinching the skinfold. Follow this guidance and use the tools provided and you will have a very good trend of your progress and when you need to make adjustments – even if that average only goes down a little bit every week or two, that gives you the positive reinforcement you need to make this a permanent lifestyle change and reach your goals.