I used to not own a scale, and in fact didn't want one around telling me whether I'd been "good" or "bad" every day. Instead, I used my waist-to-hip circumference and how a certain pair of jeans fit to measure my progress. But these methods were not honest about small weight gains.
It is often advised that you weigh yourself only weekly. The reason is that your weight fluctuates daily -- mostly due to the amount of water in your body -- and this can be misleading. When you're working to lose weight and suddenly find that you weigh two pounds more, you can get discouraged and want to give up. But when you only weigh yourself weekly, a daily fluctuation in your weight on your weigh-in day can be just as misleading.
The solution is to weigh yourself daily and take an average of the last few days. Even better, take a weekly measurement, but do it by averaging your weight over three consecutive days.
To minimize daily fluctuations, weigh yourself at the same time of day, naked, and with an empty bladder. If you see an upward trend, review the foods you've been eating and your level of activity to see what behaviors might have led to the weight gain. Then take corrective action before it becomes a problem.
The scale's gotten a bad rap because of the trouble it causes measuring your body's daily weight fluctuations. But used properly, it can help you to stay on track and meet your weight loss goals.
Megan Porter, RD