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To accurately monitor your weight, consistency is key.

If you want to be aware of when you’re losing, gaining, or maintaining weight, the best time to weigh yourself is the same time you weighed yourself the last time.

Your weight fluctuates over the course of a day. To track your weight, you don’t want to compare how much you weigh first thing in the morning with your weight in the afternoon immediately following eating lunch.

Keep reading to learn best practices for keeping track of your weight.

If you want to pick a specific time of day to consistently weigh yourself, consider first thing in the morning, after you empty your bladder.

This is because morning is typically the end of the longest period of your day in which you haven’t consumed food or participated in strenuous exercise.

By weighing yourself when you first get up in the morning, factors such as exercise or what you ate the day before don’t have a meaningful impact.

Consistency in weighing yourself is not limited to the time of day you weigh yourself.

For a better measurement of your weight and its fluctuations, consider the equipment you’re using and what else you’re weighing (such as clothing).

Some scales are more accurate than others.

Ask for a recommendation from:

  • your healthcare provider
  • a knowledgeable friend
  • personal trainer

You can research sites that include ratings and buyer feedback. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests getting a digital scale as opposed to a spring-loaded scale.

Put your scale on a hard, flat, level surface, avoiding carpeting or uneven flooring. The simplest way to calibrate it, after putting it in place, is to adjust the weight to exactly 0.0 pounds with nothing on it.

Also, for consistent measurement, when weighing yourself in the morning, weigh yourself after using the restroom and while standing still, which evenly distributes your weight on both feet.

Now that you have a good scale that’s properly set up, use it. More importantly, only use this scale, don’t weigh yourself elsewhere.

Even if your scale is slightly off, it will be consistent. Any changes will indicate an accurate alteration from the same source.

In other words, any change will be a reflection of a true change in weight, not a change in equipment.

It’s important to remember that equipment may not always be accurate in presenting weight measurement.

A 2017 study involved clinically auditing scales at 27 child health clinics. The results showed that only 16 of 152 scales audited — that’s less than 11 percent — were 100 percent correct.

After selecting a scale you’re confident about, always weigh the same thing when you weigh yourself.

Probably the most consistent and easiest approach to weighing yourself is getting on the scale naked.

If that’s not an option, try to be consistent in your clothing. For example, if you must wear shoes, try to wear the same shoes every time you weigh yourself.

Also, understand that the scale will measure the food and liquid you’ve recently consumed.

Typically, you weigh more after eating. You’ll usually weigh less after strenuous physical activity because of the water you’ve lost through sweating. This is why one of the best times to weigh yourself is in the morning before you’ve eaten or exercised.

For many people, doing their weigh measurement in the morning makes it convenient to strip down and step onto the scale.

Consistency is key to accurate weight measurement. To get the best results:

  • Weigh yourself at the same time every day (morning is best, after using the restroom).
  • Use a quality weighing device that’s set up properly.
  • Only use one scale.
  • Weigh yourself naked or wear the same thing for every weight measurement.