How to read your scale sensibly?

It may seem that the bathroom scale is one of those devices that you don't need a manual to. Well, the reality looks a bit differently, what's more, sometimes even the producer's tips are not enough to have thorough measures. In this article I will try to order some information concerning using scale in a way so that it was reliable to assess the changes in the body mass within some period of time.

First of all: weigh yourself in the morning on empty stomach

In order to get the right measures, you have to make them in proper repeatable conditions. If you weigh yourself before breakfast on one day, and on the other after supper, you will obviously have different results. The same situation happens when you weigh yourself in jeans and shoes on, or only in your underwear and barefeet. The best moment to take measures is right after getting up, before any liquids or food consumption, but after the morning toilet. You should weigh naked or in underwear. Thanks to these rules you'll exclude any factors which could make the numbers fake.

Second of all: check the base

The scale, in order to work well, needs to be put on a hard, even and stable base. In other situation the measures may be unreliable. Some devices show completely different results depending on the surface they are put on - there will be different numbers if you put them on a parquet or tiles, and other on a carpet or a bathroom rug. By the way, it's good to make sure the surface under the scale is dry, otherwise you can be very surprised with the fast change of position of both, the scale and yourself, which can result in some injuries. I know what I'm talking about, because I happened to make such a mistake.

Third of all: weigh only on selected days

Doing all the measurements every day doesn't have to be a problem, however, it may be the source of frustration. The reason is that you can notice that the body mass increases on one day and decreases on the next day without any specific cause. The most sensible option is to weigh yourself e.g. once a week, or two days in a row every week (and then take the average). If the measurements are always on the same day of the week (or the same two days), there is a big chance that they will be more reliable. We function in a seven-day mode, we also prepare the diet and training in such a schedule. For example: I always make the measurements on Thursday morning after a day without workout with low-carbs intake. If I made it on Wednesday and the other day on Saturday, I would see much higher results on the latter, as that's when I am after two training days with high-carbs intake.

Fourth of all: other factors also matter

It may sometimes happen that there are some additional factors which influence the reliability of the measurement. For example, a day after a party with alcohol the results may be lowered because of the dehydration. Two days later, however, the numbers may be too high because of the fluid storage. There may be similar effects after consuming larger amount of carbs, or sometimes with the lack of sleep, sickness, or intaking large dozes of caffeine. All of these are the factors worth being taken under consideration when interpreting the measurement numbers.

Fifth of all: remember, there are other important things than scale

It sometimes happens that my clients call me and complain that their waistline is smaller, the body looks better in the mirror, but they cannot see that difference on the scale. In such situations I try to clarify them that noone will ask for their results on the scale. We make some actions to change the body shape, look better, have less body fat and more muscles, and not to obtain particular value during weighing. The weight is just an indicative determinant of the progress, it's definitely not a pointer. More important are: the mirror, loose clothes, the change in circumferences.


The bathroom scale may be a very friendly device, especially for people who work on their bodies, however, it has to be used properly. The most important matter is doing the measurements in similar conditions on the regular basis, but not more often than every 1 -2 weeks, and not taking the results so seriously. It's worth remembering that the body mass doesn't always decrease in steady pace, and that the body fat decrease does not always show on the scale...