Why You Shouldn’t Give Too Much Weight to the Number on Your Bathroom Scale

Gayle King shared on social media that she’s frustrated with the number on her scale. (Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
Gayle King shared on social media that she’s frustrated with the number on her scale. (Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Gayle King is not happy with her bathroom scale.

The co-host of CBS This Morning posted two Instagram snaps of herself standing on the scale showing a 2-pound difference in weight. “It’s a dark day — screamed out loud when I saw weight this am…what the hell happened??” she wrote, calling her weight gain “very bad” and writing, “Gotta get a grip.”

Instagram followers begged the 62-year-old to go easy on herself and pointed to water retention or her recent trip to Alaska with bestie Oprah as possible reasons for the higher number since her last weigh-in on July 7.

Others were dismissive of King’s post, writing, “Maybe you shouldn’t weigh yourself” and “It’s two pounds…”

King is one of many celebrities who document their diets on social media. Kourtney Kardashian, Hoda Kotb, Amy Schumer, and others have all disclosed their weight, either to share their joy or to stay accountable for their goals.

But getting hung up on a particular number may be irrelevant, depending on a person’s body composition, such as muscle mass, and diet, including salt intake. Plus, a person’s weight can fluctuate between one and five pounds on any given day.

Some studies do show that hopping on a scale regularly can help you lose weight. A 2015 Cornell University study published in the Journal of Obesity found that study participants who weighed themselves three or more times per week kept off age-related weight gain one year later.

The method “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell and the paper’s senior author, said in a press release.

However, other research shows that weighing oneself often can be harmful to young women’s self-esteem and body image, according to a 2015 study of 1,900 young adults conducted by the University of Minnesota. The study found that increasing self-weighing over a 10-year period “significantly related to increases in weight concern and depression and decreases in body satisfaction and self-esteem among females,” according to the press release.

One good way to gauge improvement that doesn’t require a scale: assess how your clothes fit.

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