The bathroom scales may be the sworn enemy of many people trying to lose weight, but weighing yourself every day could actually help you shed the pounds.
A study has found people who weigh themselves six or seven times a week lose an average of 1.7 per cent of their body weight over a year.
Watching your weight can show you how changing your behaviour makes you heavier or lighter, scientists say, so it helps form healthier habits.
On the other hand, those trying to lose weight but not regularly stepping onto the scales are less likely to succeed, scientists found.
Research by the universities of Pittsburgh and California revealed the results of the year-long study on weight-watching.
Experts followed data from 1,042 adults who weighed themselves at home as normal without any rules or guidance from the study.
Most of the participants – 78 per cent – were male, 90 per cent of them were white, and their average age was 47.
Researchers found the people who weighed themselves at least six times a week had ‘significant’ weight loss, losing 1.7 per cent of their body weight over the year.
This is equal to 4.2lbs (1.9kg) in someone who weighs 18 stone.
People who never weighed themselves or only did it once a week did not manage to lose any weight, on average, over the course of 12 months.
The researchers say monitoring your own behaviour – such as what you eat or how much exercise you do – and comparing it with how your weight changes can give you a better understanding of what changes your weight and how.
This may make it easier to adopt healthier habits which are more likely to shed the pounds.
Obesity is a growing problem around the world as more and more people are becoming fat and putting themselves at risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
By 2045, experts expect nearly a quarter – 22 per cent – of the entire world’s population to be obese, a huge rise from the 14 per cent in 2017.
One in eight people, rather than todays’ one in 11, are also expected develop type 2 diabetes in the same time period, researchers believe.
Author of the study released in May, Dr Alan Moses, from the Denmark-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, said: ‘These numbers underline the staggering challenge the world will face in the future in terms of numbers of people who are obese, or have type 2 diabetes, or both.
‘As well as the medical challenges these people will face, the costs to countries’ health systems will be enormous.’
The weight-watching research by Pittsburgh and California researchers was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago.