Nancy Dell: How often to weigh yourself; How much water do you need?

1. I’m trying to lose weight. How often should I weigh myself?
Dick, Wilbraham

For years experts have suggested that you weigh yourself once a week. However, 2 new studies show there may be an advantage to weighing yourself everyday.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota followed more than 3000 overweight people for 2 to 3 years. More than half of the people were trying to lose weight. The remainder of the people were trying to maintain their weight.

The people in the weight loss program who weighed themselves daily lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves just once a week. Even the weight maintenance group lost weight if they weighed themselves daily. People who never weighed themselves gained an average of 4 pounds over 2 years.

In a second study at Brown University Medical School, researched followed nearly 300 people who had lost weight. Those people who weighed themselves daily were approximately half as likely to gain back weight when compared to those who weighed themselves less than daily.

So you should weigh yourself everyday? Daily weigh-ins seem to help in these 2 studies but it is not for everyone.

People who get discouraged if they lose more slowly than their expectations may not want to weigh themselves daily. One salty meal may put on 2 pounds overnight and some personalities would then say “forget this” and wrongly give up their weight loss efforts because of a little water retention.

2. Is there an update on the “8 cups of water a day” guideline?
Sophie, W. Springfield

We all have heard the guideline “Drink 8 cups of water a day”. But, this guideline is out of date.

Our body is 60 percent water. It flushes out toxins, carries nutrients, and keeps our ears, nose and throat moist.

If you do not drink enough, you may simply feel tired and have no energy. But, severe dehydration can lead to heat stroke and even death.

One good way to tell if you are drinking enough fluid is the color of your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow.

  • The Institute of Medicine removed the “8 glasses a day” recommendation.
  • Based on the current research, they recommend 9 cups a day for healthy women and 12.5 cups a day for healthy men.
  • Athletes and weekend warriors need to add a ½ cup for every 15 minutes of exercise. This can come from water but any non-alcoholic fluid, even caffeinated beverages, can count.

So, plan to drink 2 cups of fluid before each meal. Carry fluids with you so you can drink 2 to 3 cups mid-morning and mid-afternoon. You may be surprised to see how much more energy you have.

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