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Plus the best day to do it.

December 18, 2014

There are a handful of things we all dread. Like scrubbing the bottom of fridge drawers, stepping in a gym shower without flip flops, and, most likely, hopping on a scale…especially around the holidays.

But a new study in the journal PLOS ONE proves it’s worth sucking it up and getting on the scale more often, because the frequency of scale-stepping can actually be indicative of weight loss.

In the study, researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab tracked more than a year’s worth of weigh-ins from 40 overweight women who wanted to lose weight. The result: The more often they got on the scale, the more pounds they shed. Meanwhile, those who waited more than a week between scale visits actually ended up gaining weight. (Though it's worth mentioning that the study can’t prove causation, just a link between weigh-ins and weight loss. It's possible that women who weren't as serious about slimming down simply weighed themselves less.)

Why might a scale reading help you drop pounds? Researchers point to its ability to keep you on track—the whole “knowledge is power” sort of thing. So if you tack on a pound or two after a few days of holiday revelry, you might look at the scale the next morning and realize, hey, I need to go back to my healthy habits starting today.

If you're really not into the idea of a daily scale routine, take note: The study found that the longest the women could go without weighing themselves and not gaining weight was around six days. So a weekly check-in could be a good idea. The best day to do it, per another study by the same team? On Wednesdays, when the reading will be the most accurate (people weigh the least on Friday mornings and the most on Sunday nights).

And for those who are in the market for a new scale, here are five smart ones worth considering:

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale In Black ($119; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon

BalanceFrom High Accuracy Premium Digital Bathroom Scale ($25; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon

Ivation Ultra Thin LCD Tempered Glass Digital Bathroom And Gym Scale ($25; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon

Smart Weigh Precision Digital Vanity and Bathroom Scale ($19; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon

Modern Bamboo Weighing Body Scale ($27; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon

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