When did people start weighing themselves?

The origin of people weighing themselves traces back to the 1500s. It begins with a group of Italian scientists that included Galileo. They were arguably the world’s first ‘self-trackers.’ 

They were obsessed with measuring almost everything around them in order to understand themselves and life better. 

Italian scientist checkin’ out his weight

Over the next few centuries various scales were invented, most of them huge. Certainly not a normal household item. 

Who decided that people should weigh themselves? 

Better question, when did doctors start suggesting what we should weigh? 

This begins in 1942. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, aka “MetLife.”

MetLife’s goal, like many businesses, is to make as much money as possible. This means selling as many life insurance policies as possible.

Using data collected from 5 million policies in the US and Canada, they created a “desirable” height and weight chart. 

In the 1950s doctors began suggesting that their patients fall in line with the following diagram. Pretty interesting if you ask me. 

For the first time, people and their doctors could compare themselves to a standard of what they “should weigh.” 

In the 1980s doctors used a different chart based off of height and weight, BMI (body mass index) to classify our weight. BMI is a height to weight ratio. 

Why do people weigh themselves?

Christian’s opinion on the scale…

We weigh ourselves because they want to be healthy. We want to be our best selves. An easy way to measure our current health status is by stepping on the scale. 

My greatest bone to pick with the scale is when it is used too frequently. Don’t throw it away or hit it with a hammer. I strongly advise to avoid using the scale every day. 

Typically people weigh the least on Friday and are heaviest on Mondays. Just my experience. 

If you have any suggestions or personal comments about your experience with the scale leave a comment 🙂