Q: I’m nervous about adding snacks to the diet. I’m in a good groove and it’s hard to change. Plus, I lost four and a half pounds on the Jumpstart; should I weigh myself while I’m on the plan? If yes, how often?

Expert Samantha B. Cassetty, M.S., R.D., Nutritional Director, GHRI addresses why snacks are important, and how often to step on the scale.

adding snacks to the diet

Sam says: This is a very common concern. Even with two snacks a day, you should continue to lose weight, up to two pounds per week. Keep in mind that your goal is to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime, and snacks play a key role. They help offset between-meals hunger, which will help you stick with the plan long-term. Also, since the program was designed to provide all of the key anti-aging nutrients, the produce-and dairy-rich snacks help on that front. If you’re really concerned, you can stick with the Jumpstart plan for another week, but don’t stay on it longer than that. Then, the following week, you can add one snack (instead of two) and see if the scale needle continues to move downwards.

When you’re on the plan, research suggests that weighing yourself regularly is the way to go – as long as you keep it within reason – because it helps keep you on track.

Once you reach your goal weight, step on the scale regularly. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is an ongoing project that collects data on people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept them off for a year. Turns out that three-quarters of those losers hop on the scale once a week to keep those lost pounds in check; if the numbers go up, they take measures to lower them again.

Weighing yourself during maintenance is crucial. That way, you can spot when the scale starts to creep up and do something about it right away before five pounds turns into 25. As in everything, moderation is key. Weigh yourself just once or twice a week, often enough to remind you to keep your goals in sight, but not so much as to make yourself crazy.