Let’s hear the TRUTH – and bin the scales!
Most women weigh themselves daily–and their whole day is dictated by “the number.”
I’ll give you a number: ONE [the amount of times you should weigh yourself annually/at the doctors office], or how about TWENTY [the body fat % that separates the ultra-fit from the healthy], or even SIX [the dress size that the average healthy, fit 5’5″ woman wears]. Now these are numbers I am ok with!
If you’re just starting a weight loss program, the number on the scale can be deceptive, making you feel that you’re not making progress even when you are.
Unfortunately, the hard work of diet and exercise isn’t always reflected on the scale for people loosing weight, especially during the first few weeks.
When you work hard at your workouts and diet, you may expect more than your body can deliver, which leads to disappointment.
Here are my 8 reasons why your weight (in lbs, kg, tons, whatever) really means very little in the grand scheme of health, fitness & fat loss:
You have heard this before, and yet, you still don’t like it or want to get on board with it: muscle is more DENSE than fat and takes up LESS SPACE. The more muscle you have on your frame, the HEAVIER your weight will be, but the tighter and SMALLER your PHYSIQUE will be compared to someone who might weigh less but also has less muscle or a higher body fat %.
2) Water weight.
You can literally GAIN up to 5-7 lbs within the same DAY. It’s simple. When you wake up in the morning, you are relatively dehydrated and in a fasted state, and then you hydrate throughout the day and eat food. Understanding this can help prevent melt-downs for people who weigh themselves multiple times a day.
Also, having a super-salty meal one evening can lead to excessive water retention the next morning. You can literally feel that you are holding water based on fluctuations in rings (tighter or looser) or joint swelling or looking at your midsection if you are fairly lean. This does not mean you are destined to keep that weight on…you rehydrate with 3-4L plain water, get back on your clean nutrition plan, eat lots of fibrous veggies and you can shed that retention within a single day.
3) Your weight is not an accurate reflection of how you look in clothes or on stage.
Once again, coming back to that muscle versus fat argument, your body fat % dictates what dress size you wear, though two people can wear the exact same size and look completely different.
Likewise, two women can weigh the exact same (one at 20% BF and one at 40% BF) and look drastically different. Thus, using your DRESS SIZE and how your clothes fit are both much more applicable indicators of your health, fitness & fat loss than your weight in pounds–far and away.
4) Your weight is NOT always an accurate measure of health.
Ever heard of “SKINNY FAT?” (please see my previous post about this). This is someone who tends to have a higher metabolism, stays thin, but might be flabbier with a high body fat percentage. They often have sarcopenic obesity, meaning they are in the “normal weight” range for their height, but their body fat % classifies them as “obese” while also putting them at a higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even cancer, not to mention the #1 most likely: osteoporosis. It is much healthier to be a little heavier in weight but with a lower body fat % than the opposite.
Unfortunately many insurance companies use weight and/or Body Mass Index (BMI, which is a height-to-weight measurement and essentially holds the same comparably inaccurate value to that of weight alone) to set their rates, which is bad for the people who weigh more because of their muscle mass! Yes, Jessica ennis is clinically obese I cording to the scales! What do you think?
So instead, use your body fat % or waist circumference as a more accurate measure of health.
5) Your ego.
Let’s face it, you get an ego boost when you weigh yourself and get a lower number. Not that there’s really anything wrong with that, EXCEPT how do you respond when the number goes UP? Often for people who are chronic-weighers, “the number” dictates how well their day will go: “Is it up? Is it down? This is going to be a bad/good day!” Having an attachment to your weight number is a double-edged sword. When it’s down, you’re up and when it’s up, you’re down. Having to rely on a quantifiable digit to decide your happiness is not a healthy place to be….
6) Playing with your self-worth.
Many people put way too much stock in their weight, their body fat % and dress size. Yes, the latter two can be a great indicator of health, but none of them should dictate your self-worth. “Your self-worth is inherent. No one can take it from you” and that includes a number on a scale. The problem with using any sort of objective measurement is that many times it can get entangled with our sense of self. You are worthy, special and a success right now, in this moment.
7) Getting to know your body –
You can’t lose weight until you exercise consistently and you can’t do that until you build endurance and strength. Take the first few weeks to experiment, condition your body and figure out what you’re capable of. weighing yourself once a month rather than daily or weekly to give your body time to adapt to what you’re doing. Another option is to shift your focus from the minutiae of weight loss and concentrate on what you actually need to do get there, such as:
-Showing up for your workouts
– Set goals based on how many workouts you’ll do each week rather than how much weight you’ll lose.
-Learning how to exercise – If you’re a beginner, there’s a learning curve that may take you awhile to overcome. Give yourself space to learn good form, solid technique and effective methods of training before you put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight.
8) Instead of watching the scale, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.
Living well almost always leads to weight loss. This is one instance where the scale can lie, especially for new exercisers beginning a strength training program. I often hear this question from readers who mention losing inches while the scale doesn’t move. They wonder, “Why haven’t I seen any results?” If you’re experiencing this, one question to ask yourself is: Why do you believe the scale over your own experience? If you’re buying smaller clothes, you’re losing fat no matter what the scale says.
I’m upset about hearing from/of people who believe that the scale is telling them rather than what’s in front of our own eyes, leaving them discouraged and frustrated rather than celebrating their success ! BIN THOSE SCALES !!!!