Why you shouldn’t believe the scales…

Are you someone who starts a new diet or exercise routine and finds yourself jumping on the scales at every moment you get, hoping its less than the day before… Well that was me! I would exercise, or have a day of healthy eating and step on the scales with my fingers crossed, hoping that I had lost weight. It got to the point that I would check the scales in the morning and again at night or even after going to the toilet…. And for what??? To be continuously disappointed by what I see, or maybe seeing a lower number and treating myself to a sweet treat for all the good work. It just became an obsession… I was more worried about the number on the scales, than focusing on what’s actually going on in my body. After all, what is the scale really telling us??

Total Weight…that’s it! The scale tells us how many kilograms or pounds your body weighs in total, nothing else. Let’s look at other things to consider:

Muscle weighs more than fat: not technically true, 1kg of fat weighs the same as 1kg of muscle, but the difference is the size. 1kg of fat takes up far more space, than 1kg of muscle, so your body can be heavier, filled with more muscle and you can look slimmer, than someone who weighs the same but has a higher percentage of fat.

Water weight: In the first week or two of a new exercises regime or healthy eating plan, you may find you loose quite a bit of weight and then suddenly it stops… You start to think that all your hard work is for nothing, become frustrated and maybe even give up. But what’s really happening is that in the first week or two your body looses a whole lot of water weight. This is because the body has started to use its stores of things like glycogen, which actually stores water. Hence, why scales can be confusing, your not actually loosing fat, your loosing water weight.

Fluctuates: We are constantly moving, eating, drinking, urinating and yes… pooing… As such our body weight is constantly changing. On average people fluctuate 1-3kg a day depending on what you have done that day. So if you would like to know your actual weight, weigh yourself over a few days, always at the same time of day, generally first thing in the morning. This should give you a better indication of your weight. Just remember, small fluctuations are completely healthy and normal and does not mean your exercise or health routine is not working.

Weight is not always related to health: There is a common tool called a BMI calculator (Body Mass Indicator), which basically looks at your height and weight and works out if you are within a ‘healthy’ weight range. This is very general indicator of ‘health’ and does not take into account things like, how much muscle you have. For example, a short female with a large amount of muscle, may be considered overweight, because she is heavy for her height. The calculator does not realise that her weight, is directly linked to her muscle mass, not her body fat percentage.

Finally… You are not your weight! At the end of the day, your self-worth and value as a human being should never be linked to your weight. It is simply a number, nothing more. It doesn’t determine your health, or take into account the person you are. Don’t be controlled by a simple number.

Let’s look at some better indicators for health and weight loss…

-Clothes fitting better: You might find you jeans are getting looser or (for the ladies) your bra is a bit. These are indicators your program is working.

-Use a tape measure: measure your hips, stomach, thighs and arms and use those measurements to determine if you are loosing fat. But only measure every few weeks.

-Feeling better: This is a big one… How do you fell? If your not feeling good, what’s the point? This doesn’t mean its easy, it just means the end results should bring your happiness and a sense of accomplishment.

-Increased strength and stamina: Can you lift more than you did last month? Have you noticed your not as tired going up the stairs? Then its probably working…

So ditch those scales!!



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