Why the Scales Can Lie
Get out of the numbers game!
Did you jump on the scales this morning? Then there’s a chance you, like many, could also be caught up in the numbers game! What if we told you to ditch the scales because they can be incredibly deceiving and not worth the stress? Whenever somebody says that they are getting into shape, it’s always something like: “I need to lose 2 stone” or “If I can just get down to 12 stone”. Are scales good for weight loss? What if there are better ways to measure your success? Keep on reading to find out more!
Why does my weight fluctuate so much?
The human body is incredibly complex. There are things going in, coming out and transforming all the time. As a result, your weight can fluctuate significantly over the course of a 24-hour period - by up to 5 pounds! It really doesn’t take much…
What have you eaten recently? If you have eaten a “heavy” meal, then you’re more than likely to weigh more as your body digests. If you haven’t eaten anything in a day for example, then you might weigh less at that point in time. But, bear in mind, this weight loss is not body fat! This even applies to water consumption. Your body weight can fluctuate 2-4 pounds a day just from water. Drinking water will add weight to you but losing water weight through sweating is just as easy.
Obsessing over weight is unhealthy and counterproductive in general. But obsessing over a number on a scale is even more so, especially when the number can lie. Ask it the same question 10 times in a day and you’re likely to get 10 different answers!
Are scales good for weight loss?
Your weight does not tell the whole story. It’s important to realise that weight and fat are not the same. The only thing a scale can do is measure your body weight and that includes everything: fat, muscle, bone, organs, blood, water and food consumption.
Muscle weighs more than fat, but fat takes up twice as much space since muscle is twice as dense. This means that pound for pound muscle will make you look leaner. Ultimately, muscle is the weight you want to keep, and fat is the weight you want to shed, which is likely to happen if you exercise regularly.
On average, bones make up about 15% of body weight and strength training will increase bone density, meaning they will weigh more.
Don’t let your weight define you!
There’s a big problem with thinking that a number on a scale will make you happy. It won't!
You are not a number; you are not a statistic. The first thing you should ask yourself is: Why is that number important to you? If you dig into the meaning behind it, you may be able to find a more reliable and healthy ways to measure your success.
Take progress pictures
Look at your body composition rather than your weight. If you take a picture every month or so, it will give you a chance to compare your progress, because the scales can be wrong! Make sure you take consistent photos of yourself – in a neutral position (without flexing) and in the same place with the same lighting. Store the photos and watch the changes month on month.
Set goals that aren’t weight orientated
Instead of setting yourself weight loss goals, set yourself goals that are based on strength and endurance. Depending on your physical ability, set yourself achievable goals. This could be anything from completing 15 push ups, 5 pull ups or a half marathon. Once you achieve your goal you can then create new ones as you become stronger. You will certainly lose fat weight along the way!
Ask yourself questions
It’s difficult to quantify important aspects of your health and wellbeing. You can ask yourself questions which focus on the emotional benefits of exercise. Questions like: How do you feel? Are you feeling energetic or are you feeling sluggish? You can also look at external indicators: How are your jeans fitting? Do you now need to buy better fitted clothes?
Measure your body
If you really can’t get away from the numbers, we have a new set of numbers to offer you instead of those dreaded scales. You can measure body circumferences with a tape measure and record the size of your biceps for example if you have specific physique goals. Now when the scales imply that you’re getting “fatter”, you can prove that you have added a half inch of muscle to your biceps!
When you want to make a positive transformation to your body, you need the full picture. The scales may work for some people as the number of your weight can be a starting point. But combine it with other information so you can understand your body much better. It’s time to let go of allowing a single number to determine your success or failure. It’s time to get out of the numbers game!