March 9, 2016
Why I Don’t Step on Scales
I’ve told you before that I don’t weigh myself because the number on the scale doesn’t hold that much value to me. Plus, there are other more reliable ways to measure my progress!
For some people, stepping on the scale can be a healthy way to stay motivated and on track in the weight loss journey. But for others it can become a problem.
An obsession. Think about it, are you someone who steps on the scale and the number dictates your mood for the day? (In fact, I admit that I’ve been that person for years.) THAT IS NOT GOOD. Why?
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Well, for one, a number should not determine how you feel about yourself! And secondly, did you know that your weight naturally fluctuates due to many reasons that have NOTHING to do with ACTUALLY gaining unhealthy weight? For example…
- How long ago you last ate – Did you finish eating yesterday around 7pm or did you have a late dinner at 10pm? This can cause a change in your weight the next morning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you GAINED unhealthy weight overall.
- The time you weigh yourself – most of us are much lighter in the morning versus at night after we’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner! So if you want an accurate reading, weigh yourself at the same time each day. It’s just food weight!
- Water retention – Maybe you consumed a little more sodium than normal and that’s causing your body to hold water weight (which will go away over time).
- Dehydration – When you don’t drink water, you are omitting extra potential weight from your body. But purposefully taking out water from your diet just to make the scale move down is a bad idea. You will begin to feel thirsty, weak, and unfocused quickly before it becomes a larger medical problem.
- Illness – When you’re sick, you tend to eat less because it’s hard to hold down food, therefore making you weigh less.
Is it really necessary to weigh yourself so much? Really what we should be concerned with is the accumulation of body FAT. Not just body weight. ‘Cuz…More realistic ways to measure your progress after starting a workout program: 1. How are your energy levels? Assess yourself. Tune into your body. Do you have more energy? Not only with your workouts, but also in daily life? Do you notice daily chores becoming easier? Walking up those stairs becomes a breeze. Being physically active actually INCREASES your energy levels and leaves you feeling motivated in all aspects of life. There is no way the scale can measure that! 2. How do you feel emotionally? Are you happier? More confident? Higher self-esteem? You’ve been working hard for your goals, and because of that you will notice an increase in happiness and becoming more comfortable in your own skin. There’s no greater satisfaction than FEELING amazing.3. How are your clothes fitting? Are your clothes getting a little bit looser? Or maybe your jeans are fitting a little bit better from those squat gains? Do you feel more confident in your favorite dress? Even if the number on the scale doesn’t change (or even goes up) your body is still changing in a good way! Remember that the scale doesn’t know the difference between fat and muscle. You may be leaning out AND building muscle at the same time, and the scale can’t recognize that. Take a look at the pic below. I’m holding 5 lbs of muscle and 5 lbs of fat. Muscle does not weigh more than fat. 5 lbs is 5 lbs. Muscle just takes up a lot less space for the same weight!4. Progress Pics! Progress pics are one of my favorite ways to assess physical changes. Before you start a new workout routine or change in diet, take a pic of yourself. A full-body picture – you don’t have to show anyone. It may be uncomfortable at that time, but just think about how amazing it will feel to look back at the old picture and compare it to where you’re at today. There’s nothing more motivating than your own before and after picture!
5. Body Fat Percentages! If you’re the type that likes numbers, then paying attention to your body fat percentage is a much more reliable way to measure progress towards a lean body. Here are some accurate ways to measure your body fat:
- Bod Pod – Uses air displacement to measure your body mass, volume, and density. About $75 a session.
- DEXA Scan – Takes a full X-ray of your body composition and gives you a bunch of cool numbers. I did this once and my body fat % turned out to be about higher than what I thought it was. About $50-$150 a session.
What does body fat say about you? Well here’s a chart from The American Council of Exercise (ACE) that explains this to us:Not sure what that looks like? This may help:I consistently stay around the “Fitness” range, but have gotten down to the mid “Athlete” level before. These pictures are fairly accurate in my experience. Do you think you could pick your body fat percentage by looking at these pics? Of course, body fat can look so different on everyone just based on how it is distributed on you! Personally, I don’t really like calipers or those scales with the body fat calculators on them because they really can be so inaccurate. But also keep in mind that the 2 methods I listed above can also fluctuate between one another. So if you’re trying to rely on it, then just use one type of way throughout your progression. Also…be cautious and don’t let body fat percentage rule your life either. Sure, it’s a more reliable number for leanness, but leanness isn’t everything!! A number should never ever control your mood. If you have enough self confidence to understand that, then good, you can handle scales, Bod Pods, and measuring tape. But if you know those things even have a chance at controlling you, don’t let them. Dismiss those tools from your life and focus on what matters…how you FEEL! Keep training hard, eating clean, and being happy! That’s the biggest reward of all.