Muscle Weighs More Than Fat!
First things first, we don’t believe you should ditch the scales altogether, however we do think it’s wise to avoid the daily or hourly weigh in that seems to be all too common. But why we hear you ask?? They tell us exactly how our physique is changing and provide everything we need to know in our weight loss pursuit! Wrong…...
1) Firstly, using the scales as your only method of tracking progress will not give us the full picture. They tell us our overall weight but don’t tell us how much of that weight is muscle and how much is the body fat we want to shed. If you’re new to weight training (which is a great way to lose unwanted body fat) then it is possible to build a little bit of muscle whilst also still dropping body fat, yet when you get on the scales the weight has increased!!! Now the scales alone won’t tell us that we’ve in fact dropped body fat and built a bit of muscle, so we need some help. A measuring tape, skin fold callipers and photos are other tools we can use alongside the scales to give us a clearer image of what is happening by measuring our body fat levels and giving a visual indication of the changes that are happening.
2) Rolling out of bed and jumping on the scales every morning can be a dangerous tactic and often just leads to disappointment so it’s time to ditch this habit or ditch the scales. From one day to the next any healthy, sustainable or dramatic change is unlikely to occur so checking your weight daily just leads to dissatisfaction at the fact that nothing has moved. This negative start to the day can strike a psychological blow in your quest for genuine fat loss and sets you off each day on the back foot. Instead schedule in weekly or fortnightly times (at the same time of the day) to step on the scales which gives you time to see some greater progress and alleviates the daily disappointment of scales that don’t budge!
3) Related to reason 2, is the fact that the scales don’t consider the varying time of day that you keep weighing yourself at. In the morning you have not eaten for 8 hours so will be lighter in comparison to weighing yourself in the evening time after you’ve eaten and drunk throughout the day. So when scheduling your fortnightly weigh in, the simple solution is to do so at the same time every time, ideally first thing in the morning.
4) You’ve decided to treat yourself for all the body fat you’ve lost & the hard work you’ve been putting in. You step on the scales the following day though and see that you’ve put all the weight back on!! After one treat?? That can’t be right? Well fear not as despite what the scales are telling you, you haven’t regained all the body fat you lost but instead, after your burger & chips yesterday you are retaining a lot of extra water in your body. This is due to the high levels of sodium taken in from the salty food which the body is trying to dilute with the extra water whilst the kidneys get rid of this excess sodium. Don’t believe what the scales tell you though, give it time and they will miraculously return to normal, just don’t self-destruct and hit the Ben & Jerrys before they do!!
5) Finally and most importantly for you ladies, the scales don’t know that mother nature is playing havoc with your weight. Throughout your menstrual cycle your weight fluctuates thanks to bloating, constipation and again that culprit, water retention. Because of this it’s important to be aware that your weight may fluctuate regardless of your eating or exercise regime, so once again be consistent each month with the times you use the scales to get a more accurate measure of weight change.
The takeaway point is to understand that the scales offer a limited view of what is happening with your body so stop relying on them as your only guide but instead, take some photos too, take some measurements and keep track of how your clothes fit & feel, AS WELL as using the scales to measure your progress. Think about your goals, most people want to look better and the scales can’t tell you how you look.