You’ve been working out diligently. Passing up all the yummies at pool parties and holiday get-togethers, and giving up that glass of wine which you SO look forward to each weekend - for the mere attempt to reach your weight loss goal.
And now, the moment of truth: The SCALE
(Que the music: “DUN DUN DUN”)
You kick off every shred of clothing, socks included (to ensure you’re gathering only TRUE weight and not a single ounce of anything else, of course) and…
Before you do that, ask yourself one question.
Because how you answer this question will determine whether or not you’re truly succeeding in your goals.
Does the number on the scale REALLY determine if you’re succeeding in your goals?
We want to share our thoughts because it’s not a cut and dry “yes” OR “no” answer.
In our opinion, the scale as a great form of accountability in determining where you are before you begin your weight loss journey. This little gadget also serves as a reminder each time you walk by it. Something that could possibly help you from derailing your goals if you see it.
If your goal is to lose body fat and you’re succeeding in doing so, the scale will begin to reflect that by displaying a lower number when you step onto it. (The time it’ll take and amount it’ll show is a topic for a later article).
So, what if you aren’t having luck seeing a lower number each time you step on the scale? (We’ve all been there at one point or another.)
You’ve likely been told, “The scale isn’t changing because you’re gaining muscle.”
While there is something called “newbie gains” for those who begin lifting/exercising for the first time, gaining muscle while losing weight will be short-lived.
It’s very difficult to gain muscle and lose weight simultaneously. Building muscle requires a surplus of food, while losing weight requires a deficit. So, if you’ve been in a regular exerciser with a weight loss goal, but are struggling to move the needle on that scale, you may not be making a significant change in your body fat.
This is why the scale can be an important tool - this objective measuring device can help you keep track of things as you move through your fitness journey.
Let us clarify:
This scale is not something that you should be a slave to. This gadget on the floor should not create stress, anxiety or create negative thoughts when looking at it or thinking about it. Checking your weight each week is helpful, especially if you have specific fitness goals, but it shouldn’t rule your world.
By the way, notice we said checking your weight weekly… not daily… and certainly not hourly.
Massive changes don't happen in a day, or even morning to night.
If you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after an extended time of fasting (last time you ate before bed)… you’ll likely weight LESS than if you weighed yourself in the evening after consuming liquid and meals throughout the day. Point being, this is a time when the scale will be higher but does NOT mean you gained body fat in a 12-hour span. On the flip side, you don't see much of (if any) of a change from one day to the next… so don't obsess over weighing yourself every single day. Once or twice a week (max) is plenty.
You might be thinking “So, now what? Do I or don’t I use a scale?”
If changing your body composition or merely looking different is your goal, we would say “Find a tool better at tracking that kind of progress (body fat tests, tape measures, etc). However, if weight loss is your goal, then the tool will be helpful. For those individuals, here are some recommendations:
Weigh yourself twice each week, and average it out. Weighing yourself twice a week and averaging the numbers gives you a more accurate idea of your true weight.
Weigh yourself at the same times, on the same days.
Be cautious of inflated numbers. Yesterday’s piece of cake, drink of wine, or slice of pizza won’t ruin your fitness journey, but will temporarily increase your body weight. So, don’t jump on the scale the morning after eating foods that you KNOW in the back of your mind will have you holding water weight (alcohol, sugar and salt will do just that). Rest assured, your weight will return to normal within a few days of getting back on track with your nutrition plan.
Remember: The scale is merely a tool. NOT an authority figure. Your body weight shouldn’t hang over you like a dark cloud. Use those numbers to encourage your efforts without letting them rule your world.
Do you wish you had someone to REALLY support you FULLY to reach your goals through:
EXERCISE (specific to your unique life!),
NUTRITION (specific for your unique body and goals!)
Accountability and mindset coaching
An approach that takes your long term health and lifestyle into account
Peer support from other like-minded women?
Through the unique sisterhood of our Sisters in Shape online client/coach community, women are changing. We know that our affordable, balanced and fully CUSTOMIZED approach to helping you crush your goals is what you've been looking for.