Off The Scale!
The term 'Weight loss' is a very broad term and is often misunderstood by people wanting to 'lose weight'. The proper term is actually 'Fat Loss', which is a much more accurate description of what it is we are trying to achieve. Generally, no matter what our fitness goals are, we want to decrease the amount of fat stored on our bodies, and that is usually not a bad thing. But there is a problem. People are obsessed with the word 'weight' or the term 'weight loss' and as a result, stand in tears on the bathroom scales every other morning, looking at the pointer indicating that nothing has changed in the last 7 days. Folks, for the most part, the bathroom scales DO NOT give you an accurate indication of how you are progressing through your fat loss goals. And here's why;
Are you into weightlifting? Crossfit by any chance? Feel yourself getting stronger? well if this is the case, you have definitely increased your lean mass. (your lean mass is the percentage of your body that isn't made up of fat!) This means that you will have gained muscle and increased your bone density. And what is the result of both of these gains? yes - heavier on the bathroom scales!! However, so many people still get caught up with the emotional attachment of what the scales say, and automatically assume that because the scales still say the same, they are failing with their fatloss goals and are going nowhere fast.
There are other factors that affect the reading om the scales also, like the time of day you weigh yourself, how hydrated you are, and whether or not you have eaten. Our hormone balance, particularly in woman, can affect how much water we retain, and this can vary from day to day, which will change our overall bodyweight. So considering these factors, we are going to move the bathroom scales to the bottom of the list of indicators as to how we are progressing with our fatloss targets and our overall fitness levels. Here are a few indicators that will give you a much better idea of how you are getting on.
Bodyfat Percentage - If measured correctly, this is a very useful tool to indicate how much fat is actually stored on the body and can be monitored over a long period over time. Although it is difficult to gauge an exact percentage, it generally remains consistent with each person, so will provide relevant, progressive data for each person. So if the option is there folks, have you bodyfat tested instead of your bodyweight on the scales!
Energy Levels - Made some positive lifestyle changes recently? Maybe cut out some unhealthy eating habits or started a new strength or running program? But they aren't working working because you've weighed yourself every 7 minutes since you've started? If you notice that your energy levels have increased, then it most definitely is working! Think back to before you started - you hated the sound of your alarm, couldn't function after 3pm without caffeine and slept on the sofa from 8pm onwards after eating your bodyweight in toast. Now you are bouncing out of bed, prepping food and planning your evening activities. Fatloss is definitely happeneing, regardless what the scales say!
Your Wardrobe - Are your clothes starting to feel a bit looser? Maybe your gym shorts are looking decidedly baggy, or better still, the new suit you bought 3 months ago is so ridiculously big and baggy that you couldn't possibly wear it in public? If that is the case, then you really are making the progress you were hoping, even though the scales don't agree.
There are a fair few other 'side effects' of fat loss that also 'outweigh' the importance of the reading on the scales. These include better sleeping patterns, positive mindsets, clearer thinking and feeling fuller and more satisfied after meals! experienced or noticed any of these feelings recently?
So on a scale of one to rubbish, how helpful is it to measure your body weight on a regular basis? You decide.......