January 21, 2018

Why you should ditch the scales in 2018

From an early age, we’ve been trained to obsess with the scales as a measure of health and fitness progress.

I’m sure you relate to some of the following?new year

Being told, “You’ve gained weight…”
The growing trend in fat loss groups whose sole focus is weight loss on the scales.
Magazine and newspaper headlines stating how much a certain celebrity has lost.
Endless diet programs and books promoting weight loss.
TV shows revolving around the biggest weight lost.
Testimonials about a certain product helping someone lose ‘X’ lbs.

Think about it.

Everything is focused on bodyweight – no wonder so many of us worship the scales.

Are they really that important?

Scales and body weight are a monitoring tool, they tell you how much you weigh. They don’t tell you how much bodyfat you have gained or lost. They are not indicators of your success or failure.

For those STILL obsessed purely with the scales consider this:-

Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body’s water content can send scale-watchers into meltdown if they don’t understand what’s happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto it’s water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to notch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention.

Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if you’re prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, if you must weigh yourself it’s wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Eating a big meal before you step on the scales is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It’s the actual weight of everything you’ve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you’ve finished digesting it.


Speak Your Mind