Why you should NOT use the scale to measure your progress
Updated: May 30
I am sure most of us has this little device in our homes - the dreaded bathroom scale. This little device sure has the potential to leave us with quite the blues!
Most of us has probably created the habit of measuring ourselves on it at least once or twice!!
Is this however the best way of measuring our progress and what does the number on the scale really tell you?
Not only does this number on the scale measure, according to oneself, your body but it also becomes a way you measure happiness. Ever realized how that little number can influence your day?
Ever got on the scale and the number was down from the previous day? How did that make you feel? I’m sure it made you feel happy. I’m sure it gave you a sense of feeling worthy?
How about when that number was up. How did that make you feel?
If you ask me, my whole day would be crap. Feelings of disappointment, unworthy, failure...name it, comes to mind! How only a number on a device can influence our way of thinking about ourselves so much and drive us to unhealthy habits like excessive training - spending hours and hours in the gym. Unhealthy eating habits or just plainly not eating!!
There are a number of reasons why your weight fluctuates so much from morning to night!!
Let’s have a deeper look to why our weight fluctuates so much from day to day, or from morning to night AND why the scale is not the best tool to measure progress!
Your scale can not differentiate between muscle and fat! It only gives you a number of your total body composition!
The scale does not take in mind the amount of water your body is retaining!! And it does not keep track of what you have been eating during the day!!
Now we all know that when you start training and even adding resistance training to your workouts. Your muscle fibers tear. Your body’s natural response is to send fluid to those torn muscles to repair them. Thus your body holds a lot more fluid than usual!! The more your body gets use to the type of training you are doing. The less water retention you’ll have!!
Ever heard the saying “ muscle weighs more than fat”
When making a lifestyle change and adding resistance training to your daily routine will help you build lean muscle and loose fat!! Therefore climbing on the scale when starting a training program you’ll weigh a lot more. This is usually when we get demotivated and give up all together!!
Remember this - muscle weighs more than fat AND more muscle burns more calories EVEN when you are not training. According to divinephysiquecouching.com - One kilo of fat is roughly four times larger than one kilo of muscle. Do not get discouraged when you step onto the scale and weigh more...no, actually DO NOT get on the scale AT ALL!!!
Your body is going through changes and the scale does not take those changes into account!!
What you eat can also have a tremendous effect on the number on the scale. If you drink a lot of fluid during the day and perhaps have not been too active. You can be certain your body will hold onto that fluid. Eating a lot of salt can also have an effect on the amount of water your body retains. Some food take longer than others to digest therefore your stomach may still be full from eating something which also has an influence on the number on the scale.
Ladies, you can even weigh more when you are on your period. Hormonal changes has a major effect on your body.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can measure your progress:
Progress does not always have to include how much you weigh. Instead of making that your main focus. Try setting small goals for yourself for example instead of training 3 times a week, aim for 4! Isn’t that progress?? I definitely think so!!
Make small realistic improvements on your own habits. Remember it is a journey and not a race! Life is challenging and hard. Don’t make it harder for yourself. Take small steps and be patient.
Change takes time and failing many times!!!
Your progress can be measured on how you decide to see yourself. You can either look in the mirror and find fault at everything you look at. And believe me, if you look long enough you are sure of creating faults that aren’t even there!
Progress is a mental game!! Look at yourself I’m the mirror and compliment yourself. Learn to love the body you’re in. Your body listens to you. If you treat it well and with love. It will respond in that way!!
So let’s say your aim was to loose some weight!
The best tools to use to measure your weight loss would be:
PHOTOS - progress photos. Taking a photo every month will give you a good indication of how your body is changing!
MEASURING - Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., personal trainer, doctor of nutrition, and owner of eatrightfitness recommends using a fabric tape measure to record circumference measurements around different parts of your body, namely your shoulders, chest, waist, hips, legs, and arms. Repeat the measurements every four to six weeks to track your progress and see how your body is changing.
PROGRESSION CHALLENGES- Challenge yourself at the end of every week to see how much of a certain exercise you can do in a certain amount of time. For instance how many sit-ups in 60 secs. See how you progress in a month
WORKOUTS - Adding an extra workout as you progress, instead of 3 workouts, try doing 4 workouts a week. Changing up your workouts. Not doing the same thing over and over. Try walking or running. Try attending a class. Or adding more weights to your program. You’ve been using your 2kg dumbbells for 2 months. Try progressing to 3kg dumbbells.
PATIENCE- Whatever your fitness journey whether it is to loose weight or get fitter. It requires patience and A LOT of patience. Change does not happen over night!
DISCIPLINE - Sticking to creating healthy habits day after day, decision after decision
Although these are great tools you can use to measure your progress whether you are on a weight loss journey. Remember that this is your journey and you are doing it for yourself. Having a healthy well-balanced lifestyle which is sustainable whether you are at home or on holiday is a much better goal to work towards.
Getting thin = getting thin.. it doesn’t give you happiness nor does it bring you any worth!!
Those are given to you freely if you choose it!! Don’t let weight or the number on the scale determine your life or your happiness!