The Truth About the Scale
Updated: Mar 1
Many of us are concerned with the holy question of “How much do I weigh?” and why shouldn't you be? Isn’t that number important when determining our health and fitness success, especially with a new diet or new fitness program?
NO! The truth is the scale is nothing but a LIAR.
That’s right, I said it. Society tends to put way too much stock in the scale because they don't understand how weight management / weight loss works. People often think to themselves, “If I could just get to ___ pounds, then I will be happy, sexy, fit, etc. We try fad diets (usually jumping one to another rapidly) and they almost always fail because we are looking for that magical number on the scale to tell us that we are now healthy and fit.
Although the scale can be an indication on how your progress is going long-term, overall this data can give us some wildly false information (especially if someone is weighing themselves daily, or weekly.)
Why is that?
For starters, it is paramount to understand that changes to our fitness, health and body composition takes time. There is no way around this. On the front end of a new fitness or life-style change, the first and most important thing to instill are new habits.
Habits get developed and solidified by taking small steps of action consistently over time. For example; if someone hasn't been to a gym in years, developing the habit of going to the gym at least three times a week is a great place to start, or cutting out sweets and sugary drinks and replacing it with water. New habits also take time to build, and without staying consistent with those habits our progress is going to be hindered. Once a habit is built into your lifestyle and it's running on autopilot, that is when you can start expanding and building on top of it.
We live in an instant gratification society, so when we are basing our success levels on a particular number that we know will take time to achieve it can lead to massive discouragement. This discouragement can prompt people to begin doubting and questioning all their new habits and think to themselves, "What is even the point? This is hard and it isn't even working... maybe I should just quit." :(
All of the enthusiasm and excitement for this new lifestyle change goes out the window, leaving you anxious, upset, confused, and sad. Suddenly you find yourself stress eating again or binge watching TV, taking your further away from your goals and relapsing back to where you started.
Another important fact to remember is muscle weighs more than fat.
So, if you are working out and staying consistent in the gym, building up muscle, and burning fat in the process… can you see how the number on a scale might be misleading?
On the right is an amazing graph of how weight loss progress looks longterm over time. There are a plethora of factors to consider that affect how much somebody weighs, including water retention, time of day, food in system, etc.
So with these variables changing hour by hour, day by day, it's not hard to see how we can get erratic measurements.
Consider this, you can take two people who weigh the exact same, one who is fit and toned, and the other is not. Does that mean that they both look and feel the same? You guessed it... the answer is no!
So rather than spending all your mental energy on how much you weight at a particular moment, try to take a step back and take a moment to consider how your body feels inside and ask yourself: Are you feeling strong? Are you noticing improvements in your workouts? Is your endurance getting better? Do you have more energy?
These are the important factors to be mindful of when determining whether or not you are improving and heading toward your goals.
I tell most of my clients if you want to weight yourself once a month just so you can get an idea where you are at... go for it. But heed my warning! I can tell you from personal experience that throwing away my scale and no longer weighing myself was one of the best things I've ever done.
So I encourage you, get rid of that scale! Take that damn scale and throw it off your balcony. It’s time to depend on more accurate ways to measure your success, such as achieving new fitness or strength goals, drinking more water, getting more sleep, getting MORE consistent in the gym and pushing it even harder.
Fitness and healthy eating habits work, plain and simple. If you stay consistent, your results will come. Lifestyle changes just take time, enjoy the journey.
Remember, fitness and health is not a number, it's a lifestyle!