Do you Love or Despise Your Scale?
Is there a Right or a Wrong answer as to how you should be viewing this "Tool" in your weight loss Journey?
I do think so! We all have to take a stand for something and I'm an advocate for the Scale to help you measure not your success but your progression.
I think what's important is to change the way you view the scale. If we use it as a measuring tool then really there should be no emotion attached. The scale should be no different than using the measuring tape or photos to measure progress. Truth lies in what we see, no matter how painful the measurement. Further more it's not about disliking anything it's merely understanding it.
I can't help but see time and time again scale haters! These are people that are in the journey and trying desperately to lose yet they don't see the scale budge and they take a drastic stance that the number really means nothing to them. They take the batteries out and they hide their scale. They may even hide it or throw it out all together!
I suppose if you work your butt off in the gym and you are eating clean and trying to calorie restricting then you might feel defeated by the number. But I don't want you to be defeated by anything. I want you to learn a better way of viewing the scale so that you keep your weight loss progression moving along! That number most especially for anyone that is "Overweight" using the scale is a great Tool to get you to a healthy BMI.
If you choose to not use a scale once you are at a Healthy BMI then you can transition or keep using comparison photos and measurements to mark your progression. It becomes increasingly difficult to use the scale to document progression the more fit and lean you become. Most especially for you athletes out there that are building quantum amounts of lean muscle mass. Lean Muscle is very dense!
So Here are some Tips for my Scale Haters:
- Don't weight in daily. If you can't emotionally handle the number on the scale it's best to make sure you weigh in 2x weekly. Once weekly is ok but as a Runner/Athlete I'm going to tell you right now water fluctuations due to muscle soreness still may haunt you on the only day you weigh in. Weighing in 2x weekly can guide you better. I would recommend Monday and Thursday/Friday!
- Remind yourself that the number on the scale reflects not just fat loss but potential water loss or even water gain. It may even reflect muscle gain and even muscle loss. Scales can NOT tell us this! I don't care how fancy your composition scale is, it's a gimmick and not scientifically possible for a scale to give you body composition - at best they are statistical guesses based upon basic calculatory facts. The scale may also reflect gut retention. Are you bloated, is your digestive tract moving along where you produce daily bowel movements? Just imagine how much a bowel movement weighs and if you are not going number two for several days in a row that is waste NOT FAT! * I want you to think how amazing it is that you watch people that start a new diet/exercise program and in the first week they lose 10-15lbs! I'm telling you friends most of this is excess stored water (copious amounts of stored sodium stuck in body tissue causing major water retention - all from poor eating with processed foods) they eat healthy so their digestive tracts begins moving again (exercise also promotes healthy digestion) and BAM they lose an insane amount of weight in the first week!
- When you are on the scale you need to alter the negative thinking. That number does not define you. That number represents merely the path you are on. Is that path heading you in the right direction or wrong direction? That path is your food & fitness choices. Instead I want you to just simply question and look back at your week and the choices you have made and start to think about if you ate enough, or maybe too much? Did you work-out and not work out to your normal limits because perhaps you were emotional or stressed? Perhaps it's hormones and you got your period or maybe you are just plain old stressed out.
- Which brings me to this point. Lets not forget what affects our weight loss as well. Our metabolism! What affects our metabolism? Sugar, hormones, age, sometimes limiting our food too much slows it down. Perhaps you have a metabolic disorder like me with PCOS and you have insulin resistance or diabetes. You must consider these factors and make appropriate changes to help boost your metabolism.
- Make the scale your friend. Let it be just another tool in your journey to guide you. Don't hate what you see, understand it. Use it to move you in the right direction. The scale is a method for your body to speak to you in sorts about your progression.
- I made a point in the first paragraph of this blog post to share that the scale does not measure it SUCCESS it Measure PROGRESSION. You are always going to be successful no matter a number or a measurement if you are making healthy food choices. If you are eating clean and wholesome foods choices you are making changes to your body that you don't see. You are controlling your cholesterol and blood sugar. You are lowering your blood pressure and are being heart healthy because you are exercising 30min daily several days a week. This is the truest measure of Success- what we can't see on our insides!
- Learn to weigh in at the same time. The easiest for most people is after your first pee in the morning, naked. Make this your true weight. Don't be hopping on the scale in the mid afternoon and then freak out cause you gained 5lbs since the Morning- this is not practical instead mentally dangerous if you are not wise enough to understand the number on the scale. Our body's can gain upwards of 5-7lbs in one day due to all the reasons I mentioned above!
- If you are maintaining this scale is not as important daily but it is important to weigh in occasionally (what is occasionally- well that is up to you- but I strongly suggest that it be at least once a week or every other week) Maintaining our lifestyle can be easy if you have created all the best habits. You eat really healthy and you exercise just as you did when you lost weight. But don't be fooled. Our body masters itself and our metabolism can and does change. Hidden 200-400 calories over the space of weeks or months can add up to hidden lbs and you may find yourself up several lbs and stuck at loss on how to toss it cause you eat so good and you exercise so much already. Don't get caught there. Use the scale - if not at least please use your measuring tape or composite pictures or maybe even pay close attention to how your clothes are fitting!
- If you see that number not budging after at least two solid weeks of great clean eating and fitness you need to do something different. I made a special blog post about breaking weight loss plateaus http://www.caloriecountingrunnergirl.com/2012/03/how-to-break-your-weight-loss-plateau.html
- Perpetually if you refuse to use the scale for progression you can't be surprised if you don't get to your goal weight as soon as you would hope for. In order to get where you are going you can't always do the same thing. You must be willing to challenge yourself to mixing things up with your food & fitness because our body's are SMART machines and they learn to function very quickly with whatever we do!
- Don't just rely on the scale to measure your progression. I believe the scale should be used along with photos and tape measurements to help you gain a full understanding of how your body is responding to your efforts.
I'm not telling you to Love Your Scale. I'm asking you to Understand Your Scale. I don't want you to have any Emotion connected to the scale. The scale is a tool to measure your progression. You are MORE than a Number. You Need to always remember that no matter how much you weigh if you are eating healthy, clean wholesome food choices and you exercise several days a week you are giving yourself a healthier quality of life that can NOT be measured. Love Yourself Always!
** There are going to be so many Varying opinions on this often touchy topic. Each varies on personal emotions and cognitive attachments to such tools. If you can't handle any sort of tool to measure your progress you choose to monitor only the happiness in your heart & soul then by all means LOVE YOUR LIFE the way you want, there is NO real Right or Wrong Way to find Your Path. You can still measure your progression by NO number at all. After all we will get to a point where we find true success in how we feel. How we view ourselves in the mirror. We measure our success based upon on well we sleep, how comfortable we feel in our own skin. You may measure your progression purely by athletic and physical ability. After- all after this Number Journey we have to Live a life of Healthy food choices and cardiovascular activity **