Are You Addicted To The Scales?
You’ve probably guessed based on the blog title what I want to focus on today. However, I want to make it really clear from the outset I am not anti-scales nor am I pro them. However, I do believe you need to have a very considered and mindful view of them. Otherwise, they literally will weigh you down (pun pun).
Many of you I am sure will relate to the following...
You hop on the scales every morning and get disheartened with a number, and it sets your mood for the day. At this point, many of you will throw in the towel and give up completely, not realising that the scale could be giving an inaccurate representation of what’s going on.
Let’s start with some questions:
- Do you weigh at the same time each day? If not, bear in mind your weight fluctuates throughout the day due to water and food intake.
- Have you poo’d or not poo’d?
- Have you pee’d or not pee’d?
- If you’re a female, is your monthly cycle due?
- Do regular scales distinguish between muscle, water and fat? Of course not! Take your average professional rugby player. He would be declared obese which of course is ludicrous. The fact of the matter is this guy will have lots of solid muscle which as we know weighs more than fat. So of course he’s going to be heavy on the scales. This is a perfect example of how the scale can misrepresent the facts.
Do you see where I am coming from? I’m not trying to be funny, but there are a lot of variables at play so unless you are tightly monitoring these and comparing like with like your measurement could be inaccurate and misinformed.
You also cannot look at the number on scales in isolation to other factors such as lifestyle, overall health, girth measurements, hip to waist ratio, clothes size etc.
So my question is – how else can we measure our progress towards our goals? I don’t think any of us would disagree that it’s important to track and measure your progress. For example, it can motivate and keep you going when you see you are getting results. Here’s my recommended list of how we can measure progress.
I think jeans are a great one because we all wear them. Why don’t you set yourself a challenge to go from a size x to a size x in your jeans? Another good measure is your belt and the number of holes you use. Clearly you want it to be going down!
As I said at the beginning I am not opposed to weighing yourself, just not every day. Once a week is ample. Weighing yourself every day can create a negative attitude, hindering your weight loss efforts. I would suggest hopping on the scales first thing in the morning after you wake up and use the toilet, and then weigh yourself naked. This will give you the most accurate representation of your true weight. Also, stick to the same scales. Remember, the more muscle you have, the heavier you will be but on the up side you will have a higher metabolic rate, and so you will burn more fat.
A picture paints a thousand words and does not lie. Take pre and post photos and weekly throughout your fitness challenge. Take a front, back and side angle. Make sure the lighting is good so you can see how you are progressing. Where’s strong? Where’s weak?
I recommend women wear a bikini or cropped top and small shorts. Men wear your boxers, shorts or a bathing suit. Ask anyone who takes competing seriously, and I assure you they all take photos regularly so we can monitor progress. It helps you see where you hold weight, where you hold water, are there any muscular imbalances that need addressing …
I am a big fan of girth measurements especially if done accurately and by a competent trainer. I measure hips, thighs, waist and arm and sometimes chest.
I don’t want to sound airy-fairy, but you need to connect and wire up your mind, body and soul. Check in and ask yourself simply how do I feel physically? All too often we dis-connect and look for external verification of how we are progressing towards our health and fitness goals when maybe at least part of the answer lies within. Do you feel healthier? fitter? more energised? lighter? tighter? The key thing for me is I want you to feel and connect more.
Body Fat Percentage
Lastly, you can measure your body fat percentage (i.e. the ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass, also known as lean mass) with calliper skin folds, bioelectrical impedance and hydrostatic weighing. The debate is still out there on the accuracy of this one. Nonetheless, it is an option and just like the scales you consider it as part of the overall picture.
Anyway, I hope this has helped and given you a broader perspective well beyond the scales!
Love Alexandra x