It’s very easy to get caught up in checking your bathroom scales on a daily basis, to see how your weight loss is progressing.
And, while the scales do provide instant feedback, this feedback rarely tells you the whole story.
Here are 5 reasons why you can’t trust the accuracy of the scale…
1. Weight Fluctuations
During the course of the day, your weight can vary by several pounds, depending on your nutritional status, and the daily fluctuations associated with your body’s circadian rhythms.
Obviously, you will be at your lightest first thing in the morning, when you haven’t eaten since the previous evening. But, these normal weight fluctuations make it difficult to compare results from one day to the next.
2. Body Composition
Your actual weight doesn’t tell you anything about the amount of body fat you may have lost.
Remember, muscle weighs considerably more than fat, so even if you are not losing weight, you may be losing fat and gaining muscle, which is extremely beneficial for both your overall health and your appearance.
Even though there are high-tec scales which give you a body fat percentage reading, these readings are estimates at best, and can vary considerably depending on your hydration status and other factors.
The most reliable method of measuring body fat involves underwater weighing, followed by a mathematical calculation to estimate your body fat percentage. Most of us don’t have the time or facilities to monitor that regularly.
How Should You Monitor Weight Loss?
My personal preference for measuring weight loss progress, is to use a simple measuring tape.
You should make a record in your journal or notebook at the beginning of your weight loss journey, and then at decided intervals along the way. You may want to record measurements, such as:
- Upper arm
3. Hydration Status
One litre of water weighs 1kg. So, if you are well-hydrated you will weigh more.
If you are dehydrated, you may be a little bit lighter, but this is certainly not healthy for your body.
Since you can’t know for sure what percentage of water you have in your system from one moment to the next, you can’t be sure how much of the number on the scale is simply due to water weight.
Women in particular may notice these water fluctuations at certain times of the month.
This is completely normal, and nothing to get stressed over; it will pass in a few days.
If you are the kind of person who gets discouraged when you see a number on the scale which you don’t like, I suggest you avoid the scales for a while.
Health and fitness are long-term goals, requiring a stable, consistent level of commitment from day to day.
So, if you find the number on the scale is discouraging and makes you feel like giving up, it’s better to forget about what you weigh for a while, and instead focus on eating well, exercising regularly, and being healthy.
These are habits that will last you a lifetime… not just for the duration of your “diet.”
5. Weight Loss is Only One Factor
It’s easy to get focussed on a particular number on the scale, but in truth, your health is about much more than just your weight.
If you are eating well, exercising regularly, feeling good about yourself, and your health is improving overall, you are well on your way to better health and fitness, no matter what the scale says.
Of course, achieving a healthy weight is part of your overall health and fitness plan, but it’s only one aspect.
The ultimate key is to be as healthy as you can be, no matter how much you weigh.
Although the scale can be one indicator of progress long-term, you shouldn’t worry too much about day to day variations in your weight, or let the number on the scale detract from your ultimate goal of being a fitter, healthier you.
Have you found yourself bound by the number on the scales in the past?