The Dreaded Scale!

Did you weigh yourself this morning? ……I did.

Did you like the number you saw, or were you expecting som54fe8d4fa21fd-feet-scale-tapemeasure-cpething different? Did you get overly excited if it was low or unreasonably depressed if it was too high? We’ve all
been there, so don’t beat yourself up too much.

Did  you give yourself the self talk…… “Yep that pizza I ate last night, that would be why I’m up 2 lbs today!”   OR “YES!!! I ate so good yesterday (aka under calories) and so now I’m down 2 lbs!” Wrong 🙁

I often get the question should I get on the scale? Well, that depends on how you CHOOSE to respond.

If you are they type of person that gets on the scale day after day and you choose to have the scale motivate you:  or going up, what could I do better…. oh yes, the last 3 nights I have not slept so I am going to make sleep a priority. “” yes, I lost a pound, what I have been doing over the last few weeks is paying off and this just reinforced it.” OR “GRRR this scale is not moving

I want you to understand your scale certainly doesn’t tell the whole story and can send you on an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions. Yes I do realize most roller coasters are amazing – the emotional ones kind of suck though.

Here’s why.

1) Your weight will fluctuate more than the stock market

The human body is one incredibly complex piece of machinery. There are things going in, coming out, transforming, and dissolving all of the time. As a result, your weight can fluctuate wildly over the course of a 24-48 hour period or even longer, yes I said longer. Depending on what you ate today, how much water you drank, if there was sodium in your food, what kind of clothing you were wearing, what time of day you weigh yourself, your weight WILL be different.

Weigh yourself before and after your next workout – there will be a difference.
Weigh yourself this morning and then again tonight after a full day of eating – there will be a difference.
If you’re trying to lose weight the healthy way (1-2 pounds a week is a good goal to shoot for, 3 pounds if you’re on the heavier side), your successful wei
ght loss could be hidden by any number of circumstances that falsify your statistics.

That means you could be down three pounds since last week, but because you ate frozen veggies and frozen fish (oh hey sodium), drank water this morning, and didn’t get to weigh yourself til the afternoon (while wearing jeans), the scale could show a GAIN of one pound. After working so hard, this “weight gain” can instantly demoralize you, sending you to the ki
tchen for some pity rocky-road ice cream and then over to the couch for a Battlestar Galactica marathon.

It’s just a number, and it can be wildly inaccurate over a short period of time. A true measure is 1 week apart. For example a Monday to a Monday.. weigh on the same scale and pick a time that is similar to the last Monday you weighed.

2) Your weight does NOT tell the whole story….. At Altman Fitness we use other tools to measure progress: fitness testing, measurements and body fat percentage.

3) The scale does not define you

If you set out to lose 100 pounds in a year – an incredibly ambitious goal – and you only manage to lose 85, you might consider yourself a failure. After all, you set a goal and failed to achieve it, right?

YOU STILL LOST 85 freaking pounds, something you might have been struggling to do for years. I bet you’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe and get all kinds of “holy crap you’ve lost a lot of weight!” comments.
Not bad for a failure, huh?

Don’t get caught up in the numbers game, and instead be proud of what you have accomplished instead.

I often hear people compare pounds lost to another persons pounds lost. “I’ve lost 8 pounds but my co-worker has lost 15!” What you fail to look at is body type and actual weight. Person A may be 130 pounds and very close to their genetic potential. And Person B might be 256 pounds  and of very different body type. Don’t compare!

You’re not a statistic.

You’re not a number.

Keep track of your success instead and do a reality check. Has it been 3 weeks and the scale as moved 8, 10. or 15 pounds? That’s success! Has it been 6 months and the scale has not moved?  Well if your goal was to lose 10 pounds and you have not moved in 6 months… it’s time to change your plan.

I will admit that the scale can have its uses. If you’re just getting started, a few big changes in the first few weeks can really help you see progress and build momentum. Also, over long periods of time, it’s a good way to tell if you’re headed in the right direction or not. However, a scale can also cause all kinds of mental issues that bring you down quickly, and becomes less and l
ess important as you get closer to your goals.

Here’s how you can stay strong and motivated without stepping on a scale regularly:

Remember that your journey to a healthier life is a marathon, not a sprint. Changes from day to day are practically meaningless and incredibly difficult to quantify, so go with changes over a longer period of time. Weigh yourself once a month or once a week to make sure you’re trending in the right direction. If it’s weekly, make sure you weigh yourself at the same time of the day, wearing the same type of clothing. Remove as many of the variables as possible to make your reading accurate. And even then, don’t put too much stock into it.

Look at your body composition rather than your weight. I try to take a picture of myself every month or so, giving me the chance to compare how I look. Yo
u can also buy a body fat caliper or tape measure to keep track how your body is adjusting. Just make sure you’re taking your measurements in the same places on your body at the same time of day. If you’re taking photos, take a straight-on photo and a profile photo.

Set goals that are not weight-oriented. Say you want to do 15 push ups, run a half marathon, and/or do a pull up. With your mind focused on a strength building or endurance goal, you won’t have to worry so much about a scale. If you can only do 5 push ups now but next month you can do 15, you definitely got stronger, but you probably also lost some fat.

Keep a journal. I know plenty of 160-pound people who are out of shape and 210-pound folks who are incredibly healthy. How do you FEEL this month compared to last month? Maybe you can now run around the track without stopping, you don’t get winded go
ing up and down stairs, and you can give your kids a piggy back ride without being out of commission for days afterward. Keep track of your energy levels, your conditioning, and your overall well-being.


Moral of the story – if the scale is working for you and you’re seeing results, stick with it. If that number on the scale constantly screws with your mind, maybe it’s time to take a break.

At any rate, the coaches at Altman Fitness are here for you. Give us a call and we will get you started the path to success!  Give us a call: 612-454-6409

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