THE SCALES OF TRUTH!
If there is one thing that I have learned from training hundreds of people over the last few years, it is this;
The scale is a great tool for measuring clients progress, but it is not the only tool for this.
What the scale tells you shouldn’t be taken at face value, as no movement on the scale does not mean that there have not been changes in progress.
All it means is that your body WEIGHT has not changed.
This does not mean that your body FAT has not changed.
I have the weight and measurements of every Personal Training client and every member of my Rushe Fitness classes from the last few years and there is ALWAYS, one thing stands out from the weigh ins.
The scale weight of the clients didn’t always match the inches lost by them or the visual changes in their pictures, or how their clothing was fitting.
That is not to say that they didn’t lose any weight on the scale, but it didn’t always match up with the amount of inches lost from their waists, hips or thighs, but for most clients, especially the female ones, the scale will always be the ultimate factor to whether their plan was successful or not.
Why is this?
Why is it that we deem the scale as the ultimate indicator of success?
It has been bred into us from years of marketing by the diet industry.
You will hear people say that once they ‘lose that last X amount of weight’, they will be happy!
As if an arbitrary amount of weight is going to improve your happiness.
I have had clients lose 10cm from their waist and drop 1-2 dress sizes over a 6-week period, but because the scale weight ‘only’ dropped 2kg, they deemed this as a failure.
When asked if their clothes fitted better and if they were happy with the changes in their bodies, the answer is always ‘yes’, but this is nearly always followed with a ‘but’ and this ‘but’ is usually about the scale weight.
One can’t really blame them.
Females especially, have been hardwired to think that the scales are the be-all and end-all of weight loss, and anything except rapid drops in scale weight is seen as a complete failure.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You are not defined by what the scale says.
You must, first understand the variations in weight:
There are a few things that go into the variance, that you will see daily on the scale;
This amount depends on how much carbohydrates you are currently eating.
For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores (muscle glycogen), it also stores 3 grams of water in the muscle. If you are low on carbs you will be at the lower end of your carb stores (you will weigh less). If you consume a ton of carbohydrates, you will be at the upper end of your carb stores (you will weigh more). This weight is not fat.
If you consume more sodium (salt), than you are used to, you will probably retain more water (fluid). If you consume much less sodium, than you are used to, you will probably release water (fluid).
Your body adjusts to the new levels accordingly, so don’t think that you can keep this value low just by cutting sodium out from your diet, as it is needed and having very low stores will result in fluid retention.
There is a happy medium here.
Don’t cut salt completely, but if you have a diet that is heavy on processed foods, you shouldn’t be adding salt to your food.
Women will retain water during their cycle. For this reason, it’s probably best for women to compare their own scale weight on a bi-weekly or month-to-month basis.
So, let’s say that you are doing well on a diet plan, you have been sticking to it for a few weeks and then you end up out at the weekend and have a ‘bad night’ and go on a binge.
You get up the next morning, and feeling guilty, you step on the scales.
Your weight is up and you look visibly bloated, in the mirror.
Congratulations, you have just messed up the last few weeks of your diet.
You may give up now and just go back to your old habits and get fat again and eat everything in sight………
Woah, woah, woah….. hold on there Missy.
Let’s look at what we said about carbs and water retention up above.
Firstly; if you were on a low carb diet and eating pretty ‘clean’, we are going to assume that your carb and salt levels are slightly lower than normal.
Your binge was probably, all the foods that you haven’t been eating over the last few weeks, possibly a take away.
What you are more than likely experiencing, along with the guilt, is what happens when people go on a binge.
Typically, they will retain a lot more carbs (glycogen) afterwards and see a massive increase in the scale weight.
This is only water weight, not fat.
Too often, I’ll see people defeated because they “gained all of the weight back.”
When the reality is, it is fluid retention and if they get back on track, this will level out over a few days and the ‘weight’ they have put on will be gone.
The scale is a tool that can be used for measuring weight.
Just remember that there are many ways to measure progress.
Scale weight is only one of these and shouldn’t be exclusively used as the be all and end all, of your progress.
• How you look.
• How you feel.
• How your clothes fit.
• What your measurements say.
• What your pictures tell you.
• What others say.
These are all much better indicators of whether your plan is working or not and you are not defined by a number on a scale.