The hardest part about weight loss is stepping onto the scale and seeing those numbers appear before your eyes. Without proper education of what causes fluctuation in weight and what the scale number actually means, it is easy to fall into a negative mindset and think you are gaining fat or are not making any progress. The number one thing you can do to keep a positive mindset about your weight loss journey and stay motivated is to educate yourself. The scale is just a tool that individuals can use to track their progress. Just like using a tape measure or skin fold calipers, when you track your progress you must show consistency.
When you step onto the scale make it a regular habit to do it at the same time during the day every time you track your progress. Check your weight once a week if not once every two weeks. It is said that the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning. If you cannot weigh yourself in the morning, choose a specific time during the day and stick to that. Eat nutritious food consistently, drink water consistently and exercise consistently. Consistency is key I cannot emphasize that enough! The more consistent you are with your lifestyle the greater your results will be which leads to consistent happiness towards your body image.
The scale is deceiving because many people are not educated on what the scale is measuring when you step on it. Is it measuring my entire body? Just fat? Muscle? When you step on to the scale, the scale is taking into account many factors. The scale is measuring your fat and your muscle weight. Don’t forget that muscle weights heavier than fat so you may not being changing weight on the scale but you are making progress. Fat may be coming off your body but you are building muscle as well which can make you appear heavier on the scale. Take into account your stomach content; depending on what you have eaten; food and water can cause you to weigh more. Carbs are especially good at messing with weight since they weigh more per calorie than fat and get stored in muscle. So if you are guilty of eating a cheat meal or a vast amount of carbs there is your reason. Other factors such as sodium (which pulls in and retains water) can increase the scale number—also known as water weight. An increase in stress increases your cortisol levels which can mask fat loss. Stress can make you gain weight! When cortisol increases you hold more water. So to prevent high cortisol levels you need to sleep more, don’t overdo your cardio and be at peace with your daily life by avoiding high levels of stress.
All in all, the scale is just a number of where your body is at that specific time of the day. It doesn’t dictate your worth or your progress. It is a great tool to check where you are at occasionally here and there with progress but the most reliable tools to tracking your progress would be how you feel with your energy levels, how clothes are fitting, tape measurements around your waist, abs, hips, etc. and even getting your body fat percentage checked. Don’t forget that the scale is weighing more than just your progress it takes into account everything that you are doing with your health.
Katrina Villa – CPT