If you want to lose weight, don’t let the number on the scale weigh you down! Checking your weight is important for tracking progress towards specific fitness goals, but the scale doesn’t need to rule your world. At the end of the day, the scale matters less than you think!
Stepping Away from the Scales Can Be Good for You
Weight loss is a personal & very emotional journey. Whether you’re losing weight for health or fitness, it’s important to remember that wellness incorporates emotional & mental health as well!
The truth is, you still may not see your efforts reflected in numbers even after stepping it up in the gym & sticking to healthy habits. After all that hard work, seeing a number you don’t want can have quite the impact.
You see, the moment we step on a scale we begin to decide things about ourselves—whether we’re “too big” or “too small”, whether we’ve succeeded or failed, or even how we feel about ourselves as people. Whether we like it or not, the number on the scale is often tied to our body image, something that many of us struggle with.
So, is it smart to weigh yourself? Of course, as long as you approach the scale with a healthy mindset & understand that those numbers don’t tell the whole story. If you want to start changing how you feel about what the scale says, start thinking in a more positive mindset.
- Stop using those numbers to judge yourself. That number does not define you in any way.
- Use it as a learning tool. Keep an eye on it to help you determine how certain habits are affecting your progress in your healthy, weight-loss journey.
- Be kind in your thoughts. Excessive self-criticism won’t help you reach your goals, so use that mental energy to give yourself positive affirmations to move you forward.
- Change your view of the scale. You don’t need to love or hate the scale. It’s a tool to gauge a small percentage of your progress, not a measure of success or who you are as a person.
What the Scale Doesn’t Show
Sometimes, the numbers on the scale just won’t change, regardless of healthy eating and stepping up your workouts in the gym. There are many reasons for this:
- It doesn’t indicate water retention or inflammation.
Water retention & inflammation both cause weight fluctuation. Not just when you’ve overdone it on sodium, but every single day! The body often holds on to fluid during and after intense exercise to prevent dehydration and to operate efficiently, after high sodium intake, dehydration, and even stress! Even if that number jumped up, remember that it could be due to a number of reasons – all of them being your body working to keep you healthy.
- The human body wants to remain the same.
Long story short, the human body likes homeostasis. It simply doesn’t want to continually make dramatic changes! Those changes mean a lot of work for your internal systems which is “expensive” in terms of energy. According to Toronto-based registered dietitian Abby Langer, that plateau may simply be your body adapting to a new set point. Your metabolism needs time to adjust.
- It doesn’t account for body composition.
The muscle tissue is much denser than fat tissue, therefore heavier per measure of volume. When you start building more muscle with your workouts and decreasing body fat through your TLS® meal plans, there’s a chance that your weight will increase – but, you’ll look stronger, healthier, and you’ll notice a difference in how your clothes fit!
- You won’t see non-scale victories.
Most importantly, the scale totally leaves out the benefits of a healthy lifestyle & weight loss that can’t be measured in numbers! Yes, weight loss is great – but, how about the energy you have to play with your kids? What about the confidence you feel when you’re out with your friends? What about the example you’re setting for your family & loved ones?
Other Ways to Measure Progress
Instead of using your overall weight to measure success, try incorporating one of these measurements to give you a more well-rounded picture of your health & progress:
This measure looks at the percentage of lean body mass compared to body fat. To calculate your BMI, use this formula.
- See how your clothes fit
If you’re losing body fat and building muscle, this is a good way to see that your efforts are paying off! Keep in mind that the differences you’re seeing might vary depending on the type of exercises you’re doing. Squats, for example, might lead to more toned legs so your jeans won’t fit like they used to & core work might slim your waistline a bit. Whether you’re seeing gains or losses, don’t let yourself get demotivated! Your body shape will change as you progress.
- Use a measuring tape to track your progress.
Measure your waist, hips, legs, and arms to see how the centimeters and inches are adding up. Again, keep in mind that exercise may cause some gains in areas like your legs but that muscle mass is great for your metabolism!
- Take progress photos.
There’s nothing like a photograph to see how your body is really changing. Try to take the photos at the same time of day & with the same clothes for accurate results. This way, you’ll be able to see where you want to improve and where you’re happy with your progress so far.
At the end of the day, it’s crucial to remember that weight doesn’t always show health and that numbers are just numbers. Don’t let the number on the scale become an obsession! The real goal is hitting a healthy weight through balanced, sustainable, and healthy habits.