Should you trust the number on the scale?
A lot of women get discouraged by measuring their results on the scale. They can get obsessed, and even let it dictate their mood and the way they feel about themselves and their current fitness journey. When I was younger I made this mistake many times, and I let a specific number dictate my “results” … and some days even my mood. This happened again post-pregnancy.
After my second daughter I decided to throw away my scale. I’m not telling you to throw yours but to use it in conjunction with other methods like taking measurements, bathing suit photos and body fat percentage. Don’t get obsessed with weighting yourself. The scale is simply not a good indicator of your results or how your body composition changes with proper diet and exercise.
The reality is that the number on the scale doesn’t differ between muscle or fat weight. Your daily weight can also fluctuate 1-3 pounds. If you weigh yourself at night, and then again in the morning, you will notice a difference. Weight varies due to your water intake, your level of activity, sodium intake and water retention, as well as hormonal fluctuations.
The scale cannot determine your body composition. Someone who weighs 140 lbs. with a 39% body fat, will look very different than someone with the same weight and height with a 19% body fat.
Muscle only has 35% of the mass of fat. If you were to build two pounds of muscle and build two pounds of fat, you’d be actually smaller at the same bodyweight.
That’s why I recommend to look beyond the scale. Instead take pictures, measurements of your body and body fat percentage! And don’t forget to track your progress by setting performance related goals to see how stronger, faster and better you are getting each week.
Ask yourself the following:
1. Are your jeans, clothes looser? Are they fitting better and more comfortably?
2.Has your performance improved? Can you train longer, lift heavier or complete you rexercises with more ease?
3.Are you finding it easier to carry all bags of groceries from the car, and to carry your kids? Do you find yourself less exhausted when you first wake up and energized throughout your day?
These are all more reliable indicators of your fitness success , and more motivating ways to track your progress!
If you are looking for a number, a body fat test is a more accurate barometer of your fitness success. This test is an attempt to separate every pound of your body into your fat mass and lean muscle mass –
bone muscles, hair and water.
Find the best method for you by considering the following options:
- Caliper Testing
Cost: $15 to $400
Found at most fitness clubs
2. Body-Fat Scales for Home Use
Cost: $20 to $300 for a machine that determines body fat from the resistance to an electrical current.
3. Hydrostatic Testing (Underwater)
Cost: $15 to $50 per test
Usually conducted at research institutions and universities.
And don’t forget that you are so much more than a number on the scale, the distance you are able to run, and the way you look!