Ditch the Scale
We have all done it. One day, getting out of the shower, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. You think to yourself, “How did this happen”? So the first thing you do is pull out the scale only to be more depressed by the numbers you see. So, full of resolve and ready to change, you embark on your fitness and weight loss journey.
You drink only bottled water, spend hours on exercise machines, and eat only salads in your quest for change. Then a week or two goes by (if that) and you seek out the scale again only to see minimal, if any, results. More often than not you quit. Defeated because the scale says you are not making progress, and the scale never lies.
This scenario plays out in gyms all of the time. I myself was once bound by the numbers on the scale for a very long time. But I want to empower you to change how you perceive the scale. So here are four reasons why you should ditch the scale, or if not, at least stop obsessing over it.
Ditch the Scale
- Water fluctuates in the body: About 60% of our total body mass is composed of water. Everything from sodium to the elevated hormones during your menstrual cycle affects it. With this said, your weight may be effected more one day by water retention that the next. As strange as it sounds, the less you drink the more your body retains water. So drink plenty of water.
- A scale cannot judge body mass: A scale does not just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs, even what you had for dinner last night. When you lose “weight” that does not necessarily mean you lose fat. In fact, the scale has no way of accurately indicating what you have lost or gained.
- A scale cannot differentiate muscle from fat: First let’s understand a few fallacies about muscle and fat. A common misconception is that muscle weighs more than fat, when in fact a pound of muscle and a pound of fat both equal a pound. The confusion is mistaking weight for mass. A pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat, therefore you need more to equal the amount of “space” that a pound of fat does. Another common mistaken belief is that “fat turns into muscle”. Body fat and muscle are two completely different tissues. They have different structures and functions, they react to training in different ways and, simply put, one does not have the capability to turn into the other. There is no biological pathway for muscle to “turn into fat”. So, now that those erroneous beliefs have been put to rest, let’s get back to the scale. If you are eating healthy and working out, you are probably building muscle, and burning fat. So, let’s say in two weeks you have burned 10lbs of fat, but gained 5lbs of muscle. What is that scale going to tell you? It is going to say that you have only lost 5lbs. So don’t feel defeated, keep up with your regimen.
- The scale can never measure how you feel: Finally, the scale is a bad barometer to assess the things that are really important when it comes to health and fitness. The fact that you fit better in your clothes, or you have more energy to play with the kids, or how you actually feel are more important than numbers will ever be. An even better way to gauge your progress is a body fat tester or body fat caliper. Most gyms have one and they are easy to use. There are even scales that gauge body fat, but the easiest and most simple way to track your progress is the thing that made you want to change in the first place. Simply look in the mirror.