You’ve probably guessed based on the blog title what I want to focus on today? However, I want to make it really clear from the outset I am not anti scales nor am I pro them. However, I do believe you need to have a very guarded view of them. Otherwise, they literally will ‘weigh you down’ (pun pun).
The 3 take home messages I want you to really get are:
- It’s not about weight loss but fat loss – huge difference
2. Muscle weighs more than fat. 5lb of fat takes up a lot more space than 5lb of muscle like the photo below illustrates so scales can be very misleading
3. There are numerous ways you can measure your progress beyond scales
Moving on, can you relate to the following?
You hop on the scales every morning and get disheartened with a number, and it sets your mood for the day. At this point, many of you will throw in the towel and give up completely, not realising that the scale could be giving an inaccurate representation of what’s really going on. The whole process can be slow, negative and damaging.
Let’s start with some questions:
- Do you weigh at the same time each day? If not, bear in mind your weight fluctuates throughout the day due to water and food intake.
- Have you poo’d or not poo’d?
- Have you pee’d or not pee’d?
- If you’re a female, is your monthly cycle due?
- Do regular scales distinguish between muscle, water, and fat? Of course not! Take your average professional rugby player. He would be declared obese which of course is ludicrous. The fact of the matter is this guy will have lots of solid muscle which as we know weighs more than fat. So, of course, he’s going to be heavy on the scales. This is a perfect example of how the scale can misrepresent the facts.
Do you see where I am coming from? There are a lot of variables at play so unless you are tightly monitoring these and comparing like with like your measurement could be inaccurate, and send you down a rabbit hole.
You also cannot look at the number on scales in isolation to other key factors such as lifestyle, overall health, girth measurements, hip to waist ratio, clothes size etc.
So my question is …
How else can we measure our progress towards our goals? I don’t think any of us would disagree that it’s important to track progress. It motivates and keeps you going especially when you see you’re getting results right?!
So here’s my recommended list of how we can measure progress …
I think jeans are a great one because we all wear them. Why don’t you set yourself a challenge to go from a size x to a size x in your jeans? Another good measure is your belt and the number of holes you use. Clearly, you want it to be going down!
As I said at the beginning I am not opposed to weighing yourself, just not every day. I only weigh my clients every 3 to 4 weeks and instead use many other parameters that I’m listing here.
I would suggest hopping on the scales first thing in the morning after you wake up and use the bathroom, and then weigh yourself naked. This will give you the most accurate representation of your true weight. Also, stick to the same scales.
A picture paints a thousand words and does not lie. Take pre and post photos and weekly throughout your journey. Take a front, back, and side angle. Make sure the lighting is good so you can see how you are progressing. It helps you see where you hold weight, where you hold water, are there any muscular imbalances that need addressing, where’s weak and strong etc
I am a big fan of taking body measurements of my ladies especially around the tummy where we store excess toxins in fat. Areas to consider measuring include hips, thighs, waist, arm and chest.
I don’t want to sound airy fairy but you need to connect and wire up your mind, body, and soul. Check in and ask yourself simply ‘how do I feel physically?’ All too often we dis-connect and look for external verification of how we are progressing towards our health and fitness goals when maybe at least part of the answer lies within. Do you feel healthier? fitter? more energised? lighter? tighter? Stronger? If the answer is yes, this is progress so keep going.
Body Fat Percentage
Lastly, you can measure your body fat percentage i.e. the ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass, also known as lean mass or muscle. Just like the scales, consider it as part of the overall picture, and don’t obsess.
I track my ladies fat % to make sure it’s going down, and that muscle % is going up. The more muscle you have the more metabolic you’ll be and so you’ll burn more calories. I also measure visceral fat on organs which is a real indicator of how fatty and toxic your liver is.
Other ways you can monitor progress is to assess your sleep quality, PMT and menopausal symptoms, energy levels, quality of hair skin and nails, and your bowel health. You could also perform some simple fitness tests.
So you see progress is not just reflected on the scales but in many other ways. If you feel great and the other gauges of success are heading in the right direction – you’re doing brilliantly so keep going.
Next time you’re beating yourself up for not losing lbs on the scales I want you to stop, and give yourself a break. Instead, think of all the other wonderful ways you’ve improved and moved towards your goal.
Love Gaynor x