To Hell With The Scale!
Hello, my friends! I hope you are well! I am excited for this week’s post because it addresses a consistent and common problem. The problem is this: It is not unusual for a client to inform me with a disappointed look in their eyes that they “stepped on the scale today and found that I did not lose any weight!”
While the scale seems to be a logical way to measure your weight loss and to assess an overall picture of health, in reality, it is nothing of the sort. Indeed, it should NOT be viewed as an “end-all-be-all” method of measurement. In fact, continuous use of the scale is often detrimental to your efforts to change your lifestyle. Today, I want to give you the top reasons why you should essentially throw your scales out the window!
Reason #1: The scale does NOT measure muscle-to-fat ratio!
When you step on a scale, it registers one thing: your weight. That’s it! It does not measure your body fat percentage, it does not measure your muscle mass, and it certainly does not give you ANY indication of your overall health. In the following paragraphs, I will explain how the scale is an inadequate measurement tool.
Reason #2: The scale cannot measure metabolism!
If you’re trying to change your lifestyle (which should be your overall goal), one of your main goals should be to BUILD YOUR METABOLISM! Muscle is vital to building a strong, healthy, and powerful metabolism. Specifically, muscle is much more metabolically active than fat, and, therefore, it MUST be built and maintained if you have any hope of staying lean and shedding unwanted body fat.
Let’s say for a moment that you go on a fad diet in which you are restricting calories (very bad, in case you are wondering) and hitting the cardiovascular exercise hard. Even if you are throwing a couple days of weight training in, you are still putting your body into a “catabolic” or muscle wasting state. Now follow me here. You are wasting muscle away, the same muscle that is responsible for promoting a strong and healthy metabolism! Then when you get on the scale and see that the number has come down, you do a dance of joy and throw your hands in the air, not knowing that you are sabotaging the very mechanism responsible for long-term success! Sure, you have indeed lost weight but where did that weight come from?
Reason #3: The scale leads you to psychological hell!
How many times have you stepped onto the scale with a pre-determined number in mind only to see yourself 1-5 pounds short of it! You feel your blood pressure rise and your mind start to race with such questions such as, “What am I doing wrong? I thought I was doing good?” or “I lost 3 pounds last week and only 1 pound this week–what gives?” These and countless other thoughts do not lend themselves to a positive state of mind.
Ironically, it is these stress-based thoughts that lead you to produce cortisol and other stress hormones that are, in part, responsible for promoting fat storage! Why suffer these psychological and physiological consequences if you don’t have to?
Reason #4: The scale is NOT the best measurement tool of choice
Unless you are getting ready for a wrestling contest or other weight-based competition, there really is no good reason to use the scale as a measurement tool. I will admit that I have a scale in my gym, but I primarily use it for these athletes and occasionally for clients who are curious how much weight they have lost in a specific and pre-determined time frame. I prefer to use body-fat measurement as my measurement tool because with it I can determine fat to lean mass ratio, which gives a far more accurate description of body composition.
Reason #5: The scale leads to a narrow-minded approach to health and fitness
It is funny that we lend the scale so much credence. Let me ask you this. Can your scale measure the following:
-Blood sugar levels
-Resting heart rate
My point is this: The scale CANNOT measure a healthy lifestyle! If your true goal is to create a healthy lifestyle, then you must ditch the scale and start paying attention to eating well, sleeping well, balancing your stress, taking time for yourself, training smart, and living a life that provides energy, vitality and functionality. So do yourself a favor, my friends, and throw your scale out the window and start living a healthy life and remember: Life is good!