I have yet to meet one person who loves getting on the scale. If you do love getting on the scale– this article is not for you– ha!
When most people come to me, they are often under the impression that the scale is the be all to end all data point to be tracking when it comes to measuring progress in terms of fat loss.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Scale is JUST ONE DATA POINT!
The scale literally tells us one data point– aka your gravitational pull on planet earth. Scale weight can fluctuate anywhere from 1-10+ lb depending on your hydration level, what you ate, your “regularity”, your level of stress, your level of sleep, sodium intake, if it’s that time of the month etc etc.
It’s true, I do have my fat loss clients weight themselves several times a week so that I can keep an eye on how things are trending, but I also compare this data point to SEVERAL other data points.
A true Body Recomp
Case in point– I have a client who I have been working with for 4 weeks. In the initial 2 weeks she dropped a decent amount of weight. However, in the last two weeks her weight has held steady.
What has changed? Despite her being the same weight on the scale– her WAIST size has decreased 2 INCHES!!!!
As a trainer, this tells me that she has lost fat and gained muscle (aka a recomp). Now, if I were ONLY having her weigh herself– I might look at this number and think she has plateaud (which would be OK too because fat loss is not always linear).
HOWEVER…. I can CLEARLY see that by comparing her scale weight to her measurements and pictures– a RECOMP has taken place! Beautiful!!!!!!!
This is why it is SO important to be tracking SEVERAL other data points other than the stupid scale!
What are the data points should you be tracking?
1.) MEASUREMENTS: Measure around the narrowest part of your waist, widest part of your hips, bicep, chest, thigh and calf. I recommend a product like Myotape for this. Do this every week or every other week.
2.) (Yes) Scale weight: Weigh yourself 4-5 times a week and look at TRENDS not individual numbers. Coach yourself to take the EMOTIONAL part out of that number!!!!
3.) Your water intake: aim for ½ oz per lb of bodyweight on less active days and about 1 oz per lb of bodyweight on active days.
4.) Amount of sleep: Aim for 6-8 hours per night. If you are not sleeping well this can increase your body’s level of stress…. which brings me to…
5.) Your level of stress: There is a pesky little stress hormone called cortisol that can make it difficult to lose weight if you are super stressed out! (Rate your stress on a scale of 1-10 daily)
6.) Pictures: My favorite! Take front, side and back pictures in a bathing suit every 2 weeks and compare them.
7.) (OPTIONAL) The “skinny jean” test: Pick a pair of pants that fit you SNUG– try them on every two weeks– how are they feeling? If they are loose– great! If they fit the same or are tight, adjust your diet!!
To sum it up– the scale is a tool. Use it responsibly and NEVER on it’s own. Trust me, we can all get caught up with the number on the scale but you’ve got to realize that it’s just a number, and it’s not really telling us a whole lot. Make sure you get ALL The facts (aka all the data points) before you decide to tweak your plan or not.
I recommend using a spreadsheet to track your data points and see how they correlate with one another.
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