Losing weight is difficult, it’s like a rollercoaster ride involving hard-work, determination, discipline and ups & downs. As a culture, many of us are prone to stepping on the scale excessively to see if there’s any change in our weight, are you one of them? Realistically you aren’t going to see any changes over the course of a day, however many of us see stepping onto the scale as a part of our religion. We can obsess over it!
People are often so focused on the number that they forget about all the other positive changes happening to their bodies, especially when we don’t see the number we want. You need to realise that the scale is only an estimate of gravity’s work on your body. I’m not saying you have to throw out your scales or totally disregard your weight, it’s okay to weigh yourself once in a while to keep track on your progress. However, many people let this number control their lifestyle and happiness, by stepping on the scale every single day! Don’t let it control you!
There are a number of reasons to step OFF that scale every day:
- Your health is more than just a number. Many people focus strictly on numbers when determining our health status, whether it’s the number on the scale, calories or total cholesterol number. You need to realise there’s more to your health than one number, including how you feel in your own skin, your digestion function, energy levels, sleep quality and even your mood. Often, these numbers can negatively affect our mood if the numbers don’t show what we want to see which then has effects on both our energy and sleeping patterns.
- The scale doesn’t know what you’re going through or the type of lifestyle you live. Your weight can fluctuate throughout daily, weekly or monthly depending on what time of day you’re stepping on it, your water intake, what you’ve been eating, if you’ve been lifting weights, whether you’ve been getting enough sleep, what stage of menstruation cycle women are at and if your hormones are balanced or not. There are a range of factors that can influence our weight, and the scale cannot tell the difference. If you are undertaking a gym programme, involving lifting weights you may see surprisingly shocking results on the scale. Your bodyweight might actually increase, rather than decrease, but why? This is simply due to the fact that you are losing fat, and also replacing that weight with muscle. Your weight may not go down, but your body fat percentage will.
- The scale can initiate emotional eating. Have you ever stepped on the scale and seen a number you dreaded, then feel guilty, shameful and angry at yourself. This situation is very common, and often leads to emotional eating in two ways. Either being over-eating or restrictive eating. We often hear from our clients that despite all their hard work, they may feel guilt, shame and disappointment for putting on weight. These feelings often lead to those of defeat, therefore instead of acknowledging the different factors that can influence weight, you just take a trip to McDonald’s drive-thru or the local ice cream shop. On the other hand, disappointing result may lead to people restricting their eating, avoiding food intake in order to reach their target weight. Unfortunately, when you restrict your energy intake, it slows down your metabolism, leading to an increased risk of weight gain in the future. It’s a lose-lose situation.
- Losing weight doesn’t mean it’s all healthy. Often, in the media the thinnest people are portrayed as the healthiest, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s not just all about what is on the outside, what’s on the inside is very important if not, more important! Someone who may look physically slim and healthy, may suffer with high levels of inflammation, clogged arteries and high blood sugar levels. In addition, many modern day fad diets, focus on fake food, artificial sweeteners, and other additives. Just because you lose weight, doesn’t mean it was a healthy process! Another thing, many of us think any weight loss is a good. However, the truth is people get confused in the difference between weight loss and fat loss. In a weight loss phase, our main aim is to reduce our overall body fat. Losing overall body weight isn’t that difficult, you can shed a few pounds of water weight if you sit in a sauna for a while. Whereas, fat loss is harder to achieve- it takes more time, hard work and determination. Fat, muscle and water are the components that make up your overall body weight, and when you lose weight, you lose some of each. The proportion of each that you lose depends on how much fat you have to begin with. Overweight people have more to lose, therefore will be able to lose weight faster.
- There are better ways to measure your success! Forget about the number on the scale, don’t let it determine your health or happiness! There are a range of ways you can track your progress… Do your clothes fit better? Has your skin got clearer? Are you sleeping better at night? Have your sugar cravings subsided? Do you have increased energy levels? Are you in a better mood? The list is endless, therefore instead on getting down or upset about one silly number, think positive and focus on the other positive changes to your body.
Take home messages
- Don’t let the scale trick you! Our weight fluctuates due to many reasons, including eating certain foods, illness, menstruation cycle therefore don’t let a one or two pounds gain put you down! You are more than a number.
- Aim for fat loss, rather than overall weight. Lift weights, do resistance training alongside a good cardio programme and a well-balanced diet.
- Be Patience. Anything worth having is worth waiting for, work hard and be patience and the results you want will come. Don’t quit up!