Far too many women are fanatical about the scale. It becomes an obsession, and a very unhealthy one at that. The truth of the matter is that a scale is most certainly not the best way to monitor your progress. In fact, only using the scale as a source of observation usually causes more harm than good.
Don’t believe me? Well it’s true…and I will tell you why.
The Truth behind Numbers
Bodyfat cannot simply be measured by a scale. For example, if you weight yourself at the beginning of the week and then at the end and the number is exactly the same what does that tell you? It tells you nothing really.
For that same example if you followed a perfect diet, did a lot of cardio, and worked out with weights would you be devastated to find your weight the exact same? Of course you would. But, in that same example you could have easily lost 2 pounds of fat, gained a pound of muscle, and might have another pound of water weight from being well hydrated.
Numbers on the scale simply can’t tell the whole story.
Really all the scale does is effect your motivation and happiness, usually in a negative way.
The Diet Curve
Most diets work on a curve. You start with rapid fat loss and then it slows down. This happens to everyone. The results can be skewed if you are also gaining muscle. Now by relying solely on the scale to monitor progress it is easy to get discouraged when those numbers don’t change or change slowly.
This is an important consideration because a lot of people do start training with weights when on a fitness program and increase protein in the diet which leads to muscle gain. Since muscle ways more than fat (because it is denser) you could lose 5 pounds of fat and gain 5 pounds of muscle with the result being you look much better, but you still weigh the same.
Instead of falling into that trap you need to learn the right ways to measure progress.
Progression Check the Right Way
The best method to check your progression during any diet or fitness program is to use a three-pronged method.
To properly measure body fat you can use fat calipers. They are a very simple and inexpensive item that allows an easy way to check bodyfat. Basically you pinch your skin at certain points and measure them. This allows a much simpler way to chart your progress. As long as the numbers are going down, you are losing fat.
Next keep a journal and include body measurements. Measure your waist, your thighs, your arms, and your chest. This helps to determine where you are losing fat from. Of course if you are gaining some muscle at the same time these measurements might not always go down as fast. But, adding muscle to your body helps make it more efficient when burning calories so don’t avoid resistance training.
Finally take pictures. Stand in front of your bathroom mirror, or somewhere else, and take a picture each week. Make sure to be in the same location and wearing the same thing. Then you can visually note the changes to your body and see the improvement in big jumps.
The Bottom Line
A scale is a tool but not one that should be used when you are trying to lose fat and ‘drop weight’. What really matters is how you look and feel, not what the number on the scale is. By focusing on measuring the right way you avoid falling into the trap of weighing yourself constantly and then agonizing over gains and losses. That process ends up being far more detrimental and distracting. Instead focus energy on your goal and you will get there.