5 Things To Remember When Weighing Yourself
Far too often I see both my clients and the general public getting caught up with how much they weight on the scales. When training for fat loss or muscle gain the 1 thing that should matter to you is your body composition and not just a silly number on an inaccurate scale. My preferred ways of measuring progress would be through body fat testing and also using pictures. Below I have listed out 5 factors to think about next time you step on the scales.
1. Your weight will fluctuate more than the stock market.
The human body is one incredibly complex piece of machinery. There are things going in, coming out, transforming, and dissolving all of the time. As a result, your weight can fluctuate wildly over the course of a 24-48- hour period. Depending on what you ate today, how much water you drank, if there was sodium in your food, what kind of clothing you were wearing, what time of day you weigh yourself, your weight WILL be different.
- Weigh yourself before and after your next workout – there will be a difference.
- Weigh yourself this morning and then again tonight after a full day of eating – there will be a difference.
2. Focus only your body composition, not your weight on the scales.
Keep in mind that your weight on the scale is only that – you may know how much your total body weighs, but what really matters is your body composition.
A person who carries a lot of muscle could be “overweight” according to a height and weight chart, but a body composition analysis would likely reveal a healthy body fat percentage – and that they’re actually at an appropriate weight. On the flip side, someone who is “thin on the outside but fat on the inside” might have a “normal” weight on a height and weight chart, and yet be carrying an unhealthy amount of body fat.
My preferred ways of measuring progress would be through body fat testing and also using pictures. Below I have listed out 5 factors to think about next time you step on the scales.
3. You use more than one scale.
You’d think all scales would give you the same reading, but that’s often not the case. (I can’t tell you how often I’ve weighed a client in my office, only to have them say, “I don’t weigh that much at home!!”). Scales do vary, so track your progress by using readings from only one instrument. The actual weight is one thing – what really matters is the direction in which your weight is moving. If you weigh on the same instrument all the time, you’ll get a more accurate sense for what your weight is doing over time.
4. Don’t let the reading on the scale affect your mood for the rest of the day.
If the reading on the scale is disappointing to you, don’t let it ruin your whole day. Keep in mind that whenever you weigh yourself, you’re simply capturing a moment in time. And – like your blood pressure or your cholesterol level – it’s just a reading that tells you where you are… it’s not a judgment of who you are. Keep tabs on your weight to follow the trend, but don’t judge your progress solely by what the scale is telling you. In the long run, the everyday healthy habits that you establish will bring you closer to your goal, so keep your focus on all the positive changes you’re making and let your weight take care of itself.
5. You’re weighing yourself at different times of the day, under different conditions.
If you’re weighing yourself whenever you feel like it without being consistent in terms of what time you weigh and what you’ve done during the day up to that point, the scale is going to mislead you every single time. Generally, people’s weight increases during the day due to the food and drinks they consume. Food and drinks also produce waste, which can also lead to additional weight gain throughout the day. Naturally, this weight gain is temporary, but if you weighed yourself in the morning on an empty stomach, and then without thinking weighed yourself 5 days later in the middle of the day, you can’t compare those weights against each other. Also, if your diet has changed in between your weigh-ins, that can cause significant weight changes. Did you eat an unusually large amount of carbs the day before? You could potentially see very large swings in your weight.
But if you remember how glycogen bonds with water, this won’t bother you anymore because you’ll understand that it’s just water weight. Did you just finish exercising? You probably lost some water, leading to temporary weight loss. Were you drinking water while you were working out? Your muscle cells may have absorbed some of it, causing your weight to respond accordingly.