Ok, before you hyperventilate and completely melt down, tell me something. When you last lost any weight (I’m assuming, like lots of women, that you are not on your first attempt) did anyone compliment you? Did anyone say something like, ‘Hey, you look great! Have you lost weight?’
So again, assuming they did say something like that, how did they know you had lost weight. Did they bring their own scales and ask you to step on them before they commented? No of course they didn’t. They noticed that you looked different or slimmer.
Ok, so I’m being a little bit flippant and deliberately controversial but there are a number of good reasons to throw away your scales and use other methods to measure your progress. I haven’t weighed myself in over 18 months but I know that I am slimmer and healthier than I was at the start of this journey by using other, in my opinion, better methods.
Scales only measure weight loss.
I know, what’s wrong with that? Well… We talked a couple of weeks ago about motivation. Usually our weight loss goals are really more our health related goals to lose fat or vanity related goals to lose wobble (don’t worry that is perfectly valid). Weight loss is very different and can vary from morning to evening, day to day and week to week. As women we retain water at certain times of the month and certain times of the day. If you have ever been one to weigh yourself more than once in a day (please STOP!) then you will have seen fluctuations because of water, food, waste products, clothing and not necessarily fat. So if you must weigh yourself it should be no more than once a week (although monthly would be better) and at the same time of day in the same clothes.
Not only can weight fluctuate but with certain weight loss plans and exercise regimes you can lose both water and muscle as well or instead of fat. Bearing in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, some of the huge losses may be more lean muscle than fat loss which is bad for you in more than one way. Apart from the danger to your internal organs if the muscle loss is coming from there, muscle uses more calories in a resting state, so you need a higher proportion of muscle in your body to keep your metabolism burning fat.
Still not convinced?
Years ago when I was a weight loss consultant for a large diet company I used to see clients all the time who had kept to the ‘rules’, felt slimmer in their clothes and yet the scales showed nothing. The reason for this was probably due to muscle toning, which as we discussed weighs heavier than fat and will also help to shape you. With a heavy emphasis on losing ‘weight’ this kind of fantastic progress is overlooked by the client and often seen as ‘failure’. Unfortunately it also often results in bingeing and a lack of confidence in the system. In fact inches are exactly what you need to lose, not weight. Inches indicate that the fat has gone and that muscle is replacing it. Lose a bit of wobble and that indicates the same. If you must measure your progress with something tangible buy a dressmakers tape measure and chuck out your scales. Now, as an independent weight loss consultant I ban the scales as they are not in keeping with the positive thinking and mindset that I try to instill in my clients.
Your mirror can tell you all you need to know
If you don’t feel good about your reflection it doesn’t matter what you weigh. Whilst there are a number of people who genuinely suffer with seeing a distorted reflection (if this is you, please seek medical help) most of us can see what we look like in the mirror. We can tell if we look good in our clothes and can identify a ‘muffin top’ at 20 paces. Our clothes and mirror can tell us if we are slimmer or fatter, and show us if we need to work harder or if we are doing a good job. Weight is just arbitrary numbers and don’t reflect and measure what we are working so hard to achieve.
Work at loving your reflection. That’s not to say you should forget to strive for improvement, but whilst you develop your relationship with food and your exercise program and healthy lifestyle you should also develop a healthy relationship with yourself and your reflection. If you take the emphasis off weight loss and concentrate on these things, ironically you will start to lose weight.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts below.