Your Scale is Lying to You

Imagine waking up in the morning. The sun is peaking through the blinds and, groggy, you move to the bathroom to start the day with a shower. Before you jump into the warm shower you decide to step on the scale and 'see how things are going'. Believe it or not there is a good chance that no matter what the number is, it is probably not telling you if you're losing weight or not. 

"Really?" you might be asking yourself. "Does that mean that when it is down I may not have actually lost any weight and when it is up I may not have actually gained weight?" Well sort of, yes. Your total weight is changing, but your fat mass may not be. To understand what I mean you have to understand what exactly the scale is measuring. So if you are in the habit of believing the number on the scale you may want to take a minute to read on, and find out why that is not such a good idea.

Firstly, let's break down what the components your bathroom scale measures: 

1. body fat 

2. muscle mass

3. bone and other tissues and organs

4. glycogen

5. fluid

6. food

So... there is a lot happening there in that little metal box in your bathroom. When you are looking to lose weight usually people are aiming at losing body fat- but that is only one of 6 different things the scale is measuring. Since your scale can't tell you which one is changing just by looking at the number on the scale you may want to start taking the number with a grain of salt.

Looking at an overall trend can be a better way of seeing what's happening since fat mass takes time to build or break down. So aiming for a frequency of every 1-2 weeks instead of weighing yourself daily may be a good idea.  

Ok so you might be thinking "How can I track success on a daily basis if not by the scale?"

Good question! 

The alternative that I often start with when working with patients and clients is how your new behaviours align with your values. Tuning into this daily will help you know you are doing well and let the weight come along with you on this journey of living according to your values. For more on the idea of starting with values check out my blog other posts.  

Ryan Stallard