Time to ditch the scales?

Checking your weight on the scales every day can do more harm than good when trying to focus on your health, wellness and activity with a change in lifestyle.

Despite millions of dollars being spent in the effort to help people lose weight world-wide most of these efforts have been ineffective long term. The unfortunate reality is that most dieters regain all the weight they lose within five years of a weight loss diet. This leads to the never ending cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Most people weigh themselves in the hope they are controlling their weight, however the number on the scales usually only end up controlling and destroying their self-esteem instead.

Standing on the scales every day, sometime more than once a day, sets people up to feel like a complete failure if the number hasn’t moved or gone down. Then this may trigger out of control eating, feeling depressed, feelings of failure and wanting to give up. So what are you actually measuring when you get on the scales? If you have been ‘good’ or ‘bad’?? In relation to what? Do the scales show how much your health has changed by your change of lifestyle? No. They only show one aspect – weight – a number. However, people may put on weight initially, particularly when they start exercising, and I advise people not to weight themselves for 1 month after starting a change in lifestyle programme. Otherwise motivation can be effected because success is tied to ‘the number’ on those dreadful scales!

The only completely accurate measure of progress in terms of fat loss, lean muscle growth and total body percentages of the weight of your bones, organs and hydration, are by using comprehensive body analysis/composition testing.

It’s not uncommon for women to gain 1-3 kilos on the scales prior to menstruation or during ovulation, the weight gain is caused by hormonal water retention not fat. Fat goes on slow and comes off slow. The only way to permanently lose fat is slowly. Tracking fat loss on the scales daily is impossible when you take into account the weight fluctuations that occur due to fluid changes. You can lose up to 5 kilos of fat without a change on the scales, especially if you are doing resistance exercise.

The 3 keys to monitoring your weight and health that is not based on a number…

  1. Go by how you look in the mirror
  2. Go by how you feel
  3. And go by how you fit your clothes

The number on a set of scales does not define you as a success or a failure. It does not make you a good or a bad person. That number does not define your health. It does not define wellness. It does not define happiness more than momentarily. That number does not make you a whole person. Yet we allow that almighty ‘number’ to detremine what sort of day we are going to have. Time to take control of your life, get off those scales and focus instead on how your life is different now - what can you do that you couldn't do before? Are you feeling less tired and have more energy? Are you stronger, fitter, healthier? Do you play with your children or grandchildren now? And the list goes on. Use the scales only as a guide... a monitor. Not as a tool for destruction.

Vanessa X