What do you do about the scale? If you weigh yourself everyday you will likely see your weight bounce up and down, and on up days you can get discouraged.
That is why many trainers will tell you to ignore the scale. They will tell you that what is really important is how fit you are, and not how much you weigh.
And on the other hand, there are diet programs and diet books that focus only on the scale, and sell you on quick weight loss based on nothing but the scale.
Which way is right? Scale or no scale? They both have some truth in them. Let’s sort it out.
We tend to be focused on the scale, because it is such an easy thing to measure, and it is easy to compare the numbers. You read that your favorite celebrity lost 25 pounds—you can easily understand that. You read, “Lose 15 pounds in 2 days!” Who wouldn’t want that?
The scale gives us a number that we can use to compare ourselves to others and to set goals for ourselves. It is simple.
But if you think about it, the reason we are so intent on the scale is not because we really are so interested in numbers, but because we are interested in looking good. We want to be lean. We want to be sexy. We want our clothes to fit, and we want to be appealing to others.
And we know that when we lose weight we get these things. So we get hooked on the scale. But the scale is just one part of it.
What is really important is not just your weight, but how much fat you have on your body, and how much lean mass you have.
You can lose weight but instead of losing fat you lose muscle. This happens all the time with quick weight loss diets.
When you are done, you don’t look as good as you thought you would. Your arms are still flabby. Your belly still sags. You still don’t look good in a bathing suit and you are still embarrassed about your body.
You lost muscle and you are out of shape.
This is what causes people to lose weight rapidly but then gain it back. You lose some fat, but you also lose your muscle mass.
Here is the most important part: Muscle burns up calories. Muscle burns up fat. And since you don’t have as much muscle to burn up calories, you gain the weight back faster than ever.
See, even if the scale improved, you didn’t accomplish what you wanted. So even though it is harder to measure, what you really want to know is how much lean body mass you have as well as how much fat you have.
If you became really lean, really firm, with sleek, strong muscles, and you saw your trim abs in the mirror, the strong arms, and the sexy butt, you wouldn’t care what the scale said.
On the other hand, the people who are the most successful in weight loss, in taking the weight off and keeping it off forever, are people who have a weight loss goal and who actually reach that goal.
Not the people who lose some of their excess weight, or who get almost to the goal. No, the people who keep the weight off are people who actually reached their goal weight.
Many people can lose some of their weight and get part way to their goal. But the vast majority gain it back. But those people who have a goal and reach that goal are much more likely to keep the weight off.
So you see, there are two sides to the weight loss coin. There is more to losing weight and getting the body you want than the scale. And on the other hand, having a goal and reaching it will dramatically increase your odds of staying lean forever.
So what do you do? The best way is to make the scale part of your plan, but not the whole plan. Weigh yourself regularly, and keep a chart of your weight, but watch only the long-term trend, not the daily ups and downs.
Make the scale one part of your weight loss plan. Keep at it and you will see. You can get the body you want.