When it comes to tracking your weight loss, how do you measure it? I bet 99% of you jump on the scale every single day and probably let out a groan because you haven’t lost any weight. Sure, you are exercising regularly and eating right, but the scale needle just won’t budge!
What is going on here?
I received an email on Saturday from my client, Nanette. She was talking about how had her body fat measured, and it was a 5% decrease overall. However, her weight on the scale didn’t change. So she summed it up succinctly:
“Damn that scale.”
So why do I advocate everyone pitch their scales? Let me explain.
Your weight loss goals should have the trifecta of eating the right foods, strength training and cardio training. If any of the three components of weight loss are missing, then losing weight will be a slow, arduous process.
Here is what happens when you strength train. When you develop lean muscle tissue, you are actually shrinking your body. What do I mean by this? Muscle tissue is much more dense than fat. So when you have a higher proportion of muscle to fat, your body is smaller.
And you may be saying, “But muscle weighs more than fat!” If so, then you would be repeating one of the most often quoted fitness related myths of all time. Think about it. How much does one pound of muscle weigh? Now how much does one pound of fat weigh? Uh huh. But since muscle is denser than fat, you are actually shrinking but the scale doesn’t move a lot.
And that is why Nanette is not losing a lot of weight. She is replacing the fat she had with muscle, but she is becoming smaller since muscle is denser. And what does that mean?
One HAPPY client!
And don’t get me wrong if you need to lose a lot of weight, the pounds will come off eventually. However, you are going to notice you are shrinking first. And that is a good thing.
We as a society have conditioned ourselves to have the scale be the final authority in weight loss. And it is my goal as a personal trainer to have weight scales banned for life! They can be very demoralizing at times.
The next time you are frustrated with your weight loss, measure yourself and be cognizant of how your clothes are fitting. It will save you a lot of mental anguish in the long run.
So go to your scale right now, thank it for the years of service that it has provided and unceremoniously kick it to the curb.