3 Reasons To Throw Away Your Scale
Written by Jaimie Bougie

Tell me if this has ever happened to you.

You follow your healthy eating plan for days, weeks or maybe months, with great discipline. Not only do you feel good, but you look great and your workouts in the gym have been total beastmode. You get up one morning and notice that you are look particularly slim in the waist line and you immediately think to yourself – “I’m looking so much leaner! I bet I’ve lost like, at least 5lbs!”

Then, you do something really dumb. You pull out your bathroom scale and hop on in hopes of confirming that you are indeed a leaner, meaner machine. But then the scale does the unthinkable and instead of confirming to you that you’ve lost weight, instead you find that you haven’t lost a single ounce or you’ve, in fact, gained weight. The horror! Your mood instantly goes from elation to disappointment; you start second guessing all the healthy choices you’ve made over the past few weeks (where did you go wrong?!) and your day is basically ruined from here.

Not only has this scenario happened to me countless times over the past few years, but I have also seen it happen to family members and friends as well. Because of this, I have come up with three (and a half) great reasons why everyone should just throw away their scales and stop weighing themselves!

Reason #1: Body Fat vs Body Muscle

You may have heard the phrase, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” But how true is that? Well, common sense tells us a pound of muscle and a pound of fat have to weigh the same; however, they do differ when it comes to density. This means if you look at five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat side by side on a table, the fat will take up more volume, or space, than the muscle.

The same holds true with your body; you may look noticeably leaner due to fat loss, but when you add in muscle gain, the weight on the scale could be up five or maybe even ten pounds more than it was before. Most scales can’t tell the difference between what’s fat and what’s muscle, so that added weight could be muscle that you’ve worked so hard to obtain!

If you look and feel leaner but your weight is up on the scale, then a body fat percentage testing method may be a better choice for those who like to set milestone numbers for body composition goals. Check out this blog by Coach Melissa on some of the body fat testing methods currently available to the public.

Reason #2: You Are Not Defined by a Number.

You’ve probably seen this phrase posted on someone’s Facebook or Instagram at some point, as it has become a popular motivational phrase in the fitness community. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, however.

Ask yourselves – at the end of the day, which is more important: how you look, feel and perform, or what the cold hearted scale tells you whenever you step on it? If you look and feel like a lean, mean beastmode machine, it shouldn’t really matter if you’ve gained a few pounds in the process. At Invictus, we want all our members to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves; no where do we say we also want you to be the “lightest” version as well. If you’re healthy and you look good, don’t put too much stock in what the scale is telling you.

I will note, however, that there are exceptions to when some of our athletes do need to monitor their weight for competitions. If you are training for a powerlifting, Olympic lifting or sports meet (such as wrestling) that requires you to make a certain weight class, then this blog is not for you.

Reason #3: Obsession can be a slippery slope.

It’s no surprise that eating disorders and obsession about our weight have become a commonplace in America; almost 30 million Americans (of all ages and genders) suffer from some type of eating disorder [2].

Now, I’m not saying that everyone who weighs themselves is obsessed or will become obsessed at some point; I can only speak from personal experience. There was a time when I wrote down and recorded every single thing that I ate and drank; I also would weigh myself 2-3 times a day. I did both of these things every single day for months at a time; and when I decided I needed a mental break from all of that dedication, I found it to be actually quite hard for me to stop, as weighing myself became a habit – an obsession – that was very hard to break.

For those of you who weigh themselves on a regular basis, I challenge you to hide your scale away and not weigh yourself for seven days. If it’s too difficult of a challenge and you find yourself unable to break the habit, it may be time to set some new goals and create some new habits that will help you towards your goals versus stressing you out about them.

Bonus Reason just for Females: Hormones.

Yes, this reason needs just one word to sum it up. Hormones play a big role in wrecking havoc on the scale for women, even causing their weight to fluctuate from day to day, depending on your time of the month. You may not feel bloated, but you could be retaining fluids. Studies have shown that women hit a peak day of fluid retention at the start of their menstrual cycle, with some women retaining fluids the days leading up the cycle [1]. So if it’s close to your time of the month, don’t put too much stock on what you see on the scale

Remember What’s Important

We all want to be healthy, look great and perform our best in life, both inside and outside of the gym. Obsessing about the weight on a scale can actually get in the way of your body composition goals. If your current goal is weight loss and you constantly find yourself in the scenario described at the beginning of this blog, it may be time for some new goals that don’t revolve around the scale, such as dropping a pants/dress size or using a tape measure instead of the scale to keep track of your growing biceps.

And remember, at the end of the day, your weight is just a number showing the “amount of downward force gravity is exerting upon you and nothing more. [3]”

 

References

[1] Fluid Retention over the Menstrual Cycle: 1-Year Data from the Prospective Ovulation Cohort: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3154522
[2] Eating Disorders Statistics: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics
[3] Scale Obsession by Mark’s Daily Apple: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/scale-obsession

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