Few bathrooms are without a set of scales, and if you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’ll rely on scales to track your progress. Yet, it’s time to unmask the truth about these weighing machines, and reveal why ditching the scales could be the best move you make for your health.
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Scales aren’t accurate
The problem with using scales to weigh yourself is that they don’t tell the whole story. Quite simply, they’re just not an accurate indicator if weight loss is your goal.
When you weigh yourself, the scales measure your entire body, including your bones, blood, muscles, fat, fluids and organs. If you lose weight, the scales can’t tell you which component of the body this has come from.
Indeed, scale readings can fluctuate according to how much fluid you have in your body, and this can vary according to times of the day, the weather, what you’ve eaten or even your hormones.
Losing muscle not fat
The scales might show that you’ve lost a few pounds, but they won’t tell you if this is from loss of fat or muscle. Losing muscle isn’t a good thing, especially if you’re trying to tone your physique. Muscle loss can reduce your strength and metabolism.
Conversely, you could actually gain muscle and lose fat, but the scales don’t change. This is because muscle is denser than fat, even though a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat.
Another problem with relying on scales to track weight loss is that it can take several weeks for results to show, even though progress is being made in your body.
When you start an exercise or weight loss regime, your body will benefit straight away. But, these benefits, such as improvements to the heart, circulation, muscles and blood pressure, aren’t trackable by a set of scales. If you’re only taking pound readings into account, then you might lose motivation and give up prematurely if the scale number isn’t to your liking.
Doesn’t take other factors into account
Getting hung up on scale readings can make you feel negative about trying to lose weight, especially if the figures aren’t going in the right direction. But, there’s more to getting in shape than what the scales say alone. The scales will not measure your increased energy levels from getting fitter, how happier or more confident you feel, how much your skin glows or how fewer aches and pains you now experience. Indeed, the scales aren’t a real indicator of good health, as you can lead an unhealthy lifestyle but still be slim.
Tracking your progress
Giving the scales the heave-ho is a sensible decision if weight loss is your aim, but there are other, more accurate, ways to assess if any progress is being made.
Use your clothes as a guide. Are those tight jeans now much looser around the waist, for example? Take photos of how you look in clothes and compare images over time.
Use a measuring tape on different parts of your body and keep a note of any changes in readings.
The most important aspect of shedding the pounds is to lose fat, so consider getting fat levels tested in your body.
If giving up the scales is really too much to ask, then at least cut down on how often you weigh yourself. Once per month should suffice, but always keep in mind the limitations of your scales – and never let them dictate your goals, motivation or feelings.