#MYWORTH: WHY THE TREND IS MOVING AWAY FROM THE SCALE AND WHY YOU SHOULD, TOO
You think new years resolutions are all about weight loss, but did you ever stop to think about what weight you are actually looking to lose?
It’s easy to get fixated on the number on the scale because it is black and white, clean and concise, good or bad, right or… WRONG!
Thankfully, the trend from the true experts is moving away from the total number on the scale and instead looking at what the number represents. By digging deeper into what makes up your weight, you can set more realistic and attainable goals with more ways to reach them. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming obsessed with one extreme measure that’s only feeding a deeper cyclical issue of negative self-image and a poor relationship with food, not to mention proven short-term results and a less healthy you.
I hear the frustration often from someone losing 1 lb or so per week while following a BALANCED plan exclaiming, “That’s it?! I thought it was more than that!” If these people were truly following a personalized plan, they were most likely losing fat and if exercising with resistant training, boosting muscle as well. As a result, their metabolism had improved and they developed more lean mass and metabolically active tissue while replacing bad fat with healthier fat stores from an improved diet. The truth is they looked leaner and more fit, felt better, and were happier.
But did they see all their results? Sadly, they allowed a number ruin it, because their expectations on the scale alone took the good parts that mattered away from them. A scale may only say 2lbs. of loss, for example, but in reality, the changes in your metabolism and lean mass could be resembling more like 10lbs. - you simply cannot see it in the number on the scale. (We actually prove this using the top-grade model of InBody in our office click here)
There are so many shades of gray behind your weight. Here are 3 reasons why the scale should not be the only thing that matters:
1. YOUR BODY COMPOSITION EFFECTS YOUR WEIGHT
It would seem to make the most sense that the number on the scale clearly indicates the amount of fat. However, this is NOT the case. The reality is that fat is lost and gained at a more moderate pace. The most extreme for clients very overweight may be 3-4 pounds lost per week (but not recommended each week) and for very lean clients, a half to 1 pound per week.
To gain 1-3 pounds of fat would require 3,500-10,500 calories over what they burn each week, which equates to 500-1500 calories over per day. It’s an oversimplified calculation that is entirely dependent on the rate at which one person burns calories, or their resting metabolic rate, even if they are the same height!
While it is possible to slowly boost muscle gain on a fat loss program like the BWN Method, muscle loss can cause weight to drop quicker than expected and is most likely what happens on extreme weight loss plans that restrict calories to 500-800 and forbid exercise.
Here’s a simplified example: If muscle only has about 500 burnable calories from protein and you run a 500-calorie deficit each day and only burn muscle, there’s the potential to drop up to 7 pounds without losing any fat. Compare that to the 1 pound of fat they would’ve lost had that same deficit came from only fat!
LESSON: LOSING WEIGHT TOO FAST IS MORE THAN LIKELY NOT A GOOD THING!
WHAT YOU COULD DO:
- Clothes never lie. Pay attention to how your clothes look and fit which is a better indicator of fat loss.
- Perform our InBody. Our clients on the BWN Method measure their body composition on the top-grade InBody machine which also breaks down where the muscle is in various areas of the body to better create fitness, fluid and fat loss goals. To read more about it click here.
2. WEIGHT FLUCTUATES OVER THE COURSE OF THE DAY AND EACH DAY
It is absolutely normal for the scale to change as a day goes on or from day-to-day. There are many reasons for the fluctuations including water retention due to hormones or consuming excessive sodium. Changes in sleep patterns and bowel movements also contribute to weight changes.
As the day goes on, having more food in the gut, during or what’s left after digestion, adds to your weight. Furthermore, drinking only smoothies can keep stomach content minimal, while lots of fibrous veggies and hearty servings of meat (which is recommended), will have you carrying much more “non-energy” food parts that will show on the scale temporarily. Also, simply drinking a liter of water will add 2-3 pounds of weight after consumption because of the liquid sitting in your stomach.
OTHER FACTORS THAT CAUSE WEIGHT TO FLUCTUATE:
Carbs and Sodium
When Carbs get stored in the muscle, they weigh more than fat. Carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen brings in around 3 times the amount of water, adding to even more weight gain.
This doesn't mean you should not be eating carbs because once you inevitably eat them again, the scale will show a gain for some of these same reasons. It does mean that if you eat in a restaurant and overdo it on the bread basket, or decide to finish off a huge bag of pretzels one night, chance on are your weigh in the next day will be higher simply because you ate too many carbs as per your usual intake.
So, too, with sodium. Eating in that same restaurant most likely included a higher sodium intake than you’re used to consuming, for example. The increase causes water retention and therefore, a higher weight on the scale.
Cortisol and Stress
I know it’s easy to say but decreasing stress is important for successful weight loss. Cortisol, the stress hormone, causes water retention, which can mask fat loss in the short term. Also, a chronic state of stress in the body does not allow for the “fat burning” mode and instead contributes to storage and weight gain over time. It's important to realize that the more a diet heavily restricts calories or performing more excessive cardio, cortisol will increase to the point where weight loss becomes erratic and unpredictable. Keep in mind things like lack of sleep, lifestyle factors, and injuries can also raise cortisol levels.
WHAT YOU COULD DO:
- Know your body and pay attention to when you feel bloated.
- Drink lots of water and decrease sodium intake.
- Consider taking probiotics to help regulate digestion.
- Drink anti-bloating teas such as fennel and mint.
- Perform self-care such as meditation to help ease stress.
3. WEIGHT DOES NOT ALWAYS SHOW HEALTH
If a person is thin it does not mean they are automatically healthy. In fact, the heavier person may have better health because of genetics and lifestyle choices. I’ve seen plenty of “thin” people have excess fat in their bodies. Always keep in mind that what someone looks like on the outside does not mean they are healthy on the inside.
You cannot create LASTING change if your mindset and attitude about the scale are off from the start. First, find your self-worth so that you can allow it to drive the love and support when you need to be reminded who you are and why you are on the path towards reaching a healthy weight. This solid foundation is critical BEFORE you pursue a weight loss journey and get healthy.
Take some time to get to know the real YOU. Feeling secure in yourself is where happiness and health can grow. Think about all the factors that make you unique and what your alone can give onto others.
Without the foundation and a strong love of yourself, you can transform the outward appearance temporarily, but it will not provide long-term change or a healthier, happier you.
Remember, you are worth so much more than a number on the scale. Don’t limit yourself to something so singular. Because of this, I decided to start a campaign #MYWORTH to spread the message of self-love and recognition of self-worth beyond something as singular as the number on the scale. Shout it out to all that you are worth so much more. Share your experience, photo or other inspiring thing showcasing your support for #MYWORTH so we can stop feeding our own worst insecurities that are destroying ourselves and setting a poor example for our kids and finally start with empowering and real changes that truly get you to your best weight and health #MYWORTH