Beth Warren Nutrition Blog

Why You May Want to Throw Out the Scale

by Beth Warren May 8, 2020

I don't know who needs to hear this but: STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF, ESPECIALLY DURING QUARANTINE.

 



One thing we've been noticing with some new clients beginning our BWN Method, is that they were weighing themselves on the scale way too often during quarantine. If this is you, it may not be a good idea to weigh yourself at all. 

In a time of such heightened anxiety and stress, plus factors beyond our control like eating a bit more carb heavy if that's what is available, not drinking adequate fluids or not moving as much, constantly weighing yourself to "see your damage" in numbers may be harmful. Being overly tied to the scale can be a trigger to more stress, poor body image issues and fuel disordered eating behavior. The crazy part is that type of usage of the scale may actually cause it to go up and not down.



The scale is and always be ONE tool in the arsenal of MANY in helping to monitor and guide your weight and health. Below we've compiled why it is NOT the ONLY tool, nor should it be. By understanding what the scale does and DOES NOT show, it will help you decide if it's a good idea to throw it away.


Here's Why You May Want to Stop Weighing Yourself During Quarantine
 

1. YOUR BODY COMPOSITION EFFECTS YOUR WEIGHT

 


Fat


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.


Muscle
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. Keep in mind, that many of us in quarantine have switched up our workout routines, so your total muscle wait may be fluctuating up or down as well, contributing to your total weight numbers too.

 



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. Also, simply drinking a liter of water will add 2-3 pounds of weight after consumption because of the liquid sitting in your stomach. All of this is just NORMAL.

 

OTHER FACTORS THAT CAUSE WEIGHT TO FLUCTUATE:


 

Carbs and Sodium


Carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen brings in around 3 times the amount of water, adding to your total weight.

This doesn't mean you should avoid eating carbs because once you inevitably eat them again, the scale will show a gain for some of these same reasons. So, if you decide to finish off a huge bag of pretzels one night, chances are your weigh-in the next day will be higher simply because you ate too many carbs as per your usual intake. Once you normalize your intake, these added fluid levels will level out.
So, too, with sodium. If you're grabbing for the bag of chips, or simply eating more bread (which is actually the number one cause of added sodium in the American diet), the increase of eating high sodium foods causes water retention and therefore, a higher weight on the scale. THIS IS NORMAL.


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. ALL of these factors are heightened right now during quarantine and we have to be kind to our body's right now for having to deal with all of it at once. THIS IS NORMAL (for the quarantine situation).


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.


THE TAKEAWAY


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. Keep the scale where it is in the grand scheme of tools in the arsenal to better health. And if you can't, THROW IT OUT! 
 

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