Written by: Taylor Nicole O’neal
Many of us have experienced that moment when the number staring back at you on the scale ruins your whole day, especially if you ate well and stuck with your workout routine all week long. It’s not surprising that you might be disappointed, but there’s a lot more to weight loss than just what you see on the scale. Here’s the thing – the scale is just one tool of many used to document a person’s weight loss journey or overall health. Yet, many of us look to the scale as the ultimate authority. Today, I’m here to tell why the number on the scale does not define you in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle!
- Your Weight Fluctuates
The human body is one incredibly complex piece of machinery. There are things going in, coming out, transforming, and dissolving all the time. As a result, your weight can fluctuate wildly day to day.
There are a number of variables that can go into this:
What did you eat or drink today? All food and water have weight to them.
How much sodium did you have today? Consuming salt will make you retain water. The more water you are holding, the more you will weigh.
What time of the month is it? Following along on our trend of water weight, a menstrual cycle will also cause water retention, meaning more overall weight.
Have you been hitting up the bathroom today? I’ll just say it: urine and feces weigh something.
When did you work out last? Exercising will cause you to sweat, which means less water. But you’ll also likely drink more water in response, which will have an impact on the scale too.
If you’re trying to lose weight, your successful weight loss could be hidden by any number of circumstances that falsify your statistics. It’s just a number, and it can vary widely over a short period of time.
- Your Body Composition is Changing
A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. However, a pound of fat takes up about twice the space as a pound of muscle, since muscle is about twice as dense as fat. When the scale doesn’t move, you are losing body fat while gaining muscle. Your weight may stay the same, even as you lose inches. If the scale doesn’t change, you automatically think you aren’t seeing results, but you’re wrong, which is why taking progress pictures is so important!
Knowing the difference between losing weight and losing body fat can change how you get results and will even change how you look at your own body. This is what really counts, not just the measly number on the scale. As you work out, you are building lean muscle which weighs the same as fat but is leaner. If your clothes are bigger, but the scale is the same, this is because of the lean muscle you have built. Building lean muscle has loads of benefits. Did you know building muscle will help boost your metabolism so you can burn fat even at rest?
Additional Benefits of Lean Muscle:
- Burns more calories
- Create a leaner physique
- Reduce your risk of injury
- Increase strength, stability, power and endurance
- Improve balance and mobility
- Improve confidence
- Increase energy and vitality
- Enhance athletic performance
- Increase your metabolic efficiency
- Improve insulin sensitivity and improve blood glucose control
- Focus on What Your Body Can Do
Your journey is way more than being measured in numbers and it’s not worth obsessing over. How you feel, what your body is capable of doing day to day, is what’s important. The scale can’t tell you how far you can run, how much weight you can lift, or how many push-ups you can do. The scale is not a measure of strength; it is just a number. That’s all. If you find yourself stressing about the scale, leave it be! Learn to get in touch with how you feel about yourself and your body and become more mindful about what you need – when it comes to your nutrition and exercise. While weight-loss is often a result, the real benefits are more energy, your strength, better moods, improved sleep, healthier digestion, improved circulation and so much more!
Ultimately, the scale does not define you. It can’t tell you about the boost in confidence after being able to fit in a pair of jeans that you previously hid in your “skinny pile”, in fear you would never be able to wear them again. It can’t tell you about your increased self-esteem, as you begin taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Most importantly. the scale does not define your worth. Let me tell you something, your ideal number on the scale will not satisfy you, even if you get there. To find true satisfaction, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.