do you have a love-hate, or perhaps a hate-hate relationship with the sometimes scary scale? as a self-admitted scale-phobe, i can relate to your weighing woes. i mean, why should one little digital devil determine my mood for the day? in an attempt to settle this for you and me both, i did my research and here’s what i found. studies have confirmed what i’ve been preaching all along: focus on a goal range instead of obsessing over some magic number on the scale! in fact, research found that setting a target weight range led to people feeling more capable to accomplish their goals, more motivated, and ultimately more successful in sticking to their weight loss goals than those who set their sights on a single number (thanks for the research, SELF mag!) so determine a target weight range, or better yet try using a zero-weight or “goal weight” scale so you focus on positive progress.
still scared? never fear: here are my 4 ways to turn this measuring foe into your fitness friend.
don’t freak over fluctuations
truth is, you have to put down 3500 calories overnight to gain a pound in one day – that’s like 12 pieces of pumpkin pie (or actually 16 of my healthier version). so what gives? well, for starters – what you weigh in the morning can vary greatly based on a lot of factors, all of which aren’t necessarily weight gain. indulge in some sodium-soaked chinese grub last night? yeah your body is retaining water like a gulping goblin, meaning that water weight will be gnarly come morning. pardon the bluntness here, but if you haven’t (ahem) gone potty in the morning (or if it’s that special time of the month, ladies), you can easily tip the scales a pound or two. so don’t get so caught up on a 1-2lb weight gain – what matters is the trend over time.
nearly 75% of members of the national weight control registry, individuals who have lost at least 30lbs and kept it off, report weighing weekly. this allows you to take into account those aforementioned freakish fluctuations and also avoid becoming obsessed. just make sure you don’t skip it altogether. in one study, weekly weighers lost 6lbs compared to those who avoided the scale altogether who gained 4. note: consistency is key! so weigh once per week at the same time of day. for fun, let’s all agree to weigh on saturday mornings, before breakfast but after you um, take care of biz. capisce?
busting the muscle mentality myth
how many times have you heard? “well, the scale isn’t budging because i’m gaining muscle.” the truth is, yes this can happen (albeit, over a long period of time) where you can burn the same amount of fat and gain the equivalent amount of muscle. but let me bust one myth: you don’t turn fat into muscle – these are two completely separate processes in your body. you can burn fat and build muscle, and even do so simultaneously but here’s the catch: muscle growth takes much longer than burning fat. so while you could easily lose 2-3lbs in fat per week, the max amount of muscle you can gain per week is 1lb. but let me clarify, that’s for protein-pounding, calorie-consuming, heavy lifting dudes. ladies it takes us about twice the time to add a pound of muscle because we have less testosterone. last fact to burst your muscle bubble: to be losing weight you need to be cutting back on what you’re eating to create an energy deficit – to gain muscle you actually need to be eating more to create an energy surplus. so if your goal is weight loss and the scale isn’t budging, don’t blame muscle gain, you might want to take a look at a possible culprit: your food intake.
don’t go solo
no, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be left alone in a room with your scale, although that could be an accurate statement as well. this means, regardless of your goal weight range, a scale in and of itself is not the best measurement of your health. it is a good indicator if your weight is creeping upward, but it should be part of your measuring equation, not the only factor. use a scale in conjunction with a body tape measure and body fat calipers to get a true read on your health because often times the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. in fact, scales can be deceptive. beware: “skinny fat” folks who are deemed “normal body weight” appear to be thin on the outside, but have many health conditions similar to those who are overweight and obese. nearly 30 million americans fall into this normal-weight obesity category – a scary number, given that often times due to their “thin-ppearance” many health problems such as high cholesterol, abnormally high body fat, high blood pressure, and increased heart risk often go undetected. avoid measuring altogether and go with your jean size or just how you feel? just be aware that while this may work for some people, you could still fit nicely in your snug jeans and fall within the “healthy” weight range – but have a body fat percentage that tells a different story. so just because that scale says you’re healthy, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear!
comment below + tell me: do you weigh daily, weekly, or not at all? measure body fat or inches? or do you go by how you feel? my top concern is that we’re healthy, not obsessed. so share your tips on measuring up without getting down.
your tip trickster,
p.s. did you already learn to demystify the nutrition label with trick #1, get my 5 power-packed pumpkin recipes in trick #2, and find out how to burn 3x the fat in half the time with trick #3? come back tomorrow for trick #5 with tips to hit the hay to lose weight.
then, enter our 6 PACK TRICKS to live life fit giveaway, featuring a 6-pack bag and fittools by fitlosophy ($140 value). just comment below, then click on over to facebook to like fitbook by fitlosophy, 6-pack bags, and comment on our facebook post to win! bonus points for tweets or instagram: “BOO(m). i just entered @6PackFitness + @fitbook #6packtricks #giveaway. want tricks + win treats?http://on.fb.me/19FaKsa”
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