Yes. You are doing it. What is the biggest lie, Hobbit?
The scale matters…
Step off the scale.
Step off the scale.
Many of you are just starting and you have this focus on “weight” and losing “pounds.” Sorry. STOP IT. Weight is an abstract that has been for too long an absolute in measure “health” and “ideals.” I’m not saying that if you are 5’3″ and 300lbs that your weight doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is measuring your progress with your weight can put you into a cycle of feeling like failure. Yes, this is true. We see it several times a day “I’ve been doing this for XXX weeks and I’m not losing any weight!” We need to focus on HEALTH and BODY CHANGES, not the affect of gravity on our body. Yes, I know, it is sooooo much easier to take 5 seconds, step on the cursed box in the bathroom, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Or slip into depression because damnit, it isn’t changing! Guess what? Stop taking the easy way out. You are lying to yourself on several levels and not taking into account how the body actually works.
Think about this situation: you get up in the morning, pee, and step on the scale. It says, let’s say, 150.1 lbs. You walk over to the sink, brush your teeth, walk back, straighten out the scale in relation to the wall because hey, OCD people want to be healthy too, and step on it. It now says 150.7.
Did you just add .6 lbs of toothpaste?
Did you magically gain over 1/2 pound of muscle walking 6 feet and moving your hand in little circles?
Now, you brush that off as “the damn scale” and go on with your day. You eat breakfast, have a couple (or many, many in my case) cups of coffee, and go about your day. You eat dinner. You pee, leave a log or two in the toilet, and step on the scale.
OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO BE A HOUSE AT THIS RATE~~
You don’t think that.
You know that you still have food and fluids in your body, and that number isn’t realistic.
Tell me this.
Why do you trust it when you know it isn’t realistic?
Because it’s easy.
Easy is comfortable.
Easy is lazy.
Easy is bull.
What we should be looking for isn’t total pounds, but our lean body mass. Yeh, that stuff that isn’t fat. That should be our target. Remember, muscle is more dense than fat by about a factor of 5. Dense means smaller for the same mass, or more mass for the same size (you pick, I like the first one as it relates to this topic). So, you don’t want “big muscles?” Fine. Lean body mass is still a target. Doesn’t matter if you want to be 130lbs.
You can be 5’6″, 130 and be obese if your body fat to lean mass ratio is too high.
You can be 5’6″, 130 and be idea if your body fat percentage to lean mass ratio is in the healthy range.
You can be 5/6″, 130 and dangerously close to a host of medical issues because your body fat to lean mass ratio is dangerously low.
As a point of note, being significantly obese is a health issue. Period. So while “losing weight” may be all about estheics to you (you know, looking better), it is really about improving health. I won’t beat this up in this post and stick to the basics, but keep this in mind. Just because you feel ok, just overweight, doesn’t mean you are healthy.
Ok, so how to we REALLY measure progress if you are doing this specifically to “lose weight?”
A goal outfit.
Body fat measurements. No, not the ones on the scale, get inexpensive calipers. While they are not the gold standard for accuracy compared to something like a DEXA scan, they are more consistent than some scale from Walmart and consistency is what we are looking for. Consistent tracking of changes.
These are better markers of progress than a scale. Here’s something else to consider, when you see those posts like “Facelift Fridays” are they pictures of the person’s scale with two different numbers?
They are pictures of THEIR BODY.
YOU SEE the changes.
Get it? The scale lies. If you are using it to track your progress as the Holy Grail, you are also lying to yourself. And that, my friends, you need to stop.