We all like to track progress and see the fruits of our labour. Your health and fitness journey is no different but often we can find ourselves getting too caught up on what the number on the scales is reading, myself included. It is important to be able to take a step back, look at this number objectively while reflecting on what this number actually means.
Body weight is simply a measure of your total body mass at any given point in time. This reflects EVERYTHING your body is made up of however, it does do very little to depict exact make up of that mass, it is essentially just a number.
Total body mass is made up of a range of variable factors, that based on the time of day, what you have consumed or taken part in can all change at any given moment. This is the main reason why we rarely see weight loss occur in a linear manner.
Some of these variables that impact weight include:
• Digestive tract (and everything in-between)
• Body Fat
As we can see, solely using weight as a measure of your progress only ever tells you some… of what is going on, but never really the full picture. You could for instance, be up 1kg on the scale however, down 500g in body fat, up 500g due to inflammation from an intense training session the day prior, as well as up another 1kg from the food and water you’ve been consuming throughout the day that is still being processed. The 500g gain (in this case) is a true reflection of your “weight” at that point in time, but as we can see by only looking at the scale it does very little to show about any meaningful change in body composition or what that 500g may mean for you.
This is the reason why we try to tell clients not to get caught up on the scale number and to use a range of measures when tracking progress such as:
• Clothing Size
• Body Scans
• Skinfold/Body Measurements
• Blood Tests
Each tool will have its limitations, but it is about identifying these and not throwing all of your “I’m not eating that today” – will power into the outcome from just one of these measures.
How to track the changes in scale weight more objectively:
1. Track at the same time of day, preferably fasted. The first step is to ensure that you are monitoring your weight at the same time of day each weigh in. Naturally, you will find that your scale weight will be heavier in the evening, compared to the morning (water and food) so our best piece of advice is to always to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before food and preferably after any AM bowel movements.
2. Average your week. The easiest way to do this is to simply weigh yourself once per week following the guidelines from above. If you can’t help yourself getting on the scale in the morning and prefer tracking your weight daily. Write the number down and instead track weekly changes in an average weight as opposed to day to day variability. Quick math = add up each days weight then / by the number of days (7).
3. Stop caring so much. While I of all people can appreciate it when clients are invested in their goals, there comes a time when we need to start focusing on the process of creating a healthier lifestyle (and everything that goes into that) rather than simply worrying about the outcome. Quite often it’s the people that focus too heavily on the outcome that could do with focusing more so on their day to day choices. Focus on what you can control, then, at our regular check-ins we can discuss your result and how we can make changes to your plan to help things moving forward.