SCALE OCD: YOU’RE MORE THAN A NUMBER
Growing up, we were all conditioned to step on the scale to see how much we “weigh”. Since then, many of us continue giving far too much power and control to the number on the scale – letting it dictate and validate our self-esteem, self-worth and how we feel.
Think about it: You wake up every morning and what’s the first thing you do? Use the bathroom. What’s the second thing you do? Step on the scale.
Well, having been asleep for the last several hours and just used the bathroom, you should be at your lightest weight, right? You’re more likely to see that ideal number you rely on to keep you in check with your weight loss goals.
If you like what we see, you experience an immediate sense of relief and boom, are enthusiastically ready to conquer the day! Comparatively, if the number flashing before your eyes isn’t what you expect or want to see, the day is ruined. In a Jekyll/Hyde moment, your mood worsens, you hate everything and convince yourself your valiant efforts with exercise and nutrition are a total waste of time.
At times, you may even resort to extremes by straying off course, binging on highly processed or sugary foods or falling into an emotional low where things become dark.
If you can honestly say you’re following a consistent exercise routine (3-5x/week) and 80% of the time are consuming a diet loaded with lean proteins (chicken, fish, beef, pork, turkey) veggies galore, smart carbs (quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, fruits) and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, nut butters, oils, avocados, cheese, hummus), then despite what’s on the scale, your body is changing! And, you’re creating healthier habits!
That’s right! Good things are taking place right before your very eyes but you’re too blinded by the number on the scale to notice.
Still convinced nothing is changing and you’re doomed for failure? Well, we’re here to lovingly tell you you’re wrong and here’s why:
WHY THE SCALE ISN’T CHANGING
Every time you step foot on the scale, you have an expectation. Based on what you’ve been doing – exercising routinely, following a healthy diet – you align that expectation with an ideal number you feel is “fair” given these behaviors.
Here’s the problem: What you think the number should be isn’t actually based on the science of what it’s going to be because the scale only tells you what you weigh (in lbs.), not how much or little body fat or lean muscle you have.
If you’re wondering why the heck this matters because you just want to lose weight, keep reading:
Most of us think losing weight is synonymous with toning and definition when in fact, this isn’t the same thing. Losing weight is just losing weight. To transform your body and become more defined and toned, you have to build lean muscle and lose body fat. And, based on what you just read, the scale doesn’t measure or account for either of these things. It only accounts for weight.
Here’s the even bigger catch: Even when you’re losing body fat, the number on the scale can stay the same or, even increase at times, all while you’re becoming leaner!
WHAT?! That doesn’t make any sense.
It’s true – like scientifically proven!
By using weights or any type of resistance in your workouts, you’re helping your body create more muscle, which makes you stronger and look more toned and defined since having more muscle means having less fat. During this process, the scale can stay the same or even increase to some degree because you’re adding more muscle. This is a VERY good thing and part of what needs to happen if you want to transform how your body looks. Check out the below photos courtesy of health.com and Personal Trainer, Kelsey Wells. The progression of Kelsey’s fitness journey reveals the difference in how she looks at 140 lbs versus 122 lbs. – her lowest weight.
At 140 lbs., you can visibly see she is leaner and more defined compared to 122 lbs., thus giving you a visual explanation of what happens as your body builds more lean muscle and the scale increases. Even at her lowest weight, she doesn’t have as much definition as she does at 140 lbs.
Now think about this: Without seeing these photos, an 18 lb. difference sounds like A LOT and out of habit, we all assumed 18 lbs. would make Kelsey look “bigger”. Welp, the proof is in the picture pudding! This is what happens when you add lean muscle and as you see, the scale is NOT going to reveal any of this. Biggest take-away? THE SCALE WENT UP 18lbs. !
In addition to the science behind all of this, there are a few other things influencing the number on the scale; all of which are trivial and short lived:
1) You ate a higher sodium meal
2) You ate more carbs than usual so you’re holding on to more water
3) You’re drinking more water than usual
4) You didn’t sleep well
5) You have to take a poo poo
6) You weighed yourself at a different time than normal
Plus about 15+ more.
MORAL OF THE SCALE STORY
There are many reasons why the number on your scale can stay the same or even increase. If you’re following a consistently healthy lifestyle that promotes regular exercise (strength training + cardio intervals) and a balanced diet – lean proteins, abundance of veggies, smart carbs and healthy fats – you’re doing it right and you will get the results you want, even if the scale doesn’t show what you think it should. Be and stay patient – change takes a lot of time.
Understandably, we are realists and know some of you reading this will continue to rely on the scale to track progress. If you take anything away from this blog, remember Kelsey’s photos and what her scale weight looked like in those photos. Don’t let an ideal goal weight sabotage your progress and desired outcomes because what you think you should weigh will not necessarily add up to what you’re going to weigh when you step on that scale.
To help alleviate the stressors and codependency built around the scale, start by refocusing your attention on your habits and behaviors. Create a sustainable lifestyle – a stress free routine of exercise you like doing and a nutrition plan that isn’t a “diet”. By learning how to make smart food choices- this includes portion sizes – and exercise part of your lifestyle, you won’t obsess or constantly worry about your weight and the scale because you’ll be in full control of things influencing your results.
If you have questions about this, want to learn how to rely less on the scale or feel like you’re doing everything right and still aren’t seeing results, it’s time for us to chat!
EMAIL or call the RF Team today to schedule a *FREE* Strategy Session so you can get the help you need and on the right track to your health and fitness goals! Info@resultsfitnessforlife.com || 440.684.0460