OK, that was dramatic. Please, by all means, step on that scale. But don’t let the results deter you.
Let me paint a typical scenario.
Day 1: Neenu has decided to start exercising. Yet again. She steps on the scale to see what she is up against. She finishes her workout and steps on the scale again. 500 gms lighter!
Day 2: Neenu goes back the next day and steps on the scale. Oh no! She’s somehow managed to put back on the 500 grams. Plus another 200 grams. “It must be that banana I ate after my work out. Or the extra roti.”
So she works out harder. And steps on the scale before leaving. Bingo! Dropped the 500 grams. The extra 200 grams is still bothering her, though. She skips the post work out banana and cuts back on one roti, with the result that she is hungry through most of the day.
Day 3: Neenu is feeling crabby but decides to go for a walk. She comes back feeling refreshed.
Day 4: Re-energized, she goes back to the gym and steps on the scale. WTF?! … and so the cycle continues.
A lot of people quit working out within a couple of weeks of starting. According to one estimate
- Many new exercise “intenders” will abandon their workout routines within two weeks of their New Year’s resolutions, and about half will quit by June
- 67% of gym members never go
- 1/3 of people who buy online fitness and health products never even download them
(See here for complete article and sources). The most common reason after lack of time and injury and/or pain is … DISCOURAGEMENT.
I’m here to tell you – the scale is NOT your friend. And not because of the number it displays. But because it tells only one teeny-weeny part of your story.
When it comes to the weighing scale, it helps to take on the manner of Jeeves.
Why does your weight fluctuate?
I love this image below! The man behind that poor woman personifies all the things that make our weight fluctuate on a daily basis.
Hormones, water retention, how much you sweat, what you ate (high salt intake?), how much water you drank, what time of day you weigh your self. That man behind is all of these things in various proportions.
Your weight will fluctuate on an hourly basis.
So, what does it mean? How do I keep track of my progress?
First, know your weight. But also ensure that you get a full body composition analysis done. Know your fat and muscle percentage, fat distribution and bone density. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, two people can have the exact same weight and height and yet have very different body composition. Muscle weight is GOOD. Extra fat % are NOT.
Second, give yourself time. My suggestion would be, ideally, mark down a date & time every month (e.g. 1st of every month, in the morning, before workout) to step on the scale. Similar time of hormonal cycle etc will make the results more comparable. If you cannot keep away for a month, keep your check to a maximum of weekly.
Third, each month, track changes in your fat and muscle proportions. I was introduced to this about 5 years back when I was training for my first (and as of now, only) half marathon, with Rujuta Diwekar. I always thought that my thighs were the heavy part in my body. They were, but interestingly, while the fat % was higher than desired (that was an all over issue), my muscle percentage was higher than average too! Score! This meant that I could continue with my regular lower body training, increase upper body strengthening (an area found wanting) and focus on my diet to start the process of burning more fat. If my lower body muscle % had been lower, I would have significantly increased strength training for the lower body too. (Just realized, I don’t even remember what happened to my weight during that period)!
Fourth, celebrate weight loss, but make sure that you are losing the right weight.
Fifth, I know it is demotivating to step on a scale after months of effort and seeing little or no change. Make sure that you don’t lose focus on the right things.
You are fitter.
You are healthier.
You have more energy.
You have more control.
You are getting closer to becoming YOU.
If you want to read more, go to Nerd Fitness. Steve’s blog is very informative and extremely interesting to read! Love the lego pictures 🙂