First and foremost, this blog is going to explain why you need to stop giving a f*ck about the scale. Seriously. No joy ever comes from getting on that little plastic square, so why set yourself up for that disappointment? I know it is a bad habit to break, and most people do it strictly out of habit and not out of obsession…but it still isn’t healthy. So while you are still obsessing about the number on the scale and wanting it so badly to go down, I am going to explain to you a few body composition changes the scale won’t show you!
Believe it or not, the scale doesn’t show exactly what is going on in your body ay any given time. All it shows is how heavy you are, in total, for whatever reason. And if you are weighing yourself, I hope you know the human body is much more complex than that. And if you don’t, I am going to tell you…
What is Body Composition
“Body composition is the proportion of fat and non-fat mass in your body. A healthy body composition is one that includes a lower percentage of body fat and a higher percentage of non-fat mass, which includes muscle, bones, and organs.”
The reason you want a lower body fat percentage is to decrease your risk of chronic disease and other health concerns. The more body fat you have the higher your risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes!
Body fat percentage is the percentage of fat you have on your body in proportion to everything else.
Non-fat mass is the percentage of everything else that includes muscle, bone, water, tissue, organs etc.
Many people believe that “muscle weighs more than fat” but this is untrue. 1 pound of muscle still weights the same as 1 pound of fat. What I assume people mean is that muscle is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space. So two people who weight the same on the scale could look completely different.
Which is why we are going to chat about a few things the scale doesn’t show you!
What the Scale Won’t Show You
Three things (and I am sure there are more) that the scale won’t explain to you, but instead throw and arbitrary number out there that can actually mean very little.
#1: How much muscle vs. fat you have
The scale is going to give you one number. One total number of how much your body weights, without any internal insight. We already know muscle is more dense than fat, so if you are working out and gaining muscle tissue, the scale is going to just increase. This can definitely mess with your head and make you think you are not making any progress, which is another reason to stay off the scale and use different means of tracking progress!
#2: You ate a meal out last night and you are holding extra water
This is a big one! Many people assume that having a night out, or a weekend, or even a week, that when the scale goes up 4-5lbs that all progress has been lost and that is all body fat. Well, that is usually not the case. That weight is typically just extra water weight the body is holding because of increased salt intake. When we eat out, we eat foods we don’t normally, so we get inflamed and hold water until a few days later. If you give yourself some time, the scale will typically go back to where it was prior to the meal/weekend!
#3: You haven’t yet had a bowel movement
Yes, this actually makes a difference! I am sharing this one because of how arbitrary the scale is. It will literally be a higher number if you haven’t yet had your bowl movement for the day….yikes. That can really mess with your head!
Extra: You are on your cycle
When you are on your cycle (obviously females only, haha), water retention is again at an all time high! Not only that but your hormones are all over the place causing the body to just be in a different space than usual. The scale is going to fluctuate probably even from hour to hour and not just day to day! Unfortunately, the scale doesn’t shout that you should STAY OFF during the time of the month…because fluctuations can be upwards of 10lbs!
Extra extra: You didn’t get much sleep last night
Sleep is crucial for recovery and hormones, and if we don’t get enough of it our bodies still feel like they are “on the move” and we never get back to balance. You have to think of it as charging your phone. If it isn’t plugged in long enough, the battery doesn’t fully charge and then all day you are running on old battery life. That is what your hormones do, too!
See, simple things can make the scale jump around like crazy. And while you are worried about it moving up or down because it gives you some kind of sense of accomplishment, remember that it doesn’t tell the whole story. The body is extremely complex, so to determine your worth or how your day goes on an arbitrary number you see at your feet is just not healthy. The scale can definitely be used as a tool to propel you in the right direction of weight loss, but you have to also be looking into other means of measurement like how you feel, where your energy is at, what your workouts feel like and more! Health and weight loss is a lot more than what the scale says.
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