Go Head to Head with Your Scale
Scales are sometimes our friend, and sometimes our foes. Learn how to read the numbers and find if your workout/diet is actually making progress.
In a society where most are looking to get rich quick and just want to do something and get it done, why wouldn’t we carry the same expectations for weight loss?
When it comes to going on a diet, everyone is looking for the fastest method possible. When we get this desire to do all that is necessary to drop the weight, including fad diets and drastic measures, our gut instincts can often tell us that this method may not be such a good idea.
This leads to aggravation, and causes even more aggravation when you start to measure your progress. Keeping track of your weight loss is good, but stepping on the scale can make things that much more stressful.
Can You Believe the Numbers?
The scale can be your biggest ally or it can be your biggest enemy.
When you see your weight jump up a couple of pounds overnight, it can make you want to scream and could cause you to reach for comfort in your junk food stash. On the contrary, when you see your scale drop three pounds in one day, you can also be falsely encouraged.
Here’s what really happens when the scale goes down…or up.
When you measure weight loss, it is important to know what type of body tissue is being broken down. You can see drops on the scale when you lose water, fat, muscle and any other type of connective tissue.
Fluid Loss or Fat Loss?
Initially, a small drop in water often occurs at the beginning of any weight loss program, and this is normal. But weight loss that occurs because of dropping body fluid is not necessarily healthy. You need to be fully hydrated day in and day out, especially if you like to work up a sweat while you exercise.
The best time to jump on the scale is actually first thing in the morning. This is the best reflection of what your true weight is.
Depending on the person, weight can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds from the beginning of the day to the end.
Don’t freak out, though!
This is largely comprised of water and bowel matter from foods you’ve eaten all day. It is very unlikely that you could put on 5 pounds of dense fatty tissue in a day.
Fat Loss Should be Your Goal
Despite what you’ve heard, all fat tissue is not “bad.” But, this is also the type of tissue that we want to get rid of. This causes those unflattering fat deposits that makes our clothes fit tighter, and that make our waistlines a little wider.
Other than these negative effects, fat also has a number of important functions in our bodies. Adipose tissue, or body fat, helps insulate your body, protects vital organs, makes up cushions in joints, and also provides energy to your cells after all available glucose in your bloodstream has been consumed.
Lean Muscle Needs to Remain
The worst thing about fad diets and rapid weight loss programs is that they can cause you to lose muscle tissue, or lean body mass, while you are losing weight. This happens when you don’t conserve enough protein or calories.
When a person goes on an unsupervised 500 calorie diet, for example, there aren’t enough calories to fuel the increased demands of the body, or to maintain the structure of your muscles. This causes your metabolism to slow down, and decreases your ability to lose weight in the future.
This can lead to the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. Each time you gain, you are composed of less muscle and more fat. The best way to prevent this from happening is to consume the right amount of adequate lean protein every day. Your dietitian can inform you if you are hitting your targets, or falling a little short.