Friday, October 17, 2014

Live By the Scale, Die By the Scale

It's the golden standard measurement for all fitness and diet programs.  Your weight is the primary number you start with, keep track of, and end with to prove your progress.  We set benchmarks....going below 300 lbs, 200, 180, whatever.  We set goals of what we would like to weigh.  There are charts that tell you if you weigh over this number for your age and height, you are fat, fat, fat.  There is even a TV show contest to see which morbidly obese contestant can lose the most pounds before totally ruining their health for a money prize.  It's all about the pounds.  It's about what you weigh.

One thing's just a number.  It really means nothing. Yes it's a measure, but only one of many, and not even a really important one at that.   Much more important are measurements of your body such as your waist, arms, chest, etc.  These will show you where you are losing fat and gaining muscle.  Measuring your bodyfat percentage is also very helpful in giving you a realistic picture of your body composition.  There is also medical measurements of your blood that can tell you loads of things that are critical to the ongoing health and care of your body.

Yet all those things take time and money.  It's the very epitome of instant gratification to step on a scale and see a number...even though the number tells you nothing.  You can gain weight by drinking water.  You can lose weight by not drinking water.  You may weigh more at one time of the day than another.  Your scale may be inaccurate or the battery is low.  There are many reasons for weight fluctuations of several pounds.  I've stepped on my scale and then stepped on it again ten seconds later and have gotten different readings.

My advice.  Forget the scale.  Pay attention to how your body looks and feels.  A mirror is a better measurement than how many pounds you weigh.  Look at it this way....nobody is going to notice that you weigh five pounds less than you did last month.  They will, however, notice that your biceps seem to be getting large or that your tummy is flattening out.

That type of gratification beats any number you may see on a scale.

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