Do the numbers on the scale really matter?

How often do you weigh yourself? Do you get annoyed at yourself when the reading on the scales is higher than ‘normal’? Some people weigh themselves everyday and often can have a good or a bad day judging by the numbers on the scale. But what do the numbers on the scale really mean? What does it actually tell us?

The scales take a measurement. They show the weight of whatever is placed upon it. Therefore when we weigh ourselves, the scales measure all of us - our skin, bones, muscle, organs, fat, etc. The scale does not tell you specifically how much muscle you have, or how much fat you have, it just gives you a total number. But why are we so hung up over this number? Why does it mean so much to so many people? It is just a number after all.

Imagine this, 2 people each weighing 70kg. Person no. 1 has 25% body fat, doesn’t eat well or train. Person no. 2 has 15% body fat, eats whole foods, trains hard and has more muscle mass. If you were to compare the two people by their weight, it does not tell you much at all. But if you were to look at their body shape, they would be completely different. Person no. 2 would be more defined due to them having more muscle mass and less body fat, but they both weigh the same.

Often when someone is trying to lose weight, they eat well and train, and they weigh themselves daily. For the first few weeks, they may be losing 1-2kg per week but then after the initial period, the weight loss decreases, and so the scales don’t change much. For people also lifting weights, the scales may not change much if they are losing weight and putting on muscle mass simultaneously. However, their body shape is changing. Their body is becoming more defined, their clothes are getting looser and they have more energy. But every time they step on the scales, they get annoyed as the numbers are not decreasing.

Too often we judge ourselves by the numbers on the scales. But is this really the best way to judge ourselves? Is it the best way to love ourselves? The scale just gives us a number. The number doesn’t mean anything other than the total weight of our whole body. It does not tell us how healthy we are, or how fit we are, or how strong we are. It doesn’t tell us a lot of things but still a lot of people are hung up over the number.

A better assessment would be to get a body scan done which does a full analysis of your body composition, and will tell you what your body fat percentage is, how much lean mass you have, muscle mass, and body measurements. If you are not able to get a scan done, then an easier way is to do measurements on yourself and then repeat this every month or 6 weeks. Also taking photos of yourself is a great way to see the changes. Photos don’t lie right?! But honestly, comparing 2 photos is a better way to see your progress than numbers on a scale. Another way to check your progress is from how your clothes fit. Do they feel looser? Do you need to pull your belt another notch tighter? Are your tops getting looser? This is a better test than standing on a set of scales.

So next time you think about stepping on the scales, have a think about what you actually want. A number is good to know but when you define yourself and criticise yourself about this, that’s when there is an issue.

My best recommendation is to throw the scales out. Don’t weigh yourself. Eat organic wholefoods. Do some form of movement everyday for at least 20 mins. Get at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night. Do some form of relaxation everyday and ground yourself.

FYI, I haven’t weighed myself for years. I just make sure my clothes still fit comfortably, eat well and train.

 

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