Scales....most of us own one or two of them...most of us have a love/hate relationship with them...and to many of us, our day is either made or broke by what the scale says. Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are definitely not alone. Weight scales are often used way to much as the total measurement on how a particular weight loss journey is going. If the scale isn't going down in numbers we must be failing right? Not exactly, but to many of us that is what we go by. There is so much more going on during a weight loss journey besides numbers going up or down. The scale can be a great tool to utilize and gauge how we are doing if used properly. It doesn't have to be the enemy and make or break days. If used properly it can be a powerful ally in attaining weight loss goals and maintaining those goals.
First and foremost, if you are going to be using a scale you need a good one that is accurate and functioning properly. Nothing will deflate your motivation quicker than a scale that is inaccurate and giving false information. A good scale can be a little pricey but is worth the money if you plan on utilizing its information on a regular basis. There are scales available now that pair with your smart phone that will give a more accurate picture of all the information provided to give a more clear progress picture. Of course you do not have to get the most expensive scale money can buy to get good accurate results. Just do some research and find one that will fit your needs and goals. The most important factor is quality and accuracy.
The next point that is crucial to examine is that numbers aren't everything. During a weight loss journey we always want to see the scale moving in a downward direction but it is important to note that numbers can be deceiving and shouldn't be the only progress factor. On any typical week a person can see a scale fluctuation of anywhere between 1 to 3 pounds and sometimes more in either direction. Why? The reason can be varied but can include water retention, muscle inflammation, muscle gains, constipation and many other normal day to day fluctuations. To get a true accurate picture of what the scale is telling you, a good practice to try is to weigh yourself daily, at the same time in the morning, in the same clothes (or naked), and take the average of the seven days as your true weight. This will give a clearer picture of that weeks weight trend. Always remember, numbers can be deceiving and shouldn't be the only determining factor in weight loss success.
Another way to accurately gauge a weight loss journey success in conjunction with the scale is to take weekly body measurements. So many times when we see the scale number go up we automatically assume we are failing. But, is that really true? What are your body measurements telling you? Did you see an increase in scale numbers but body measurements go down? If that is the case, the scale number is deceiving you into thinking there is weight gain when really what you did was decrease fat and add lean muscle. Did your measurements not move and the scale also went up? This would be a time to reevaluate diet and take a closer look at where some improvements could be made. Was it a stressful week? Stress can reek havoc on our bodies and can be a source of weight gain without even changing anything with our diet or exercise routine. Getting enough sleep at night can be another source of weight loss struggles.
The most important thing to remember is in the end the number on the scale is just a number. It does not define who we are or define whether we are a success or failure. Taking steps to better ourselves and creating happier, healthier versions of ourselves is far more important than what any scale number will tell us. There are always going to be times when the scale shows us numbers we don't want to see. How we choose to utilize that information is entirely up to us. The scale is just one of many tools available to help along the way.