Using a weighing scale as a weight loss indicator can be inaccurate, if not a little deceiving. We all know that our weight can fluctuate throughout the day but this does not stop us from hopping on and off the weighing scale hoping for a little more weight loss. Another factor is of course that some weighing scales can differ from others by a few pounds.
Obsession With The Weighing Scale
An obsession with the weighing scale is central to many problems encountered by those individuals who follow fad or crash diets, severely restrict their calorie intake or undertake hour upon hour of cardiovascular activity. Although a weighing scale is a good weight loss indicator this should not be an individual’s only means of monitoring progress in any diet or exercise campaign. The overall goal should be to be fit and healthy as opposed to lose weight fast in general. Losing weight can in fact actually be a bad thing, especially if you have lost weight at the expense of lean tissue such as muscle.
Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage is the only true way to measure the results of any diet and exercise regime, and a far better approach is to look at your percentage of body fat in comparison to your total weight. Once you begin to think in such a manner that daily obsession with the weighing scale becomes far less important. Although one pound of muscle and one pound of fat weigh exactly the same, they look somewhat different on the human body. Muscle is a lot less voluminous and takes up a lot less space on the body, giving a more slender and toned look. Increasing the ratio of muscle to fat can therefore make you look in better shape, even though the weighing scale may say you weigh more. On the other hand you can lose a significant amount of weight and look extremely out of shape.
Set Your Goals
Although hard to believe your goal should therefore never be to lose weight, it should always be to lose fat. In losing fat you will weigh less, but your overall goal should always be to maximize fat loss whilst minimizing muscle loss. If you lose a significant amount of muscle, you may find that your body fat percentage remains constant or has even marginally increased. In an ideal world your body fat percentage would decrease, with your weighing scale results remaining the same. This would mean that you are losing fat, without losing any precious muscle. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to achieve such a result, being to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. A more sensible goal would therefore be modest weight loss in conjunction with a decreased body fat percentage.
Alter Your Diet To Succeed
If you are losing weight, but not losing a significant amount of body fat, you may have to alter specific parts of your diet or exercise regime. In most cases you will have excessively restricted your calorie intake, with your body now resorting to using muscle as fuel. This can be the start of a downward spiral. Less muscle essentially means that you are actually burning a lessened amount of calories(how many calories does a person burn in a day?), and it is essential that you burn excess calories in any weight loss campaign. Visit our how many calories to lose weight page to learn more about burning calories and losing weight.
If you do still wish to use a weighing scale to monitor weight loss you should use the same one at approximately the same time every day. It may in fact actually be more beneficial to only use a weighing scale as a weight loss indicator once a week. This should give you a more accurate indication with regards to your overall weight loss progress. However, do remember that using a weighing scale as a weight loss indicator can be inaccurate and should not be the only method of monitoring the results of your diet and exercise regime.