6th January 2019
Author and weight loss coach Joanne Henson is fed up of personal trainers and nutritionists telling people to throw away their bathroom scales!
Here she explains why:
The current message from fitness and nutrition experts is that if you’re trying to lose weight you should throw away your scales – you shouldn’t be a slave to a number, it’s the “sad step”, go by what you can see in the mirror or how loose your jeans are, etc, etc.
So not only are you feeling fed up because you’re dieting, but now you’re feeling bad about wanting to monitor your weight loss too!
I get the general idea behind the advice – bodyweight doesn’t tell the full story because muscle is heavier than fat, so if you’re exercising your body composition is changing, and your bodyweight changes daily due to fluctuations in hydration levels.
But weight loss can be a hard slog, and I believe it’s important to know if you’re on the right track. So it’s important to measure weight loss, and if you’re losing weight sensibly and slowly that weight loss is going to happen in small increments. You are not going to see those small increments (say, a weekly loss of one or two pounds) in the mirror, and you probably won’t feel that small increment in how your clothes fit. So step on the scales. Accept that your weight may fluctuate, but if the general trend is downwards it can only be a good thing for you to be measuring and acknowledging that.
And about muscle being heavier than fat? Well if you have, say, 10lbs of fat to lose you’re not going to gain 10lbs of muscle to offset it, even if you are exercising hard. It’s very hard to gain lean muscle, particularly if you’re a woman, so chances are you’ll be losing a lot more fat than you are gaining muscle.
Stepping on the scales will enable you to effectively monitor your weight loss so don’t throw away those scales if that is your goal. Scales are the simplest and most convenient form of measurement you have. Use them as often as you like (try first thing in the morning for consistency). Keep in mind that your weight will fluctuate, and some days you’ll be heavier due to water retention or a treat meal the previous day, so don’t be disheartened by that. But over the course of a week you should be noticing a downward trend, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using scales to monitor and celebrate that.
Like this blog? There’s lots more great advice like this in Joanne’s book “Eating Healthily“