We have all heard this before. Heck, I’ve probably said it before. “Don’t worry about your scale!” “throw the scale away!” “The scale is a source of pain and anguish”…
But is it really time to completely throw away the scale? Or time to create a new relationship with the scale, and also add more tools to our toolbox of progress?
Do we need the scale? No. But does the scale help. Yes.
First, we need to remember that the scale is only one tool to measure progress, and in many cases might not be the BEST tool to assess progress by.
Would you try to build a house with just a hammer? I hope not. We use multiple tools to measure, cut, drill, build and repair things all the time – so why just go off of one tool for progress.
The scale can more for MANY reasons besides fat loss – as I wrote about here.
The scale matters more when you have more to lose.
Let’s say you are 300 pounds. The scale will be a good indicator of progress if your goal is fat loss. We want to see an average weight change of 1-2 pounds per week.
Let’s say you are 140 pounds, pretty lean, but wanting to look more muscular. The scale might not be the best thing to base progress on.
I and many others in the industry have seen this first hand – especially with women – they barely move the scale, or even the scale goes up, but they achieve their desired physique.
Don’t believe me? Just google search “gained weight, looks better” to see some pretty cool transformations.
In regards to the goal of losing body fat, the scale CAN be helpful – so we cannot throw it out quite yet. However, as referenced in my other article – our relationship with it needs to change.
- Go off of weekly averages – not day to day changes.
- Weigh yourself ONLY first thing in the AM, naked, with an empty bladder.
- Look at the number, jot it down, then move on.
These are the only ways you should be using the scale.
Now – on to what ELSE we can use.
Measurements – especially around the areas where you carry the most fat mass can be very good metrics to follow.
You don’t need to take these every day, that would be silly. But once per week or every other week is a great start.
Clothes Test – are your clothes fitting better? Did you have to tighten up a notch on your belt? Is your shirt looking more like a dress? Chances are, things are happening!
This one is very common to see without much weight loss.
Pictures – nobody likes seeing themselves half-naked in front of a mirror or camera when they don’t feel their best. However, just take the damn pictures and store them somewhere.
You see yourself every day. It is hard to notice changes. When you have pictures to reference and look back to THEN you can be shocked at the changes you see.
Performance – Who said it has to be all about looks? Maybe right now is the time you focus on building strength? Building endurance? Building confidence?
Track your workouts, track your big lifts, and focus on getting stronger!
*However – you should keep monitoring at least one physical metric – because you can get a lot stronger, but also gain a lot of body fat in the process if you don’t watch it (I know from personal experience 🙂
How would one go about all of this?
Create a personal spreadsheet file – track these things:
- Bodyweight (daily with weekly averages)
- Measurements (every other week of 3 target areas)
- Pictures (front, back, side – weekly)
- Workout data (as needed)
- Some form of dietary intake – macros, portions, etc.
- Other things going on – was it a stressful week? Was it a sick week? Was it a great week?
The first 5 things you will track are objective in nature. Number based stuff really.
However, the 6th component – is very subjective – but could be the most important.
All of the objective stuff did not go the way you planned, but you feel like you did great with your food? Look at the other stuff – stress, immune system, sleep, etc.
…and then this is the important part…
DO. NOT. PANIC.
The scale didn’t move, but you nailed your nutrition, workouts, and everything in between – BUT you were sick, sleep-deprived or stressed. Cool.
Keep hitting your training (or give yourself a little rest) and your nutrition – and focus on improving your stress management, sleep, etc – and I guarantee your results will show.
Oh, and one last thing…and maybe even more important.
THESE CHANGES DON’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT, IN ONE WEEK, or EVEN IN 12 WEEKS!
If you expect them to, or if you do what you have to do to get crazy results in a short time period, you will be very disappointed in the end results. I cannot, and will not, stop stressing this point.
Play the long game. The long long game. When you do this, you will find a method and a path that is not only successful but sustainable for life.
Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way?
Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!