The Truth about Weighing scales:

I don’t think I’m being too controversial here by saying that women definitely hold more emotional attachment to the weighing scales than men.

It’s almost this notion that a lb of scales weight lost is a lb closer to the ideal figure.

But despite weighing scales being the method that many use to measure progress when seeking to improve body composition, it quite simply isn’t the an accurate representation of this.

There are so many factors that make your weight fluctuate on a daily basis. These include…

Time of the month:

Water retention is…

Lowest in week 1

Second lowest in week 3

Highest in week 4

Second highest in week 2

Higher carbohydrate intake:

This causes your muscles to retain more glycogen / water. The ideal amount of this is good thing, will help you perform better in the gym and also give your muscles a firmer look.

Higher Salt intake:

Again, causes your body to retain more water.

Meal intake:

If you’ve had a large meal recently that hasn’t fully digested the scales can be slightly higher.

Bathroom break:

If your have successfully completed an excrement your weight will drop slightly 💩

Stress:

Can lead to increased readings of scales weight

Logistics:

Have you weighed yourself at the same time of day and on same weighing scales in same place? Even small details like the floor you are standing on can lead to inconsistent readings.

All of the above can make scales fluctuate but it is not weight loss which will get you closer to to your ideal figure, its FAT LOSS!

5lbs of muscles is much denser than 5lbs of fat, meaning it takes up far less space. It’s also much firmer, resulting in a more toned figure.

Maintaining muscle and losing fat is best achieved through a calorie deficit, adequate protein intake and resistance training. Other factors such as sleep, stress management play an important role. Cardiovascular exercise certainly helps but is not essential.

The best methods I would recommend to measure successful fat loss are…

Progress pics:

Take a pic of yourself head on and to the side. Follow the above guidelines and you will have a visual record of your progress. You don’t need to show these to anybody.

Clothes feeling looser:

This is an excellent indication that your body is loosing fat and not muscle.

The great thing about these two methods is they are very reliable, practical and non – invasive.

Body composition calipers can also be useful but in my experience, most women don’t relish the thought of taking off their clothes and having their fat pinched. Personally, I would never force anybody to do this and would only do so upon request…a very rare occurrence!

I was only having a discussion with one of my female trainees about this topic (which inspired this blog). She has been training with me since he beginning of the new year. Her scales weight has barely changed but she notices her clothes are much looser, particularly around shoulders, arms and stomach.

This to me is an excellent indication of fat loss and is actually what you want to significantly improve your figure.

By retaining (and developing muscle) you will…

Have a higher metabolism so you burn more calories, even when you are doing things like watching tv or sleeping!

Be able to eat more calories without gaining fat

Will have a better capacity for carbohydrate and be able to eat more of them 😋

Be stronger, both in the gym and in life in general

More than likely have dense, strong and healthy bones. Optimizing bone density is of paramount importance for women.

Overall health markers will be much improved.

In contrast, this woman’s friend has joined a “slimming club” and had lost weight but not seen any improvements in her figure. Chances are in this case it was mostly muscle she had lost and you can reverse the points I just mentioned above…

So to conclude. Please don’t place so much emphasis on the weighing scales. It simply isn’t what to measure to get you closer to your ideal figure. I know it’s a hard concept to grasp as so many are so emotionally attached to it but trust me – eat your protein and veggies, do your resistance training and earn your carbs, move around in daily life as much as possible, manage your sleep and stress and with consistency and patience you’ll get there. Try to enjoy the journey as well as being motivated to achieve the result.

Track progress with pics and how your clothes feel 😉

Thanks for reading,

Paul Taylor PT

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