Is A Scale Accurate When It Comes to Weight Loss Progress?

Can You Lean Out Without the Scale Moving?

When most people think of losing weight, they first think of their troublesome “problem areas” – arms, waistline, “the muffin top,” thighs, and backside. Some of us may think back to a time and weight when we didn’t have these problem areas and associate a past weight on the scale with success.

While this reference point may be helpful mentally, it doesn’t reflect the full picture and can guide you straight down a rabbit hole instead of moving you closer to your goal.

So, What’s the Truth About Weight and Weight Loss?

It’s not all about the scale (in the traditional sense). It’s possible to get slimmer without seeing a change in your weight. The subtle slimdown happens when you are losing fat and gaining muscle or losing fat and retaining muscle.

If you are on a diet, this can be mind-bending, but we promise you that this may actually be a good thing.

If your weight on the scale isn’t moving, and that’s your only reference point, you may abandon your weight loss diet prematurely.

A Traditional Scale Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

A traditional scale measures pounds but doesn’t delineate muscle, fat, organ weight, and even water weight.

Take an athlete; for instance, they may weigh a lot on a scale but can fit into smaller-sized clothing. This higher weight on the scale doesn’t mean they are overweight, but if that’s the focal point, you can see how deceiving this may be.

Scale weight as a sole indicator is why BMI alone is not a good reference point for weight loss. Instead, the focus should be on body composition.

Your Weight Fluctuates Dramatically – All Day, Every Day

For those that weigh themselves regularly, you know that the scale varies throughout the day. If you weigh yourself multiple times in the same day, you may be shocked to see your weight fluctuate by as much as 8-10 pounds depending on:

  • What you have eaten
  • How much you’ve had to drink
  • Whether you went to the bathroom
  • What you did for a workout
  • Where you are in your menstrual cycle

Is That Scale Number Real? No, It Lies If That’s Your Sole Marker for Progress

If you are embarking on a weight loss journey, the scale alone may not be the best tool for tracking your progress.

If we think about weight loss vs fat loss, fat loss creates permanent changes in your body composition. It reduces the fat and inches and maintains your metabolism. If you focus on the scale, you may stray unnecessarily. Why?

  • It can derail your progress: We’ve all been there, on track with our weight loss diet plan and exercise program, and then a bad weigh-in. If you’ve been doing everything right and then step on the scale, you may think your program isn’t working. What’s worse, seeing that number can change how you feel about yourself. Step on the scale first thing in the morning, and if that number is higher than expected, your day may head downhill fast.
  • The scale shows everything: No bowel movement, sufficient nutrition that maintains muscle, like on Ideal Protein or drinking all of your water for the day does not reflect the hard-won results of your progress.
  • It doesn’t align with other indicators: 5 pounds on the scale doesn’t reflect the whole story when it comes to reaching your goals. Take a comparison of losing 5 pounds – would you rather lose 5 pounds of muscle (the size of a softball) or 5 pounds of fat (the size of a football)?
  • It’s not reflective of your health: We’ve all heard the term skinny fat, and a regular scale can’t tell the difference. The fat mass itself can be harmful as that is where we store excess toxins and hormones. This excess fat can carry hormonal health consequences outside of an aesthetic picture, whether it is insulin or estrogen.
  • It doesn’t reflect lasting changes: When we maintain muscle mass while losing weight, we are maintaining our metabolism. Finding the right diet is so essential to keeping your results. We focus our clients on fat mass and fat loss while maintaining lean mass when it comes to healthy weight loss.

Knowing the difference between losing weight and losing fat will change both how you see your progress, and frankly, it is also telling about your likelihood of maintaining your weight loss after the diet.

How Should We Monitor the Success of Your Weight Loss Diet Plan?

Our clients on the Ideal Protein ketogenic diet achieve empowering results by having many reference points for tracking their protocol success. Our Ideal Protein dieters monitor:

  • Weight loss on the scale
  • Fat loss (via body composition analysis which measures lean mass, fat mass and hydration index)
  • Inch loss by tracking physical measurement
  • Trying on goal garments
  • And taking pictures.

Weight Loss Can Backfire If the Focus is Only on the Scale

A study published in the official journal of The Obesity The society (Obesity) discussed metabolism, long-term weight loss, and weight loss vs. fat loss.

This scientific study received plenty of attention not only in the medical world but also in a weight loss competition, commonly known as “The Biggest Loser” competition.

Researchers evaluated the body composition of 14 participants in the game during three stages of their weight loss program: before they began the program, after they have completed the program, and six years after the weight loss competition has ended.  The results obtained from this study showed that the participants regained an average weight of 90 pounds within six years.

But Why Did These Participants Regain the Weight They Had Lost?

The source of this weight regain was that while these people believed they were consuming the right foods for their new bodies, they were also unknowingly suppressing their metabolism. So, even though they were eating “right,” they started regaining fat.

Failing after achieving their weight loss goal was a very demoralizing thing for these contestants, being famous and watched live on TV.

On the other hand, the viewers were disappointed to see the people they admired and tried to copy failing while also battling their own weight loss issues.

Here’s the good news: the publicized failure of these participants brings the way people see weight loss (in terms of measured results, not in terms of “fat loss”). It opens the conversation to cultivate healthy lifestyle habits and healthy eating for people with weight loss issues.

So, What Have You Learned About Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss?

If tracking your results by the scale alone is working against you, put it away, or include it as ONE of the parameters you use to track your progress. Ultimately, we don’t carry a scale around with us in life, because it is not the best reflection of our progress or health.

Do you have any other questions concerning weight loss vs. fat loss? BioIntelligent Wellness offers a 15-minute complimentary consultation to answer any questions you may have. Click here to schedule.

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