Seeing fluctuations in your daily weight can be frustrating. Whether you are losing weight with Phase 1 of Ideal Protein or keeping the weight off in Maintenance, it is important to recognize that our bodies are not designed to sustain the same weight throughout the course of the day. The human body is a dynamic, ever-changing entity, so you cannot expect to maintain a particular weight all day long, or day to day.
When you understand that and know that you will naturally weigh more on some days than on others (for instance, due to hormonal changes, water retention, etc.), then you are ready for a couple more realizations.
Here’s a typical case we encountered,
Often times we hear clients say, “I have been sticking to protocol and my clothes are fitting better. But the scale shows I’ve only lost three pounds in two weeks. I thought I was making great progress!”
Can you see how solely focusing on the number on the scale seemingly diminished ones excitement for maintaining healthy habits and feeling good about the progress made, making them doubt whether they are truly happy and on track?
Being too focused on the scale can make someone question their progress and whether or not staying the course is worth the effort. It can derail someone from making huge strides in a weight loss and health journey to feeling confused and discouraged.
This is why we want our dieters to be aware of the correct usage of a scale. Here are some tips that will help you maintain a healthy relationship with the scale when on a diet:
1. Avoid Weighing Yourself Every Day
Hopping onto the weighing scale every day can oftentimes be a demotivator. It can result in a wide range of emotions and frustration.
If you are trying to shed pounds, weighing yourself once per week is sufficient. Those who are not trying to lose weight but want to maintain, can even weigh once a month.
If on a weight loss journey such as Ideal Protein, we would advise that you weigh at a specific time on a particular day of each week. While weighing weekly, take into consideration the natural fluctuations that occur. Your weight at the end of some weeks may stay the same or even increase slightly. This is completely normal.
A lot of factors are involved when it comes to body weight. For instance, a person who is doing some strength training may not notice a significant difference weekly on the scale, but they may see big changes in his body composition and shape.
For healthy and sustainable weight, you need to look at the big picture instead of focusing on the short term. If you cannot seem to avoid weighing yourself every day, try to keep the scales where you can’t easily see them and only take them when you need to use them. Remember the popular saying, “out of sight is out of mind.”
…BUT, Don’t Avoid the Scale Completely
If you realize that you are running away from the scale and the thought of weighing frightens you, that is also an unhealthy relationship. One good way to overcome this feeling is to find out why.
Ideally, you should not see the scale as your friend or enemy but as one of the many tools to measure your weight loss progress and health.
2. Use Other Tools To Track Progress
Don’t base your progress on the scale alone. With Ideal Protein, our Coaches want you to consider alternative options like using a scale that enables you to check your body fat percentage, taking your measurements, or focusing on how your clothes are fitting. Another great tool during a weight loss journey is to take photos of yourself throughout the process. As a dieter, it is important to take a more holistic look at your health and overall well-being.
3. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
Your weight is your own.
Just because you have the same height and weight similar to another person does not mean you should have the same weight. It all boils down to how well your body weight is distributed and how much muscle you have versus body fat. Focusing on what someone else weight will not be productive to your own personal journey. We are all individuals and each persons weight loss journey will be individual as well.
4. The Scale and Maintenance
It takes a lot of work to lose weight, and the thought of regaining what you have already lost can be frightening. For this reason, members of the National Weight Control Registry (which collects data from people who have successfully lost 30 or more pounds) weigh themselves regularly (within reason) to ensure they are not gaining back the weight.
While this is a sensible way to track your progress, your body weight fluctuates throughout the day, week, or even month based on several factors. These include your hormonal state, stress levels, sleep quality, and your level of hydration, among others.
Therefore, when using a scale to keep the pounds off, try to give yourself a range of about 3 to 5 pounds that you are okay to be within. You should not be concerned unless your weight starts to slowly creep past the range you are comfortable with. If it does, it is time to reevaluate your habits and determine what shifts may need to occur.
5. Concentrate on Your Habits, Not Just the Number on the Scale
This is a huge point. The things you need to achieve weight loss are basically the same as what you need to maintain it: eating well and moderately and moving throughout the course of the day.
These are the habits that result in both outcomes. The only thing that changes is their level of intensity, depending on how your goals change with time. Adopting these healthy habits may seem daunting since a high level of discipline and planning is needed. However, the benefits are almost immediate in Phase 1.
For instance, eating healthy increases the energy level in the body, exercise causes the release of natural stress relievers (endorphins), and you experience an increased sense of pride for taking care of yourself. So, you don’t need the scale to budge to believe you are making progress. Concentrate on what you are doing to live a better and healthier life, and you won’t bother as much about whether the scale indicates you are losing weight or not.
The fact that someone looks healthy does not mean that he/she truly is. As diet and health coaches, it is heartbreaking to see a person who is working extremely hard to improve themselves, only to base their success or failure on the number on the scale.
Because of this, we have summed up some basic concepts to prevent you from placing too much importance on what the scale says:
1. Importance of Body Composition Over Body Weight
A person’s body composition is a better indicator of his health than any reading from a scale may be.
It is common knowledge that having a body fat percentage of more than 32% (that is, when more than 32% of your body is made up of fat) can result in many health issues, including joint pain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and more.
We have seen some of our clients get rid of body fat and build muscle without experiencing any changes in their weight. Does this mean that they are not making progress? Certainly, no! But they would have been frustrated if they had been using the scale as the only measure of their success or failure.
Therefore, it is important to measure your body composition so you don’t get demotivated when the scales don’t seem to budge. Look for other ways to track your progress in order to have the full picture of what is happening within your body, not just your weight.
2. The Importance of Habits.
Your body requires consistent and proactive care from you on a daily basis, and no reading on the scale will make this less important or true.
Sleeping well, eating quality whole foods, hydrating, changing your mindset, and staying active throughout the day are not just things you “may require” to be healthy. They are exactly what your body needs to remain vibrant and full of life.
If you are putting in the hard work to improve your health – and you are more energetic, sleeping better, feeling more powerful, and your clothes are starting to fit better, stop attaching too much importance to the number on the scale.
If you are judging your success based on the reading from the scale alone, there is a greater chance that you will not be able to complete your health journey. This is because no movement on the weighing scale will mean no progress to you, which is false.
3. Shifts in Weight Will Always Occur.
The scale may not be the evil device many of us think it is. Perhaps, we have been using it the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.
We think that the scale can offer valuable insights into the inflammatory responses our body may be dealing with because of our lifestyle choices. If a client who has been following healthy lifestyle habits gains about 5 pounds or more within a short time, we carry out some investigation to figure out the possible cause of that inflammation (A sudden weight gain of up to 5 pounds is abnormal).
Here are some things you will want to consider to know the cause of an inflammatory response:
- Can you think of any food you ate recently that was not part of your usual diet? Food can lead to inflammation.
- Have you been taking more sodium than usual? An elevated amount of sodium in the body can cause inflammation.
- Have you made any changes to your exercise routine? Highly-demanding workouts can cause an inflammatory response.
- Are you not drinking enough water? Dehydration can lead to inflammation.
- Is your menstruation around the corner? Hormones can cause inflammation.
- Are you feeling well? Illness can lead to inflammation.
- Do you get enough sleep? Inadequate sleep can lead to an inflammatory response in the body.
- Are you more stressed than usual? An increase in your stress level can cause inflammation.
The number on the scale isn’t the absolute measurement of your weight loss progress. Rather, it’s an indicator of your progress. Leaning too much on weighing yourself can lead to disappointment and discourage you even when you are on the right track. This is why you should treat this tool as a tool and not as the ultimate judge of your weight loss journey.
What really matters is that you are happier, sleeping better and feeling more energetic.
If you are planning to lose those extra pounds and get healthier, we can definitely help you reach your goals. Set up a Free Consultation with our experienced Coaches to learn more.