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WHY SCALES ARE MISLEADING AND UNHEALTHY TO FIXATE ON AS A MEASUREMENT FOR YOUR FITNESS SUCCESS

Written By Camilla Akerberg 22 Mar 2021
WHY SCALES ARE MISLEADING AND UNHEALTHY TO FIXATE ON  AS A MEASUREMENT FOR YOUR FITNESS SUCCESS

Time to ditch the scales and focus on the bigger picture for your fitness success.

Why measuring your fitness success with scales might not be the best option…

As a trainer and performance nutrition coach I work with many clients around the world trying to lose weight. Many people tend to get fixated on the number shown on the scales which can both be misleading and create an unhealthy relationship with your body. Shift the attention from the scales and focus on creating healthy habits, making movement and healthy eating choices a lifestyle you love. 

Why scales can create an unhealthy relationship with your body

  1. GETTING FIXATED ON SOMETHING THAT CAN BE MISLEADING

If you are training and eating healthy, and the number on the scales don’t move as you wish it to- you may feel disappointed and even wanting to give up. Scales don’t tell what’s actually happening within your body. You may be getting results without you even realizing- so shift your thoughts on the lifestyle and feeling good, healthy and energized inside out. 

  1. COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS- OUR BODES ARE ALL DIFFERENT

I often have girls and women asking me why my weight is. And this will help you to know because? Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all so different. We have different genetics, a different body types, different bone structures, different metabolism speeds, hormonally we are different, our bodies react differently to training and nutrition to one another. Stop comparing. Focus on your lifestyle. Focus on finding your balance.

  1. HEALTH IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE NUMBER ON THE SCALES

Health is not a number. It’s how you feel, how you think of yourself and appreciate and treat yourself and others around you. Health is being happy in the moments, health is being happy within yourself. Fuel your body with nutrients your body’s needs. If you are stressed, look into ways how you can minimize this. Get enough sleep. Drink enough water. Move around- our bodies are built for movement <3

More to why scales to measure your results may be misleading:

  1. BODY COMPOSITION- MUSCLE WEIGHTS MORE THAN FAT!

Muscle weights more than fat. I have had clients with incredible transformations who didn’t lose much weight on the scales- but their bodies completely changed. If you are regularly training, the chance is that you are building muscle mass. You will also be losing fat, but you are gaining something with more weight.

Why you want muscle? Having more muscle will make you look more toned, look more fit (girls don’t be afraid of weights, they have been a big part to thank for my personal fitness results). With more muscle mass in comparison to fat- your metabolism will also be quicker… and you will be strong and capable to do so many everyday tasks in life. Strong is cool.

  1. DAILY/ MONTHYL WEIGHT FLUCTUATION IS NORMAL

Your weight naturally fluctuates during the day between morning and night. It fluctuates from day to day and during the month, if you’re a female, your menstrual cycle will also impact your weight.

Fluctuations can be due to if you have drank or eaten beforehand or not, natural hormonal fluctuations (like due to our menstruation cycle), water retention due foods and drinks. Alcohol, salt, unhealthy meals and even some healthy foods can make your body hold on to water and weight more. Read more about why we bloat and how to fix it here: https://camillaakerberg.com/blogs/news/why-we-bloat-and-ways-to-cure-it

  1. HORMONE IMBALANCES DUE TO STRESS, LACK OF SLEEP AND OTHER LIFESTYLE FACTORS

You might be on the track with your training but there are other health issues that may be affecting your results. Some hormonal fluctuations, like our monthly menstruation cycle, is completely natural and normal. Your age and sex will also affect your hormones. There are also many outside factors that can affect our hormone levels. One of the most common ones being stress and having excess cortisol levels in our body. Cortisol stimulates the metabolism for fat and carbohydrates, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of excess cortisol in your body due to stress in your life can be an increase in appetite and can cause cravings for sweet, high-fat, and salty foods. Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep can also cause issues for your fitness results. Lack of sleep increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin. In a way, your body will try to increase energy from food instead of the sleep you should be getting…which could lead to overeating and weight gain. 

What are better ways to measuring your fitness success?

  1. DEXA SCAN

A DEXA scan is one of the most in-depth measurement methods you can do- it will tell you exactly how much muscle mass/ fat tissue you hold in different areas of your body. It will also tell you important information such as your bone mineral density which reduces as we age and cholesterol. DEXA scans are a great way to track fitness progress over time and also prevent issues before they happen. Discuss further with your GP.

  1. PHOTOS

One of the best ways to track your progress is with photos. You tend to forget how you looked one month ago haha

. Taking photos will give you a visual view of your body. You might have gained muscle mass and lost fat- so the weight might not differ a lot- but the way your body is looking is changing. Things to remember when you take your progress photos:

  • Do it at the same time every month- use the 1st or 2nd day of the month
  • Wear the same swimwear/ underwear/sports bra & shorts for all your progress photos. (easier to see changes!)
  • Use a mirror or do self-timer on your phone or camera and take them in the same location each time at a place that has nice, even light
  • Same time of day, for example as soon as you wake up or straight after your morning workout
    - Good lighting. Nice and even lighting. Make sure there's no harsh shadows on you.
  • Same poses (front, back, side, flex if you want!)
  1. TAKE MEASUREMENTS

Measurements can give you an idea of where you have lost cm’s/ inches. This is a better way to see if you have lost fat than the scales, however it will only show you a number and not determine your body composition changes completely.

  1. HOW DO YOUR CLOTHES FIT?

This is something you may experience when you step on a scale and see that there's no change. Maybe your clothes are fitting differently so you know something is happening, but the scale just isn't showing those changes.

  1. HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Health is so much more than just a number. When you step on the scale it will simply show you one number, and you are weighing every tissue along with the food you ate and the glass of water you just drank. Focus on feeling good. Fall in love with the lifestyle of moving your body around and choosing healthy meal options. Get enough sleep. Drink enough water. Create healthy habits and the fat-loss results will then feel as a bonus. Be happy in this moment of your life. Don’t chase happiness or plan it for the future. Life is NOW.

 

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