Bathroom Scales are a great invention to keep a track of your body weight in the convenience of your own home, away from prying eyes and judgement.  You can sneak in, quickly jump on the scales and in less than 2 seconds you’ll be able to get a reading that will either make or break your entire day.  We have become so affected by a couple of numbers on the scales that it literally shifts the balance of our energy throughout that day, and sometimes days after that as well.  How many times have you been having a great day when all of a sudden you decide to weigh yourself and your whole day turns sour just because the scales shows you’ve gained a kilo or 2 from last week?  And how many times have you been having a bad day, weighed yourself to add more pain, but then turned your whole day around because the scales say you’ve lost weight?

 

Although the bathroom scales are an easy and quick way to determine your body weight, this method of tracking can be quite flawed due to the following reasons:

 

  • You’re not measuring at the same time of the day or under the same conditions – your body weight can fluctuate by a couple of kilos throughout the day.  You’ll be lightest when you first wake up in the morning because the body will have just come out of a period of fasting. However, as you eat and drink throughout the day, your body weight will increase and decrease over time accordingly.  If you’re just using bathroom scales to measure yourself, it’s best to weigh in the morning as soon as you wake up so that you keep the conditions as similar as possible.

 

  • You’re retaining water.  Your body can hold onto water weight for a variety of reasons – Ate a salty meal the day before?  Stressed at work? Did a heavy weights workout? Not enough sleep the night before? Didn’t drink enough water yesterday?  All these factors will cause your body to retain water which will affect your overall weight when you weigh yourself on the bathroom scales.  This isn’t a true indication of your actual weight because once the body has had time to settle, it will let go of the excess water and your true weight will show.  Females also have the menstrual cycle to deal with which can cause bloating and weight fluctuations during this period due to water retention. Do yourself a favour and hide the bathroom scales during this time, there’s no need to add more stress to the mix.

 

  • Your body composition is changing but your weight is not.  Body composition is the overall makeup of your body in terms of muscle mass compared to body fat.  If you’re going to the gym and doing resistance exercises, with adequate protein intake you’re likely going to put on muscle mass, which is always a good thing.  Say you put on 0.5kg of muscle and lose 1.0kg of body fat in a month, you’re only going to see a drop of 0.5kg on the scales but in actual fact you’ve made much more progress than that, so don’t throw in the towel so quickly.

 

  • You need to do a big poo.  Not enough fibre, not enough water and other digestion issues can cause you to become constipated.  Not getting rid of your waste can cause you to weigh heavier than what you actually are. This is similar to point #1, try to keep the same conditions when you weigh yourself.  Not really much else to say here except get enough fibre in your diet so you stay regular.

 

  • Bathroom scales don’t reflect what actually matters.  Unless you get the fancy bio-impedance ones that give you a reading for your body fat percentage and other information, bathroom scales just give you a reading on how much you weigh.  They don’t tell you what percentage of that is muscle or fat or bone. A person who doesn’t do any resistance training and just uses their diet to lose weight might get down to their goal weight but their body won’t have much muscle tone.  In the fitness industry, we call these people skinny fat. They are generally weak, are more prone to injury, have a higher body fat percentage and are overall less healthy than someone who weighs a bit more but has significantly more muscle mass.  

 

Your weight is a touchy subject, I get it.  I’ve come across hundreds of people who want to lose a little bit of weight in order to improve their body image.  Their body image is often linked to their self esteem, and with it comes an avalanche of emotion when their weight goes up or down.  However, try to realise that the number on the scales doesn’t represent who you are, it doesn’t represent how successful you are, it doesn’t represent how attractive you are, it doesn’t represent how healthy you are.  It’s just a number on it’s own. It’s only when you combine the number on the scales with other measures that you will get a better picture of what you’re trying to achieve.

 

If you’re trying to improve your body composition, combining your scale weight with measuring tape readings around your chest, hips and waist will provide a much better indication of what your efforts are producing.  If your measuring tape readings are decreasing but your weight is staying the same, don’t give up because you’re on the right track! You can also do body scans such as DEXA or bioimpedance scans but these will cost you each time you get them done so they can get expensive if you’re measuring each week.

 

If you’re having troubles on your weight loss journey, I provide regular measurement sessions for my clients and give guidance based on their results.  If you’re wanting to work with me, please get in contact me with me at ben@benleepersonaltraining.com

 

Til next time

 

Ben