How often do you check your weight on the scale? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? The scale is has become much more than a fitness and weight loss tool for some. For many people, the scale is a ball and chain in their lives. The scale is a force of discouragement, rather than encouragement and empowerment. For some, it has the power to demotivate them from fitness or weight loss goals.
Rather than giving so much power to the scale, there are other, better alternatives. The scale can be used in healthy ways and can be a useful tool, but there are many ways in which the scale can be a destructive force. There are many reasons why it’s a great idea to get rid of the scale for good.
Weight is an Inaccurate Assessment of Your Body
The body is composed of much more than just fat. When you weigh yourself on the scale, you aren’t just weighing how much fat you have gained or lost, but how much water, muscle, and fat has been added or lost.
The average man has 70-89% of his body made up of muscle. For women, that number is approximately 60-75%. Muscle is roughly 18% denser than fat and takes up less volume in the body. If you have recently started a new fitness routine or increased your training, your weight may go up on the scale due to the fact that you may have gained muscle. At the same time, it is very possible you may have lost fat, even though the number on the scale increased.
The body shifts nutrients around and has the incredible ability to adapt to many extremes. The body fluctuates water retention in response to total hydration of the body and other factors. If the weight on the scale increases and decreases from day to day, there is a good chance the change is from differing levels of water retention.
The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measurement of healthy weight in individuals. It is calculated by taking a persons weight, dividing it by height in inches squared, and multiplying by 703 or BMI=weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches) X 703. The CDC recommends a BMI of 18.5-24.9 for a normal weight.
The problem with BMI is that it doesn’t take into account muscle mass and water weight. Many pro athletes and incredibly healthy individuals are classified as overweight or obese on the BMI scale due to it’s inaccuracies. Just a small amount of muscle gain can throw an individual into the overweight category of the BMI. There are better alternatives to defining healthy weight.
The Mirror is a Better Assessor of Health
While BMI doesn’t take into account body fat percentage and overall muscle mass, the mirror is an excellent tool of evaluating health. When starting a fitness or weight loss regimen, the mirror will accurately depict muscle gain, fat loss, and overall weight changes. Even though the scale may depict changes quicker, the mirror can be a greater motivator. The changes may take awhile to notice in the mirror, but they offer huge motivation to continue with a healthy lifestyle. While the scale will just show a number increasing and can, by itself, be demotivating, the mirror will show added muscle tone and fat loss.
Focus on feeling healthy and happy rather than letting the scale dictate how you feel. There are many overweight people who are healthy. On the other hand, there are many skinny people who are incredibly unhealthy. Weight is an inaccurate tool of determining health. Strive to be in tune with your body. When you are healthy, you will feel healthy. You will feel energized and motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you are living a healthy lifestyle, the scale becomes an almost useless piece of metal. By eating right and exercising daily, your body will find it’s “happy place.” Your body will find the weight it performs best at and is the most efficient for it’s daily functions.
Weight fluctuates daily. As you hydrate, exercise, eat, and sleep, the body is continually changing. Live in a way that makes you feel healthy and happy. Don’t give unneeded attention to the scale and don’t let it rule your life.
Stop looking for the “perfect number” on the scale. Focus on fitness and nutrition goals instead. You will become healthier and happier once you ditch the scale.