What Your Scales Don’t Tell You – Four Reasons To Avoid Your Bathroom Scale
Four Reasons To Avoid Your Bathroom Scale
Most people who diet mistakenly track their weight loss by stepping on their bathroom scale. While the numbers on your scale may show your total weight loss, they do not reflect FAT loss, and fat loss should be your goal.
Your body weight fluctuates daily, even more so during dieting as your gain or lose stored fat, gain or lose muscle or simply shift fluid and water weight. Scales measure only your total body weight – fat, muscles, and bone. Here are four specific limitations of using only your bathroom scale to track your weight loss progress:
1. Water Weight – Your body is 60% water, this percentage fluctuates with your level of hydration and affects your numbers on the scale. Eating excess salt will cause your body to retains water in your tissues and blood and your scale will show a number that is higher than your actual weight. This same fluid retention can occur to women during their menstrual cycles. If you sweat without replacing fluids, you will become dehydrated and can lose as much as 2-3 pounds in water weight. If you weigh yourself today while dehydrated, and tomorrow while bloated, you may see a five pound gain – not a true weight gain, simply a normal body fluid fluctuation. Unfortunately, when you see number changes like this on your scale, you will quickly become discouraged.
2. Muscle Gain – If you are following a healthy and effective exercise and diet program, you will gain lean muscle as you lose fat. The increased muscle mass will erase any weight loss you would expect to see on the scale. This can be very discouraging if you do not understand that your hard work is replacing your body’s fat stores with new lean muscle.
3. Muscle Loss – Unfortunately, if your diet involves starvation, extreme deprivation of calories or proteins, your body may enter a state of catabolism. In order to survive, your body will breakdown and burn muscle as fuel. Sadly, your body will also release hormones that encourage your body to store fat to “survive” and avoid starvation.
4. Body Fat Ratio – Your scale measures total body weight, the sum total of fat, muscle, bone, water, even the meal you had 15 minutes prior to stepping on the scale. Your scale doesn’t measure your body’s composition, the ratio (percentage) of your body fat to lean mass (muscle and bone). Healthy (lean) body-fat range is approximately 25-31% for women and 18-25% for men. Knowing your body fat percentage will help you understand how much FAT you need to lose, and if you are making progress in your fitness program – two things your bathroom scale can’t tell you.
Weight loss is only a state of being lighter on your scale, it is not the best indicator of healthy FAT loss. Your ultimate fitness goal should include more muscles and less fat. Schedule weekly or monthly body fat ratio tests to measure your true healthy fat loss progress.