Seriously…. Get off of that scale. When is the last time you stepped on the scale and you were actually happy with what you saw?
If you’re a female, the answer is probably never.
Why do we so often put our personal worth into that number?
While the scale may be beneficial in telling you if you are headed in the right direction with your weight, it certainly does not tell the whole story and can send you in a spiral of unproductive emotions that can actually deter you from reaching your goals. It can create feelings of negative self-worth and failure and lead to demotivation. Your weight fluctuates throughout the days and months, so weighing yourself too frequently can be misleading. The way your body reacts to certain foods to eat, the amount of water intake or retention present, hormones, and the patterns of detoxification through sweat, urine, and bowel movements all cause that number to fluctuate throughout day.
If the scale can be misleading, what should I be looking at to track my progress? Here are a few tips on where to focus your weight loss efforts.
- Body composition is much more important than the weight alone. You may have heard “muscle weighs more than fat”, or you may have experienced implementing a weight lifting program where you lost inches, but they scale did not move much. That is because the scale has limitations. Body composition assesses what the body is composed and includes body fat, minerals, protein, and water. It differs from BMI, which is an indirect measure of fat based on height and weight alone without taking into account important factors such as muscle mass, age, or sex. Body composition readings provide body water weight, skeletal muscle mass, lean body mass, body fat percentage, and body fat distribution. This provides a much more detailed picture of the body. One way to accomplish this is through Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA). It sends a small electrical current through the body and measures impedance, or the opposition of that current traveling through the water present in the body. The InBody device is a tool we use here at Vine to assess a patient’s BIA. It is a quick, non-invasive way to gain valuable information about your body and cellular health and is completed within minutes.
- You should be assessing how you FEEL. Are the foods you are eating making you feel tired, bloated, or plagued with brain fog? Keeping a journal of how you feel when you eat certain foods can be beneficial. If you think certain foods may be causing a problem, making you feel less than optimal physically, or impeding weight loss efforts, I would strongly recommend an elimination diet for at least three weeks. Eliminating inflammatory foods such as dairy, grains, and sugar can help you to feel much better and often times, you don’t know just how bad those foods are making you feel until you remove them. Patients often find they sleep better, think clearer, experience less headaches and fewer gastrointestinal complaints when avoiding these foods. If you are really trying to pinpoint the effects of specific foods, make sure to reintroduce slowly after the elimination period. If you have pizza and ice cream on the first day after an elimination diet, you won’t know if it was the unhealthy fats, sugar, dairy, or grains causing your symptoms.
- Set big picture goals. Maybe you do have an extra 30 pounds to shed. But maybe the goal should be to focus on becoming your most healthy, vibrant, and fulfilled self. That includes eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in vegetables and fiber, sleeping 7-8 hours nightly, managing stress, and engaging in regular physical activity. This may mean you have to say “no” more often, it may mean not watching Netflix at night and going to bed earlier, or it may mean more meal planning to stay on track. Getting caught up in the number can lead to losing sight of what is important to be healthy. That number on the scale does not define who you are! Valuing yourself starts on the inside, and it starts with making decisions that will impact your health in the long-term. Prepare the food that makes you healthier. Go to bed earlier. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Connect with others. These habits will prepare you for a life based on so much more than a number on any scale. Need more tips on setting goals? Look here.
We offer a complete body composition analysis (BIA) in our office. Mention this blog article and receive $10 off your BIA report!