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  • Karly Almon

Ugh! The Scale

The scale is a data point. That is all.

“Mass is a measurement of the amount of matter something contains, while Weight is the measurement of the pull of gravity on an object.” https://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/weightvmass.html

The bathroom scale cannot tell us how much fat, muscle or water we gained or lost, that is left to the DexaScan, currently the gold standard of body composition testing.

The number on your scale at home may fluctuate daily depending on what you ate or didn’t eat the day before, how much water you did or didn’t drink the day or night prior, how much sleep you got, or how much stress you’re under or even how hard you worked out yesterday (micro trauma in our soft tissue can and will create inflammation – it’s a good thing for repairing soft tissue, not so fun to see on the scale. It’s essentially fluid retention and it goes away. So no, harder workouts are not always the answer to your weight loss problems, go figure!).

Think about the doctor’s scale. You measure naked at home without food or water, after using the restroom. Your doctor measures you with clothes (winter coats and purses ladies – we are all fat asses by this standard), probably after some amount of food and water, and you probably went to the bathroom at least twice by the time you see them. And THAT is the weight they base your prescription dosing on 🧐. What is accurate about that? It actually tells them very LITTLE of your body composition (what is muscle, what is fat, what is bone and what is fluid).

This morning I woke up and weigh the exact same as I did 3 years ago when I stepped onto stage in 5” heels and a barely there bedazzled bikini. My glutes were lean and cellulite was barely noticeable, my shoulders looked like pumpkins and I went to bed with a very defined 6pack every night.

This morning, I woke up and weigh the exact same as I did then, but I look totally different. I have fat over my abs, my cellulite is very obvious around my butt, thighs and my shoulders are – well, people don’t look at me weird in the grocery stores now (except because I don’t wear that little piece of fabric on my face). If I weight the same but don’t look the same, why do I care what the scale says?

My point is this: STOP RELYING ON THE SCALE TO MEASURE YOUR FITNESS, FATNESS or to let the scale determine your course of action for the day in the gym or what you shove in your mouth. Stop letting the scale dictate what you’re going to do to “get fit”.

Instead use that data to tell you how much water weight you are holding onto or gained (which translates to potential energy storage for a harder workout or hitting some PR’s in the gym, on the track, etc). Use it to confirm your lack of water intake the previous day. And then use this data to shape your strategy, such as: drink more water, get more sleep, destress,

It can’t tell you how much fat you lost or muscle you gained. It can’t tell you what a good person you are or how you made someone feel the day before. It really can’t tell you how athletic you are or how much fun you are to be around.

That being said – I weigh myself almost every damn day. Not because it is something I HAVE to see upon waking to motivate me to workout or eat well (and right for my goals). It’s legitimately intriguing to me. I love seeing and correlating yesterday’s actions with today’s data. Yesterday, for example, I had MAYBE a half gallon of water and a glass of wine, didn’t hit my protein/macros and had a shit ton of chocolate chips, very little sleep and sat at my desk all day with a very short workout first thing in the morning. The scale today is about 4+lbs LESS than it was yesterday morning. Do you really think – given what I just told you, that I dropped 4 lbs of body fat yesterday? I absolutely, most certainly, fucking surely did not. Water weight. I lost water. And the bathroom scale has no way of knowing that.

Stop obsessing over weight. Start obsessing over feeling good, moving better, progress seen in pictures, your mental health and physical abilities. Weigh if you want, but when it starts to become the only motivator to do “better” or you start torturing yourself with food and exercise, it’s time to back up and get your data straightened out.

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