5 Ways To Measure Weight
Loss Without The Scale By Nikki Anderson
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Even when they have made strides towards
eating healthier and increasing their exercise programs, most people gauge
their real success by the numbers reflected on the scale. Yes, weve all heard
that muscle weighs more than fat and that water retention can skew the numbers.
Yet, the scale holds the most weight (yes, pun intended) when determining our
dieting loss success or failure.
Our entire mood can be dramatically
affected by the daily weigh-in. We can be on top of the world one minute
because we have completed our 45-minute aerobic session, yet one step on the
scale reduces us to tears. How can I work out that hard and NOT lose weight?
You may believe that the session was pointless, because of what the scale says!
The beastly apparatus on the floor has become the expert in weight loss
feedback. If the scale does not show a shift in weight (lower numbers) every
day, then somehow we think we have failed.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
Scale Positioning: You know, you
stand on the scale anticipating a decrease in numbers. Well, it doesnt show the
numbers youd like to see, so you figure that simply moving it ever so slightly
in one direction or another will adjust the numbers in your favor. You continue
to re-position the scale until just the right numbers show up!
Time of Day: Everyone knows that
your weight is generally at its lowest first thing in the morning. However,
just to make matters more interesting, you weigh yourself before going to the
bathroom and then after. Ahhhh, an eighth of a pound difference. Someone might
get the impression that simply going to the bathroom is an effective means of
losing weight. Whatever works, right?
Foot Positioning: You are standing
on the scale and the number isnt quite where it should be. First, you move your
feet forward. Nope, still not the right number. Hmm, maybe moving them back a
bit might get that number where it is supposed to be. With every little shift
and adjustment, there is hope that the numbers will reflect a positive change.
Oh, wait a minute, gotta take off the socks. They count for at least a couple
of extra ounces of weight. And, the dance continues...
Needle Placement: Standing above the
scale, you see that the needle is placed just a bit to the left of the zero.
Heck, that will add what, another ounce or two to the ideal numbers. So, you
move the knob in an attempt to perfectly center the needle over the zero.
Somehow it seems impossible to set the needle directly in the center. Why not
just go ahead and knock off a pound simply to accommodate the inaccuracy of the
needle! We do and, lo and behold, we have lost weight! Yes-s-s-s-ss!
MDs Scale vs. Home Scale: Ok,
so what is it about the doctors office scale? Why do we all seem to weigh ten
pounds more on the doctors scale than on our home scale? Why not bring YOUR
scale to your next doctors appointment -- just to show who is right and who is
wrong when it comes to true weight?!
Sick Weight: How many of you have
been excited at the thought of weighing yourself after a nasty bout with the
flu? Cmon, everyone has done it. WOW! Check it out, I lost three pounds. Who
cares if it meant three days of bonding with the ceramic bowl, a whole three
pounds was lost! Yes, illness can bring about all sorts of joy, now, cant it?
Pig-Out Scale: Fess up! After an
overindulgent evening at a wedding or birthday, how many of you step on the
scale just to see the real damage that was done? Just to reinforce the facts
that: yes, we have no self-control and yes, the scale WILL punish us for
overdoing it. What a great way to reinforce our lack of discipline!
Ok, so you get the idea. The scale has
become our gauge when we evaluate our failure or success with weight loss. But,
heres the important thing: a scale can provide guidance, but it cannot
tell you how your overall health is doing. A scale simply provides a number
that can make or break your day. And, why? Why do we allow an inanimate object
to wreak havoc on our emotions? Whose great idea was it that the scale is king?
Cmon, we KNOW when weve eaten
too much, and we KNOW when weve had a really healthy nutrition week. We
KNOW when weve exercised regularly, and we KNOW when we have not. Why
must we continue to rate our weight loss attempts with a scale when, more times
than not, it isnt an accurate reflection of our overall health?
The truth is, the scale can work as a
motivating force behind our weight loss efforts, but remember that as much as
that scale can build us up, it can tear us down. So, what to do? How can we
reconcile ourselves to the fact that the scale is NOT always our best friend,
and it often doesnt give us the straight story?
Well, it begins with understanding the job
of the scale. The scale is not a buddy to bond with, because it hides the truth
-- the truth being health vis a vis weight. Though many of us know that
dropping a few pounds will enhance the quality of our life, the scale
isnt always the best source for positive feedback. Making small changes
over a long period of time will get us to a healthy goal, but the scale may not
reflect positive numbers fast enough.
What often happens is that we then get
impatient, frustrated and blow off any attempts to move forward. After all, the
scale said it wasnt working, and the scale is always right, correct?
WRONG! The scale cannot tell you that you have begun to make some positive
lifestyle changes or that your body composition is changing. NO, the scale only
shows that weight has shifted without explanation, because the scale
doesnt care what the explanation is.
Its the scales job to show you
a number. Once we understand that the job of the scale is simply to tell us
actual body weight and nothing else, you can begin to view the scale simply as
a monitor vs. a health evaluation.
I have worked with thousands of women who
often gauged their success by the numbers on the scale. And, more often than
not, because the scale didnt shift in a manner that they thought was
good, they quit. The interesting thing is that no matter how many
times they felt the scale failed them, they still counted on the
scale to encourage their efforts. You KNOW that the scale is going to shift!
One way or another, thats a given. So, why set yourself up for a mental
game that can ruin the best of intentions?
Here are some ways to measure your weight
loss success rather than using the scale. By the way, when it comes to
weigh-ins, weekly weigh-ins are sufficient. If youre doing the 3 times a
day weigh-in, youre doing yourself (and any attempts to change your
lifestyle) a serious disservice. Heres the scoop:
1. Clothing: You know how it feels
to put on a skirt or dress youve been unable to wear for a year? Nothing is
better than being able to comfortably fit into that article of clothing that
you considered giving away because you never thought youd be able to wear it
2. Attitude: When you begin to eat
better and exercise more regularly, you will find yourself feeling more
positive about the changes youre making. Having a positive attitude plays a
large role in keeping you motivated and moving forward. Feeling positive allows
you to make more decisions that are positive!
3. Taking Up Less Space: Before I
lost 50 pounds, I always felt like I took up an unusual amount of space
wherever I went. Whether it was a party, a meeting or work, I always felt that
I took up more space than anyone else there. Once the body and the weight start
changing, suddenly the space you take up seems much smaller. Getting into your
car, getting on the train, going to the movies or flying. Any of those venues
can give us a feeling of taking up a lot of space. Once your nutrition is
healthy and your daily activity increases, those spaces will magically seem to
have more room!
4. Active Participation: I dont know
about you, but before I lost my weight, going anywhere with friends or family
was dictated by the amount of exertion involved. The thought of long walks, or
heaven forbid, climbing something, was an immediate, No thanks. Once I started
practicing a healthier lifestyle and my body began to respond, I wasnt as
reluctant to try new things and go places.
5. Friendly Comments: The best part
of changing your lifestyle to healthy eating and daily activity are the
comments youll begin receiving from others. Being told, You look great! goes a
long way in reminding us that our efforts are well worth it.
A scale cannot measure feeling great, and
looking great cannot be seen through a scale. Making positive lifestyle changes
and connecting with the way your body responds to them is a wonderful way to
reinforce the benefits of eating well, exercising well and living well! Scale
down the need to weigh in every day and get your reinforcement through a means
that makes sense!
Nicki Anderson is president and owner of
Reality Fitness, a full-service personal training studio in Illinois. She is
also a certified personal trainer and fitness practitioner -- and the author
of Reality Fitness Inspiration For Your Health And Well-Being. You can
learn more about Anderson and her philosophy by going to