A quick reminder today about the importance of ignoring the bathroom scale. If you’re so inclined, I’d recommend getting rid of the scale. If that’s not going to happen, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
1. Your weight fluctuates by as much as 3-5 pounds up or down per day. So the more you weigh yourself, the more likely you are to freak out because you retained a bit more water from one day to the next. If you’re going to weigh yourself often, try to do it the same time of the day to lessen the odds of a big swing, but know that the swings will happen and they are normal.
2. Muscle weighs more than fat, so after working out for awhile you may actually gain weight. This can seem defeating, especially for those concerned with the reading of the scale. So if you are feeling yourself getting stronger, don’t panic if the needle on the scale stops going down, or even goes up.
If you’re not using a scale to measure your progress, how do you know if your hard work is paying off? The first way is really simple. Honestly assess how you are feeling. Do you have more energy? Do you feel stronger? Can you do more physical work than you used to be able to do? Then it’s working.
Another way to tell that you’re making progress is to assess how your clothes are fitting. Can you zip up your jeans without laying on the bed and holding your breath? Are you cinching your belt to a new loop? Are you in need of new clothes because your other clothes are too BIG? All are good signs that you are heading toward your goals.
One final way to gauge your progress is to just take a long, honest look in the mirror. A word of caution though, as the mirror is a slippery slope. When you use the mirror, you need to use it to see the progress you have made. This requires that you take off your critical glasses and put on your realistic ones. Are you getting a little more definition in you arms? Don’t look for the jiggle that may still be there, but look at the muscle that is starting to emerge. Contract your abs and notice the start of a six-pack forming, even if right now it struggles to be a one-pack. Remember where you started from, and be happy with the progress you’ve made thus far. Then set new goals and work to eliminate the current trouble spots.
Remember that there are many ways to measure your fitness gains, and the number on the scale isn’t the most important one. Even though our society tries to tell you how much you need to weigh to be “healthy,” there are better measures.
As long as you are being active and working towards improving your health, ignore the scale and keep moving instead.