I hear people in anguish over not losing weight and one thing I tell them is, don’t sweat the scale. You aren’t going to shed weight sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress. Your weight is just ONE of the indicators that you’re doing everything right. The numbers on the scales have become a trophy when they’re lower and a taunting reminder of our failure when they’re not. It should be that way. In fact, some people may be far fitter than they were, wear smaller clothing sizes and still see the same number when they step on the scales.
More muscle means more weight.
More muscle tone makes you slimmer, but it also may mean you aren’t seeing the numbers on the scale you hoped to achieve. That’s because a cubic inch of muscle weighs more than a cubic inch of fat. To put it easier, just like comparing a container that holds exactly a pound of steel—muscle— to one that holds exactly a pound of feathers—fat, the container holding feathers will be far bigger. The best news is that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, because muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance.
Check your waistline.
An important indicator of good health is the waist circumference. Visceral fat, the toughest type to get rid of, accumulates there. It’s deadly fat and the less you have of it, the better you are. If you’re a woman, your waist should be no larger than 35 inches, for a man the number of inches is 40. People with larger waist sizes face an increased risk for stroke, some types of cancer, cardiovascular, disease and high blood pressure.
Sticking with your workout and seeing improvement is another thing to watch.
When the scale isn’t cooperating, even if you see a slight weight gain, as long as you know you’ve faithfully stuck with your exercise program and followed a healthy eating pattern, you can be pretty sure that it’s not really fat accumulation, but water weight or normal fluctuation. Track your workout progress and watch for improvements. If you could only do 10 repetitions of an exercise per set and now can do 20, you’ve made a huge improvement.
- Gauge your improvement by your energy level. If you’re chronically tired, it’s time to see a doctor. However, if you feel more invigorated, you’re doing it right.
- Getting fit isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. The scales only reveal short term numbers and don’t reflect what you achieve in overall health.
- When you do weigh yourself, do it once a week at the same time each day. Use the same scales placed on the same surface. Sometimes, just placing the scales on a carpet can change how much weight it registers.
- Enjoy and stay active. I like a pedometer more than a scales to measure fitness. While it won’t measure what you eat or how hard you worked out at the gym, it does give you a clear picture of how active you are when not working out.