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Why Weighing Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss...

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, we have grown up in a society that has both subtly and not so subtly taught us that our value is determined by our looks and that there is an “ideal body size.”


Fudge. That.


I have met 1000s of incredibly talented, brilliant, gorgeous women over the years inside and outside of gyms who have wasted hours, days, years of their lives obsessing over “fixing their bodies.”


I have been this woman.


Just 5 years ago, my sense of self worth had nothing to do with the 1000s of people I helped get their health and fitness on track, and everything to do with if I could see my abs and how much skin I could pinch around my stomach.

It is kind of embarrassing when I think about it…but it wasn’t my fault.


Every day since I was a child I was inundated with advertisements of photoshopped size -4 models, bombarded by low fat/low carb pink packaging in grocery stores, surrounded by beautiful and accomplished women who spent their whole life minimizing their accomplishments and yo-yo dieting.


The system is broken.


But.


Like anything that is broken, it can be fixed.


This fix?

It starts with making a conscious choice around the way we approach health and fitness.


In the past 10 years, the number one reason clients approached me, hands down, is because they want to lose weight.


There is no shame in this. As I mentioned, even at my thinnest, this is what I wanted too.


The important thing to realize with this is, it is a perfectly reasonable entry point, but for long term health and feeling good in our body it cannot be our end game.


We have to shift our mindset from “changing and fixing our body,” to embracing it, listening to it, and starting to work with it.


The inspiration for this blog was a call I had last night with a new client.

She was, yet another, incredibly gorgeous and successful individual who was sharing with me that her goal with fitness is to lose 15 pounds.


Totally fine.


She shared with me that she weighs herself every single day and worries when she travels that she will fall out of progress because she doesn’t have access to a scale.


Daily weigh-ins are so common, and also?

The least helpful thing you can do in your health and fitness journey. It has been 16 years since I last weighed myself, and I am in great shape. How can I be so sure without seeing the number on my scale?


I have great energy, I poop regularly, I sleep well, I lift heavier, I run better, I recover from workouts faster, I focus on things other than calorie counting during my day, I feel good.


To add on, when I get weighed at the doctors I actually weigh anywhere from 15-20 lbs more than I did at my skinniest and most unhealthy…


That’s called muscle, baby.


And this takes me into the meat and potatoes of today :

Why Weighing Ourselves Is Bad for Weight Loss.


Weight is the least important and most unreliable metric of health.


For one, the average person’s body weight can fluctuate 10-20 pounds every single day based on hydration level, fullness, state of our menstrual cycle.


On top of that, as we start to accomplish body composition goals we may either flat line with our weight loss or even “gain weight.”


Why?

Muscle weighs more than fat.

It is a dense tissue.


If we are moving from a state of never having worked out (so we have very little lean muscle mass) to starting to exercise and growing more lean muscle mass, the transition from losing fat to building muscle can look like no progress / weight gain if we are focusing on numbers on a scale.


This can feel especially alarming for obese clients who have weight to lose to reach their optimally functioning weight.


Our bodies want to function at their best, so when we start moving and eating more consciously our bodies can lose “weight” pretty fast.


BUT! A lot of that weight can be water weight as well as your body kicking into gear to drop to a physiologically healthier weight.


However, when that first pop of weight loss happens a lot of clients can feel frustrated or stalled because those last x amount of pounds feel “stubborn.”

This could be a few things:

  1. Your optimal body fat percentage is higher. Especially for women, we have more fatty tissue than men, and being super thin is deeply unhealthy for us. For some women, what they think is their ideal body weight is actually UNHEALTHY for them.

  2. You have started to gain muscle, so that dense tissue is keeping the scale consistent.

  3. You have done too much too fast, or over restricted and your body has gone into a panic stress mode. It recognizes the calorie deficit as a famine state and it actually holds onto weight to protect you. Not to mention, cortisol (our favorite stress hormone) can cause weight gain - especially around the middle section.



The two BIG reasons using a scale is detrimental to Health and Fitness goals:

  1. It is an inaccurate measurement of health.

  2. It is bad for our mental health, and can lead to burnout and giving up. If we are basing our success and value on an unreliable number, not only will we start to feel defeated that we aren’t losing weight “fast enough” or at all. We can start obsessing about checking weight, and suddenly our capacity for being present in our lives diminishes because all of our attention is on shaming our bodies. It is a tricky cycle that is easy to get swept away in.

Here is the ugly truth: The majority of people who start working out to lose weight, stop working out within the first 6 months to year.


If you aren’t able to sustain healthy habits, you can’t “lose weight…” or reap any of the other AMAZING benefits fitness brings into our lives!



If you check your weight everyday, not much is going to change. That is hella frustrating!

It makes sense why you would throw the towel in!

As I mentioned, if you have weight to lose from a health standpoint.

It is much more effective to do monthly weigh-ins at the same time of day, same time of menstrual cycle.

But remember - use this as only one piece of your health metric, and after you lose that initial bit of weight I recommend letting go of the scale all together.


Ironically, for clients who want to lose 10-15 pounds. I tell them to stop weighing themselves all together.


Instead, use progress photos.

Take 3 photos of your full body: front, side and back every 3-6 months to compare progress.


Don’t check yourself in the mirror every day, because again, nothing much will change from day to day.


Give your body time.

Focus your energy, instead, on working towards getting stronger and more mobile.

Focus on nailing form in your exercises and walking more.

Focus on tuning in and regulating hunger cues, as opposed to starving yourself.

Take the time to make healthy habit additions rather than focusing on things you need to cut and punish. Add in stress management practices, and find ways of moving that make you happy.

The key to a healthy happy body is not restriction or the number on the scale.

It is learning to listen to what it needs and creating healthy, sustainable habits, slowly over time that you can implement over the course of a lifetime.


Ditch the scale and do some yoga, baby.

Or walk to work. Or strength train 3 times a week. Or all of it!


But please, stop basing your health on that number, and start basing it on how you FEEL!


When you are making moves that leave you with better mood, energy and sleep? That is when our body is truly healthy.


You got this.


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