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Scales from Hell? Why They Don’t Convey the Real Weight Loss

How often do you weight yourself to check against weight loss/gain?

Do the reading at the scales felt like judgement day? If your weight had gone down, that means you have been ‘good’. But if there is no change or worse, the pounds had gone up, it means you’ve been a failure….

There is a article Six Principles To Burn Off Belly Fat from Fitness Village (update: the last I checked, the site has been removed) that mentioned that mentioned the following:
“Set Goals. If you need to lose fifty lbs don’t make that your goal. Take the weight you want to lose and multiply that by 12%. That is your first goal. So your first goal is 6 lbs. If this is your first time back with working out then you probably will make that in the first week. Just because the majority of it will be water weight. But let me say this about setting weight goals. Sooner or later you will be disappointed. Because I have come to realize that scales are from hell. They are evil and will derail you from any workout program. I stayed at the same weight for 3 months…matter of fact went up in weight. But I was wearing smaller and smaller pants and shirts. So better goals would be run a half mile, fit into 36 pants, drop two dress sizes, get rid of the cottage cheese on your butt, or get your man boobs to a place that they don’t need a bra.”

Scales may not give you the real picture. The scale may show that you’ve lost 5kg after going on a yo-yo diet, but you may have actually lost water- which your body will be struggling to put back the moment the chance arises.

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On the other hand, you may have worked very hard, exercising and practising good eating habits but the weight don’t seems to drop much. You may have gotten very discouraged- but before you give up, take note that:

  • it may be more accurate to determine your weight loss by how well your clothes are fitting you. Are your once-very-tight pants now on the verge of dropping down if you do not put a belt on? Your clothing seemed to be loose and you look better in clothes.
  • you feel you’ve got more energy
  • friends who have not seen you for a while commented that you’ve seemed to lose weight?
  • and muscles do weight more than fat. The muscles that you’ve built from exercising had displaced your fat- heavier but firmer and much lesser in volume.

However, I still wish to elaborate further on the last point- muscle weighing heavier than fat– the fact that we need to ensure we are being honest with ourselves. Sometimes we may actually gained weight after exercising because we’ve cut ourselves too much slack when it comes to exercising. We go easy on the exercise but hard on the food afterwards (have a good supper with our pals after a workout session). If we were to do that, we do really gain weight. But if we exercise consistently, watch our diet (cut down sugar, rice and starch), we are on our way to weight loss.

Update: The last I checked, Fitness Village was removed by WordPress.

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  • phill November 29, 2007, 11:18 pm

    Great post. I agree with what you said. We have to really set goals that bring about change and weight usually does not tell us the whole picture.

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