The title says it all. Scales Lie! It’s that simple!
I’ve been bustin’ my ass three to four times a week in the gym, eating healthy during the week and giving myself a cheat day on the weekends with some beers and yet the scale doesn’t move. In fact, the scale went up 1.3 lbs this week. For a lot of people, this would be devastating and for a long time, before I knew better, I was one of those people. Fortunately, I’ve been edjumacated and now I’m not someone who relies on the scale, at all.
When you’re trying to lose weight, tone up, add muscle, get lean or just get healthy in general, there are a few key things to remember when looking at numbers. The first and biggest one that most people ignore or don’t know is that muscle weighs more than fat (Muscle doesn’t ACTUALLY weigh more than fat – five pounds is five pound- but it takes up less volume and space and is much nicer to look at). So, if you’re weight training three times a week, or doing kettlebells, or circuit training or whatever other exercise you’re doing and you’re eating healthy, having good recoveries and getting the right amount of protein, sleep and everything else you’re suppose to do, you’re probably burning fat but also building muscle. Therefore, if you weigh 188 lbs, lose 2 lbs of fat and put on 3 lbs of muscle over a two-week span, according to the scale, you’ve put on 1 lbs.
GASP! “How did I put on a pound? I’ve been working so hard! I don’t understand” Sound familiar? I bet it does because I’ve said those exact words so many times over the years that I can’t even count on all my fingers and toes to give you a number.
Yes, people like to see results and stepping on a scale and seeing a number is the easiest way to do this. But it’s not the only way and I’d dare to say, it’s not the right way.
Whether you’re looking to lose those last 10-15 lbs or you’re on your way to losing 100 lbs, just stepping on and off a scale week after week shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing.
Take measurements. Get yourself a tailor’s tape and measure a few key areas that you’d like to see results in. Personally, I measure my quads, around my butt, my hips, my abdomen (at my belly button), chest and biceps. These will be the true numbers that will show you how you’re doing.
Go see a specialist. BMI is bullshit. According the the BMI index, I’m overweight. I have muscle mass and as mentioned before, muscle weighs more than fat and according to my height and weight, I’m over weight. Go get your body fat measured. If you have the means, the high-end items to use are DEXA, BodPod, or ultrasound. If you cannot find these, a lot of gyms and dietitians have hand-held tools like the hand-held product from Omron. You can also go with using calipers with a qualified professional and request the 3-point or 7-point Jackson Pollock Algorithm.
Your clothes don’t lie. If you can’t fit in to that speedo that you did last summer from too many donuts over the winter or if your jeans fall off you this fall when you put them on for the first time, those are good ways to measure success or fails as well. They’re not exact, but they should be a good gauge to whether or not you’re succeeding. Not being able to fit in to my beach volleyball shorts this summer was my eye opener.
Yes, I still step on the scale weekly. It’s just what we’re brain washed to do. But I care less and less about the number I see on the scale after I look in the mirror in a certain light and squint my eyes and see what may have once been an abdominal muscle, once upon a time.