The Scale Does Lie

A reader and friend, April, recently asked a great question. “Why am I not losing weight?” She has been trying to eat healthy, and really adding exercise to her routine, but she has not lost any pounds. I wanted to post this because I know a lot of you are having that same situation.

April: “I have a question for you. How much muscle do you have to gain to offset loss of fat. According to the scale this week (so far), I haven’t lost any weight, but I can tell a difference in my body & my clothes fit better. I have been working out more. So, I’m trying not to worry too much about it, but it is frustrating!”

My Response: You need to keep your focus off of pounds lost. You can see the difference in your body, and I’m sure you can tell a difference in the way you feel. When we focus on pounds, we can all get frustrated, instead we need to focus on fat loss and overall health.

Here is part of a GREAT article from about.com:
When you talk about losing weight, what you usually mean is slimming down. But slimming down doesn’t always mean losing weight. It may sound odd, but it’s possible to get thinner without actually seeing a change in your weight. This happens when you lose body fat while gaining muscle. Your weight may stay the same, even as you lose inches, a sign that you’re moving in the right direction. But, if the scale doesn’t change, you may not even be aware that you’re getting real results. Knowing the difference between losing weight and losing body fat can change how you get results and may even change how you look at your own body.

When you lose body fat, you’re making permanent changes in your body, shifting your body composition so that you have less fat and more muscle. When you lose weight, you could be losing water or even muscle. It’s impossible to know if you’re seeing real results or just the product of your daily habits, hormonal shifts and changing hydration levels.

Ways the scale can work against you:
It measures everything: The number on the scale includes everything – muscles, fat, bones, organs, fat, food and water. For that reason, your scale weight can be a deceptive number.

It doesn’t reflect the changes happening in your body: If you’re doing cardio and strength training, you may build lean muscle tissue at the same time you’re losing fat. In that case, the scale may not change even though you’re getting leaner and slimmer.

It doesn’t reflect your health: As mentioned above, the scale can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle. That means a person can have a low body weight, but still have unhealthy levels of body fat.

Using other ways to measure progress can keep you motivated and help you realize that you are making changes, no matter what the scale says.
• Go by how your clothes fit. If they fit more loosely, you know you’re on the right track
• Take your measurements to see if you’re losing inches
• Get your body fat tested or use an online calculator
• Set performance goals. Instead of worrying about weight loss or fat loss, focus on completing a certain number of workouts each week or competing in a race
• If the scale is making you crazy, taking a break from weighing yourself may just open your eyes to other possibilities. Your weight isn’t the only measure of your success. Put away the scale and you may just see how far you’ve really come.

Another thing you really want to look at is your food.  If you are restricting your calories, you may not be eating enough to lose weight! Read this for more on that.

The MOST important thing to remember is DON’T GIVE UP!

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2 thoughts on “The Scale Does Lie

  1. Kasey says:

    Scales mean nothing.I am now a size seven for the first time since highschool (size six in some brands)and I weighed an unbelievable 165 pounds at the MD office the other day. If I went by the scale and weighed what my target weight would be I would not look healthy.Scales weigh everything including bone mass, if you have good calcium absorbtion and have nice dense bones you will naturally weigh more.

  2. Ed Thomas says:

    Spot on points Hether. By most charts, I am actually 25 lbs overweight because of my muscle mass. I also have a friend who was given a poor insurance rating because of his weight and he was a body builder! Absolutely no fat on him! If someone is in need of a scale measurement, buy one of the digital scales that also measures body fat percentage. The fat percentage should go down as someone works out and gets healthy.

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