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Stay off the scales:

Trainer Amanda Ferguson on why losing weight on the scales is not the way to measure success
By Amanda Ferguson
Date: January 28 2012
Editor Rating:

When getting fit & healthy or wanting to lose weight, most people want to jump on the scales and see the numbers decline.  Most people think that losing weight on the scales is the way to measure success and to track your progress. This is the worst thing you can do.  Chuck them out.

The reason for this is your weight shows your current levels of body fat, muscle, hydration status (fluid levels!) and the weight of your organs, bones, blood etc. Therefore if you drink more water, you will gain weight. If you build more muscle, you will gain weight. However these things can off-set losses in body fat. Long term you will see the scales decrease, but it is not something you should be measuring on a daily or weekly basis.

Building Muscle – some women will worry that you will ‘bulk up’ if you do lots of weights etc. You would have to do very heavy weights, for hours a day to get a body builders body, and also add some testosterone into your diet! However, stretching is REALLY important to re-lengthen your muscles after exercising, so that you don’t exercise on shortened muscles.

Muscle weighs more than fat, which is another reason not to hop on the scales. The more muscle you build to tone up (not bulk out!), the more calories you will burn after exercising. Your muscles work harder, when you are challenging them, which in turn burns more calories!

Often when you change to a healthy lifestyle and exercise more, your body shape will change as well, do you could drop a dress size, or pant size and not notice much difference on the scales. Changing your shape is a good thing, it will make your clothes fit better if they are a bit tight, or they might even feel loose, which means you might have to go shopping for some new clothes – WIN WIN!!

So what is the best way to track your progress? There are a couple of options:

  • Take your measurements
    • Chest – measure in line with your nipple
    • Waist – in line with your belly button
    • Hips
    • Thighs – measure half way between your knee and your hip
    • You can also do arms if you want – measure half way between your shoulder and elbow.
    • Take them fortnightly or monthly
    • Take your photo – wear bikini’s or underwear. Take a front on shot, side on (both sides) and a back view.  Take them monthly and make sure you wear the same clothes each time.
    • Go by how your clothes fit. Have a piece of clothing that you want to fit into, or that is a bit tight and use that as your guide.
    • Go by how you feel in yourself. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Are you less stressed? Are you happier? Are you less bloated?  Are you less moody? Are you more relaxed? Do you feel more toned?  Do you feel more positive?

So it’s time to chuck those scales in the bin, get out the measuring tape and the camera and start feeling good about yourself and what you are achieving. Think about measuring in centimetres or inches, rather than kilo’s or pounds!

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