Health and Wellness

Why the Scale is a BIG FAT LIAR

About 4 weeks ago I hit a new low for this current fitness preparation that I am doing. Fast forward to last week when I was weighing in at almost the same weight I started at! *GASP*
Cut to me standing in the bathroom with a confused look on my face nearly having a heart attack!

“WHAT HAPPENED?!” I asked myself.

Now at this point I could take this number as the truth or… I could look at the big picture to try and see what was ACTUALLY going on.

I chose the latter of the two options and came up with the following questions to ask myself:

1- Have I made changes to the foods I’m consuming? Anything new, extra fibrous, or out of the norm?
2- Any new supplements?
3- How much sleep have I been getting?
4- How is my GI tract?
5- Did I just have a refeed day with extra carbs?
6- Have I been overeating on calories by a lot for a few days?
7- Is my intake greater than my output? Am I pushing myself at the gym or just putting in my time and going through the motions?
8- How are my other measurements?
9- Am I retaining extra water?
10- Does the number even matter?
11- Does this number define me?

The first thing that I did was decide that this is JUST A NUMBER and it doesn’t define who I am as a person or the amount of work that I have or have not done. The scale cannot tell me if my weight is water, muscle, fat, or something else.

Changing your mindset around the scale can be hard, but it is so important! It can make or break your day. Seriously! I remember days of getting onto the scale and letting that number dictate my day. If it was a “good” number I would have a good day, but if it was a “bad” number then it would be a bad day filled with self-doubt and beliefs that I wasn’t good enough.

This is not a healthy way to live your life. As you work to get over this you may need to take some time away from the scale and only look at your measurements and weekly pictures. This is why, as coaches in your weekly check-ins, we want all 3 of those things: pictures, measurements, and weight.

There are quite a few things that can impact the number on the scale. New foods or fibrous foods can cause you to retain water or cause bloating, even a few days after consuming them. The same thing can happen with certain supplements. Decreased sleeping can wreak havoc on a lot of aspects of your life. It causes you to be more tired, therefore you may exert less energy throughout the day. If you’re awake longer does that mean you are consuming more food? People who are tired tend to eat more food to help them stay awake and make poor food choices the more tired they become.

The GI tract is like a second brain… it remembers everything. Making it a priority to keep your GI tract happy with probiotics will help with regularity of bowel movements, digestion of food, and bloating.

When we consume increased carbohydrates, we store more water. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just something to know. A carbo”hydrate” (see what I did there?) really means carbon (an element) with attached water molecules. The exact compound of a carbohydrate is a little more than that, but just know that carbs like to hold on to water because of the way they are made. Post high carb day or post refeed day is not always the best time to weigh yourself because of the extra water your body is holding on to.

If your input (calories) is greater than your output (calories burned) for a period of time or in extreme excess, you will gain body fat. This obviously will cause the scale to go up. However, if this is in check and you are still in a deficit you won’t be gaining body fat. Gaining muscle will cause you to gain weight as well, but in a good way. Losing muscle can cause you to lose weight as well, but no one wants that! Increased muscle helps to burn more fat at rest, which is why focusing on building muscle in training is so important!

As I took an objective approach and looked for the root cause of the problem, I could see where this extra weight was coming from and make the proper changes. The first thing I did was check my food, followed by my intake vs output. After making some adjustments to food and fitness the scale remained the same. It was only then that I realized I had been recently been taking a new supplement causing me to retain water.

The most important take away here is the scale doesn’t define who you are and the scale doesn’t know you or your life. You are worth more than any number on the scale! Next time you have a weird and unexpected weight change, stop the cycle, take a breath, and ask yourself the same questions I did. I bet you’ll find an answer and from there you can find a solution.

PS Check the batteries!

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