The Scales or The Mirror?

Is searching for a number on the scales the right way to try and lose weight?

For it is only a number, and this number may not be a true representation of where you are at in your fitness journey.

There is a saying, “The scales never lie!!!.” Well, this may be true, but the scales never tell the full story either…What about this saying: “There are always two sides to a story”?

This is very true in regards to the number on the scales. It only tells us one thing; your total weight at the time you stood on the scale.

To start with, your weight can fluctuate anywhere up to three kilos a day, depending on the time of day and what you have done throughout the day. If you don’t believe me, then try this. Weigh yourself, drink two glasses of water then re-weigh yourself…Shock horror, you’ve put weight on.

Things like your hydration levels, sleep quality, food intake, stress levels, and exercise or activity will all have slight impacts on the number on the scales. For ladies, the time of your cycle will also impact on your weight.

As I previously mentioned, the scale is a total number, it doesn’t give a body composition recording, or an indication of other health markers. The scales can be very misleading, our goal should never be to lose weight, it should be to lose fat. And when we train to lose fat there could be an increase in muscle cell weight. The lack of change in the number on the scale can be very deceiving. You may actually have made great progress, lost fat, kept muscle, lost a dress size, gained energy etc. There could be lots of great benefits, which are negated due to a number on a scale.

The number on the scale isn’t the greatest way to track progress.

If the scales have dropped significantly, how can we be sure that it is good weight loss? We may have lost muscle and not fat, this isn’t what we should be seeking. Maintaining muscle is key to a high quality of life and longevity.

How can we track our fitness better? The best way would be through regular body composition scans (DEXA scan, In-Body Composition scans). These scans give you a breakdown of your body composition, allowing you to track your fat loss over weight loss. Remember, this is the key. Fat loss, not weight loss. Nonetheless, these scans can be expensive and hard to access.

Let’s strip it right back. Figuratively and Literally.

Instead, track with your mirror. Looking in the mirror can be daunting, it lays it all out there. However, the mirror will give you honest feedback about where you are really at. There are no numbers here, only the reflection of you, of your current progress and your current shape.

Oh, and as for selfies, they work great too. A selfie will give you a comparison of the then versus the now, you’ll be able to see the difference, the results will be there to see with no anxiety about a number on a scale.

Maybe a selfie in the mirror every now and then is a good thing?!