What does the number on the scale really mean?

You’re eating healthy and exercising regularly but when you step on the scale the number has hardly budged or worse, you’ve gained a couple of pounds. This can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging when you’ve been working so hard. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t made any progress towards your health goals. Scales do measure fat loss, but they also measure clothing, constipation and water retention. There are approximately 3,500 calories in a pound, so if you step on the scale one day and its three pounds heavier than the day before, unless you ate 10,500 calories more than you burned, the number on the scale is not a reflection of your true weight.

Most short-term changes in body weight are as a result of fluid shifts. You may be retaining water for any number of reasons including eating a salty meal, if it’s that time of the month or even if you’re experiencing sore muscles after a workout. On the other hand, if you’ve just done a sweaty workout and you haven’t rehydrated yet, you are likely to notice that the number on the scale has gone down by a couple of pounds. All this to say that the daily ups and downs when it comes to your weight may not be meaningful. Instead, pay attention to the longer-term patterns of weight loss or gain by weighing yourself once a week, as soon as you wake up in the morning, after you’ve gone pee and before you eat breakfast. This will give you a better indication of what your weight is actually doing.

That being said, whether your weight is going up or down or staying put, the number on the scale is not the best way to tell how you’re doing when it comes to achieving your health goals. The best way to tell HOW you’re doing is by asking yourself WHAT you are doing. Are you making the best dietary choices you can? Are you eating mindfully? Are you planning for regular meals and snacks throughout the day? Are you including regular physical activity? Could you be doing more? Ultimately, the number on the scale is not going to change your life; your lifestyle is going to change the number on the scale.


This page was printed from the BMI Medical website: http://bmimedical.ca/