102317// The Scale
10 Squat Cleans
10 Split Jerk
"Weight is just a number" "Muscle weighs more than fat" "Real progress is measured by the tape"
You've heard all of these, and then some experts will tell you to weigh yourself and track it often. So which is it? Throw away your scale or live on it?
Maybe you don't need to break up with your scale, but some of you could definitely tell your scale that you could use some space. Or like, "sorry, it's not you, it's me."
Sign #1 that you need to quit the bathroom scale// It causes you any sort of anxiety. You got a job and a family. Like do you really need that stress in your life? You're training regularly... your on the right track.
#2 If you're excited or sad about change more than 1 lb per day, the scale isn't helpful. On Monday I (Devin) weigh 236, on Friday I weight 233. You're stokked- You started your "diet" Monday, and on Wednesday you're 10lbs lighter. You're not 10lbs of fat lighter, you just haven't eaten in 2 days, worked out really hard and took a a big poop. You're sad- you're 4lbs heavier Sunday night than you were on Friday morning. You're not 4lbs of fat heavier, you had drinks with friends on Friday, waffles with your kids saturday morning, brunch Sunday and whatever else Sunday afternoon because you're "back on the wagon" Monday- you're not 4lbs of fat heavier, you're just bloated.
#3 You let the scale affect your mood. Monday morning, you looked at the scale and are frustrated with the number so you snap at your spouse for “letting you eat that ice cream” Sunday night, you pack your kids lunch with just celery because you don’t even trust yourself to make a sandwich without snacking on a piece of bread, and your whole day is ruined. Stop it! Everyone you love doesn’t have to be miserable because you looked at the scale at the worst possible time.
#4 You use the scale number to justify bad habits. “Wahoo! I’m light, I’m ordering pizza tonight!”...smh! You’re making progress and your first thought is to re-start the cycle of adverse psychological issues. If you eat when your light and starve when you’re heavy, that’s disordered eating hun.
#5 The scale weight effects your movement habits. A bigger number than you’re used to makes you think you’d better get in the gym and go on an extra run and some sit-ups before bed for good measure. You should go to the gym anyway. Go on a run because you enjoy running. Or maybe you like the number on the scale so you skip your workout. Your workout shouldn’t ultimately be about scale weight, truth is there isn’t a scale weight- it doesn’t matter how many abs you can see- there isn’t a dress size you can reach where being active still isn’t vital to your life. The person you admire most for their body or the body you have as an end goal doesn’t exist because they went on a diet and quit and that’s how they look all the time now, they look that way because that’s how they live.
If you are any of the above, take a break from the scale. What happens when you look at the scale and see the numbers change and it causes you to freak out, you're getting worked up over water. And ultimately it's just a distraction. If you can't look at the scale without feeling anxious about your next meal or workout, eating and training isn't the problem, it's the scale and your brain.
So who should weigh themselves? The scale can be pretty helpful too though, IF you don't obsess over it. You have my permission to weigh yourself if you promise you're only collecting data.
I think the most useful thing we can use the scale for is measuring or determining fluid balance. Lets say you just worked out and before hopping in the shower, you step on the scale. "Sweet! I lost 3 lbs." I'm sorry to tell you, you didn't burn 10,500 calories at CrossFit, and the fat fairy didn't come snag his bounty from your thighs. You should probably drink some water.
If you know, and you should know, that a healthy rate of fat loss is around 1 lb a week or less, try to offset these huge water swings by staying hydrated. The next time you step on the scale and it's particularly light or heavy, also make note of how you feel physically. A lot of the time, around Thursday or Friday, my scale weight will be light but I also certainly feel weak or run down or fatigued. All signs that I'm depleted of water or glycogen or both.
If you have a healthy and honest relationship with your weight you certainly can use scale weight as a progress marker. but you should weight yourself under the same conditions and at regular intervals. Weekly, Monthly, bi-weekly? Checking your weight less often and further between to look for progress on fat loss makes 100% more sense than checking daily.
You train hard, and you're in good shape. You have good friends at the gym and belong to a fun community. If you get anything from the scale other than data, it's not helping. It's a bathroom scale and not worth any anxiety or pride.