Does the Number On the Scales Really Matter?

Some of you religiously weigh yourselves every morning...naked.  You don't want an ounce of unnecessary added weight on your body when you're checking that all-important number.  Others hide from the scales year round and cringe every time the nurse checks your weight at doctor appointments.  I've always fallen into the first category.  I have even been known to pack my scales and tow them along for vacations and holidays.  But why?  Why is that number necessary to my every day life?  After years of anxious weigh-ins, I've decided that it isn't at all necessary.  Here are my reasons why:

1- Muscle weighs more than fat! 
You've heard it before...and it's true!  Look at the picture below.  Five pounds of muscle takes up considerably less space than five pounds of fat.  Plus, the more muscle you have, the more calories you are going to burn in a given day.    The most perfect example I can give you as to why the number on the scales isn't that important is my client, Jessica.  She signed up for 7 sessions and we began strength training twice a week for 3 weeks.  Her results were incredible! Check out  her picture below.  


You can visually notice huge differences!  After only 3 weeks!  Guess how many pounds she lost?  Only 3.  You can imagine her face as she stepped on the scales to see the number had only budged a tiny bit, but I smiled because I knew what was coming next.  I got out my tape measure and began measuring her from head to toe.  She lost 1.25 inches from her neck.  Yes, you can store fat around your neck!  She lost 2.5 inches from her waist, 3 inches from her thigh and so on and so forth.  I wish I had recorded her happy dance as I revealed the results!  In total she had lost 4% bodyfat and added lean, sexy muscle.  If we had only relied on my scales we would have been deceived and disappointed.  So let's all stop obsessing over a silly number and instead, focus on how our skinny jeans fit.  Buy a tape measure and take measurements once a month to track your results.  

2- Bodyweight fluctuates DAILY
The average person's bodyweight fluctuates up to 5 pounds throughout the day.  Fluctuation is caused by the types of food we eat and what we drink.  Did you have chinese last night?  Say hello to water retention and bloat...thanks sodium!  Have a few too many margaritas during happy hour?  Now you can say hello to bloat AND a bad headache :) We'll talk about making flat-belly food choices in the future, but for now let's just focus on the fact that certain foods can severely impact the number on the scales by causing your body to hold onto extra water.  All this goes to show that you could have done perfectly on your diet all week, but that won't necessarily reflect when you weigh in.  So don't beat yourself up over it.

3- The number on the scales does NOT define you
I'll repeat that one... the number you see staring back at you every morning does not define you.  That magical number has nothing to do with who you are as a person.  Maybe you set a goal to lose 10 pounds, but you only lost eight.  Be excited over losing eight pounds!  Focus on the positive.  Focus on how much more energetic you feel now that you've implemented some healthy habits into your life.  Focus on how you can officially run a mile without feeling like you're going to fall over and DIE.  Maybe you've had a baby recently.  Rather than worrying about getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight, revel in the fact that your body just CREATED HUMAN LIFE!  You're a rockstar.  So let's all stop obsessing over our weight and instead focus on creating healthy habits and enjoying all of the wonderful things going on in our lives.  

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