Why the scale lies when it comes to weight loss

Why the Scale Lies - Weight Loss Tips

Don’t let the scale frustrate you!

All clients at Level 9 Personal Training have their own goals and reasons why they train. The most common fitness goals include weight loss and fat reduction. Of course you wish to measure your progress or success. However when you’re training and you want to measure your weight loss, the numbers on the scale can be misleading, which is why the scale lies when it comes to weight loss.

In general when you are doing your workouts right, you are building muscles. Muscle cells weigh about double of what fat cells weigh. Therefore you might still weigh the same or only little more or less, depending on where you are in your progress, but in return you have already burned fat and built new muscle. The scale is similar to the BMI, only a theoretical number compared to the real weight loss. No regular scale can determine your body fat exactly. If you want exact numbers seek help with your personal trainer or any other physical expert. Any other numbers are only vague and might lead to discouragement for your training and hinder further weight loss and fat loss results.

How to measure your progress?

Weight Loss - Scale LiesBut how can you for yourself measure your success and trainings progress? There are several daily items that can help you see, how much you have progressed. It begins with the holes in your belt or the fitting of your clothes. Nothing screams more “progress” then suddenly baggy clothes that fitted tight just a month ago. Furthermore you could regularly take pictures of your body and your face so you can compare and actually see the changes. Measuring tapes are also useful when you are aiming for weight loss. With an increasing level of fitness and healthy diet you will become more aware of your body. Ask yourself what daily exercises were usually a big effort for you? Didn’t a sprint to the bus bring you close to suicide? Did you switch from elevator to stairs?
Of course you should be honest to yourself and bring a certain level of patience. However fast you put on those pounds, it will at least take twice the time to lose them. And your scale will not help you make progress.

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Why the scale lies?

The scale is the number one way to measure weight and thus for many the first choice to measure weight loss. However a scale will only measure one aspect of physical change. Important factors like a change in nutritional intake through a changed meal plan. Furthermore most scales do not account to muscle or body fat percentage. Muscles weigh double, thus you can lose a lot of fat and still only show little weight reduction or even gain a few pounds. There are some scales that claim to measure your body fat percentage but you should not rely on those. Ask an expert for specific measurements and exact percentages. On most commercial scales the water percentage strongly influences the measuring of your body fat percentage. Also the point of time for the measurement influences the results as certain substances are released during a workout and influence the result. The BMI (Body Mass Index) is similarly unreliable. Generally the BMI is a useful number as long as you measure it every couple of months so you can compare the numbers. However according to BMI most physically active people and sport professionals are considered overweight as the BMI only refers to the body size to body weight relation.


Don’t worry..

Even if you use the alternative methods to measure your weight loss progress, you might start your fitness journey with looking a bit bigger than before or feeling that you do not achieve anything. Patience is the key. When you begin to train and build muscles, the subcutaneous fat and your problem areas are still there. Your muscles grow underneath and the fat layer remains above it. However with discipline including a healthy meal plan, varying workouts and enough rehabilitation in between this fat layer will soon melt away and your muscles will show.

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How else can you measure your progress?

When you chose a more active lifestyle it mostly includes a change in your eating habits. You will need some time to get used to this change but after a while you will realize those fatty fries actually never tasted so good. Thus your change in appetite is another indicator that your body changes. Finally you will see your progress during the workout. Set yourself weekly goals and take notes on your progress. How long can you hold your plank? How many push-ups can you do? Compare your results to older numbers and you will see what you have achieved. Keep in mind that slow progress is better than no progress. Another positive side effect is that with increasing fitness level you will be more confident with your own body and soon you will be your own motivation for workouts.


Level 9 Opinion

You’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t yet know the reasons why the scale lies when it comes to weight loss. The scale should not determine your body feeling. We suggest that you rely more on factors like clothes, pictures and progress on your exercise level. Sooner or later the number on the scale will just become a number. Ask your personal trainer for detailed measurements of your body fat percentage. Stick to your training and meal plan and most importantly do not give up when there are no fast results. Our bodies all function and react differently.

Are you ready for a change? Make the first step and request a free trial today and start your fitness journey. We are here to help you reach your goals and motivate you to continue even when you struggle. Remember summer bodies are made in winter!
Photo 1: nhanusek

Photo 2: TipsTimesAdmin


Laura Neumeister

Originally from Weyhe Germany and fluent in three languages, Laura is a world traveler, freelance author & journalist, currently blogging for Level 9 Fitness in Long Beach California.

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