We all know someone who gauges their fitness progress by the scale and the scale alone. Do you? If so, know this: there are far more important aspects of your health and fitness program than your weight. That little wafer of plastic and metal may even be hurting you and sabotaging your efforts to get healthy, streamlined and strong if you’re not utilizing any other measuring tools. Here are five reasons your scale sucks—
- Your scale only measures one thing—your weight. Well, duh. But what about the circumference of your biceps, belly and thighs? The scale can only take you so far. Sure, step on it every couple weeks, but don’t get too caught up in the number. What you can gauge with a tape measure is the reality of your actual size. Want to fit into size six skinny jeans? Grab a tape measure. Set a goal and work toward it. You can’t BS yourself when your butt won’t squeeze into that hot pair of Levis. Or that cute pair of affordable rock star cords from Old Navy. Just sayin’.
- Your weight fluctuates throughout the month (ladies), throughout the week, and I know you know it, throughout the day. You wake up in the morning at one weight, go to bed at another. That kind of information can confuse a person and derail your plans not to indulge in that second (or third) piece of late night pie. Ahem. In other words, don’t get obsessive. Weighing in every month or every couple weeks is fine. Every week, maybe. But every day? Two, three, five times a day? How about a set of high knees instead?
- And how about that body fat percentage? Scales don’t measure fat versus lean muscle mass. A caliper or the handy Wii-looking body fat gizmos (aka – Body Fat Scanner) can tell you more about where you are and where you want to go than any scale, any day. In fact, contrary to conventional belief, muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. Muscle has a smaller volume than fat. Ten pounds of feathers weighs the same as ten pounds of bricks. Imagine your body filled with either one. Same weight—way different volume. This makes the number on your scale a little less meaningful.
- Every scale is different. You weigh X amount of pounds on your bathroom scale but at boot camp you weigh Y. What’s going on? Did you lose or gain weight in the car? Of course not. Scales are inaccurate. Therefore, don’t use them exclusively to measure your success…or failure. Which brings us to:
- Is your scale determining your mood? Your self-esteem? If your mood brightens or sours depending on the number you see between your feet, you may want to consider taking a break. Pay attention to the things that matter—how your clothes fit, how you feel after a hard workout (hopefully great!), how that hard workout helps you get your badass swagger on, how happy those endorphins are making you, how your confidence soars from achieving your goals – whether your personal aims include pounding out more pushups, giving up processed food or committing to show up regularly to class.
Don’t let the scale give you false hope or send you into a downward spiral of despair. You work too hard to put all your faith in an unreliable, incomplete—and let’s face it—inferior gadget. You deserve to reap the rewards and lose the dead weight.