Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.
Don’t Rely on the Scale!

Don’t Rely on the Scale!

Posted by Sean Eagan on Jul 11th 2020

Why the scale is not enough proof of progress in your fitness journey

Weight loss goals are significant. Your goals of wearing a particular size or seeing a specific number on the scale are also important. If it comes to losing weight, the scale can gauge progress, particularly if you have much weight to lose. However, if you place too much importance on your weight and not enough on your body structure (the ratio of fat to lean muscle), you are only getting half the story. Plus, fearing your weigh-in or obsessing over the number on the scale is unproductive and can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as starving yourself. Losing pounds does not always mean losing fat.

Here are the reasons why the scale is not enough proof of progress in your weight loss.

The scale does not tell you how much fat you have.

Your scale does what it is supposed to; it tells you how much you weigh. However, in addition to measuring your weight, the scale weighs bone, water, muscle, organs, and unassimilated food. When the readings on the scale go up or down, they do not only represent fat loss or muscle gain. It measures glycogen (stored) and water changes, and it even measures how much that breakfast of you ate weighs.

The scale cannot tell if you have gained muscle.

A pound of muscle is like a brick, small, and compact. When we eat carbohydrates, they stored as glycogen in different places within our bodies. Those relevant to body weight changes are liver and muscle storage, while storage in the liver does not differ too much from individual to individual, muscle glycogen storage depends on one’s body weight, body fat percentage, and level of activity and other factors. Based on all available studies, 350-750g is the consensus range for muscle glycogen storage. Research has shown that we can store as high as 15g/kg of body weight (6.8g/pound), which is more than 750g. When you gain muscle and lose fat, your body gets slimmer and tighter. Building muscle also makes it feasible to drop clothing sizes without a significant change in weight. Maybe after a 90-day fitness program, the scale says you lost 7 pounds, which may not sound like much. However, what if you lost 12 pounds of fat and gained 5 lbs of muscle? That is a remarkable improvement in your body composition, but you would not know if you only used your standard bathroom scale to track your progress

You did not gain 7 pounds of fat overnight.

You may step on the scale one day and shriek in disbelief because it is seven digits higher than it was the previous day. Except you ate an extra 17,500 calories the previous day, you did not gain fat (a pint of fat is equal to 3,500 calories). Your scale is reading water, stored carbohydrates, and food. Also, cheap bathroom scales may have a reading error, giving slightly different readings even when you are at the same weight.

Your body’s water levels are always changing.

The human body is one incredibly complicated piece of machinery. Things are going out, coming in, changing, and dissolving all the time. As a result, your weight may vary wildly throughout a 24-48hours period. The scale varies depending on how much water you drink, your salt intake, how much you sweat, and how many carbohydrates you consume. An average person can see a daily variation in water weight of about 2 pounds, without any changes to diet or exercise habits. These variations do not signify fat loss, and watching the scale move up and down every day can be frustrating for many dieters.

In Conclusion, any weight loss or fitness program is incomplete without the timely measurements to observe your Improvement. The only way to know if your health and fitness schedule is successful is by regularly keeping track of your measurements, weight, and body fat levels.