Friday, March 25, 2016

When the Scale Lies

Are you feeling discouraged because you have hit a plateau in your weight loss? Have you worked hard at eating healthier and being more active, only to step on the scale and find that the numbers do not budge?

The scale may not be telling the whole truth about what is happening in your body, and the changes that ARE really happening. Here are some ways to tell if you are still having progress. They are called non-scale victories.

1. Do you have more energy?
Have you been able to walk, run, or play with your kids/grandchildren more? Can you do more before you get out of breath? Are you now starting to pick up your pace when you are walking? Can you go out for longer periods of time or distance?
2. Are you losing inches or changing your body shape? Are your pants starting to feel loser? Are your shirts fitting looser on your arms or stomach? Have you gone down a dress size?
3. Do you feel healthier?
Are you sleeping better? Do you have a better outlook on life? Do you have more confidence?
4. Are you stronger?
Can you lift heavier weights or do more reps at the gym. Does carrying the groceries inside or lugging the laundry basket upstairs seem less cumbersome? Does spending a day outside gardening make you feel less sore the next day?

Why the scale will not budge!

1. First we must establish that muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. When the scale doesn't budge, you probably still have lost weight but then you put on some lean muscle.

2. Your body weight is made up of fat mass and fat free mass. Fat mass is the actual amount of essential (necessary for normal, healthy functioning. It is stored in small amounts in your bone marrow, organs, central nervous system and muscles) and non essential fat  (fat necessary for maintenance and reproduction functions) in the body. Fat free mass includes your tissues, internal organs, muscle, bone, and water. You could be losing weight but not know it because you have gained water weight or your body may be holding onto water. In fact, elevated levels of cortisol can cause water gain possibly due to interfering with aldosteron (a hormone that regulates fluid balance).

So next time you step on your scale and the numbers don't go down, evaluate how you feel and or your body is changing before you get discouraged.

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