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Why people purely use scales as a metric for fat loss is beyond me.

Though saying that, when you go on a fat loss journey the first thing people will say to you as a compliment is “you’re looking good, look like you have lost some weight” what they really mean, is that you have lost some fat.

Who’s really going to say “you look less fat”

They have absolutely no idea how much you weigh, but honestly, who’s going to say to someone you look less fat haha! “less fat? thanks for that Carol . . . . . I think”
I’d prefer people to tell my clients they look smaller, thinner or leaner to losing weight! There are methods to determine how much fat you have, the only true way is to cut you up and weight it all, but obviously that’s pointless.  Next is a Dexa scan, you can do hydrostatic weighing (basically weigh you in water) or you can use callipers.  These all still have varying degrees of error so are not entirely accurate but if they are done on a consistent basis, every 1 to 2 weeks and you get to build up some data over a period of time, this will show any movements, and if dropping then you know you are going in the right direction.

Is scale weight ever useful?

Scale weight as a metric can be useful, in certain circumstances scale weight is important but this is more for professional athletes or competitors.  Hitting a certain weight class in combat sports or for lifting competitions, then yes you need to worry about the scales.  If you are neither of these then you shouldn’t worry to much about it or let it affect your day.

Fluctuations are perfectly normal in trying to lose weight and should be expected

The truth is that weight loss is never linear.  What I mean by this is that your scale weight will not drop every single day on a perfect sliding scale, even if you are in a calorie deficit.  Many factors will contribute to weight, the amount of salt you eat, how much water you drink, how much glycogen you are holding, when you go to the toilet and also the time of day you jump on the scales.  For you women, your monthly cycle plays a huge part in determining your scale weight.

If you are still hell bent on using the scales then you have to get your mind in the right place, too many people freak out or lose the plot if the scales have only dropped a tiny bit or god forbid gone up 0.2lb . . . . . look, Fluctuations are perfectly normal in trying to lose weight and should be expected.  You must understand that, and if you cant and you are one of these people who will throw everything out the window at a tiny weight gain or not a big enough drop, then the only thing that should be thrown out are the scales. You could stand on the scales, drink a litre of water and all of a sudden you are a kilo heavier, does that mean you have put on a kilo of fat? Of course it doesn’t! Alternatively you can go and sit in a sauna for 20 minutes and then weigh yourself and magically you will be lighter, again does this mean you have just lost a load of fat? No it doesn’t!

Other methods of checking progress

So now if you have decided to launch the scales out the window, there are few things you can do to monitor your progress and finding the best method of determining if you are losing fat. Firstly I’d go buy a tape measure, and take some consistent measurements over the course of a few months.  Use your eyes and look in the mirror.  Take some photos every 2 weeks.  And finally, when you are having to take bags of clothes down the charity shop that don’t fit you anymore, that’s when you know your losing fat . . . . . . I mean weight?

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