Body scale as Enemy No. 1

I’m probably not the only one who, at some point in life, have felt that body scale is her greatest enemy. I walk along the “fine line” of dieting and still in some mornings I have the feeling that I would like to throw it out from the window 🙂 
Today I woke up and waited for the new “low in weight” (read: diet lowest weight)- instead I was looking at + 500 g…

In my head, only one thought:  why, why, why?

Why is this regular weight-watching even necessary? By weight (and body measurements), you can draw appropriate conclusions about weight loss (or lack of it). Unfortunately, the mirror reflection is not always helpful – we look at ourselves too often and too close to notice changes. I always recommend marking body weight down on a regular basis but take into account only the last 2 weeks or 1-month trend – this is what really shows the actual direction. Not those little everyday changes.

There are also exceptions – people to whom regular weight monitoring just does not seem to fit- as it increases their anxiety levels – in such case, I would, of course, advise not to poke the bear and forget the scale as additional stress is even worse than lack of knowledge!  🙂

How often and how much should we lose weight to get the best results? Everybody wants to lose weight now (or yesterday) and as much as possible. If we think about the bigger picture, it is not the best way to go. As women have unrealistic (fear) about muscle growth, they also have an unrealistic image about body’s ability to burn body fat. It always amuses me if I see commercials that promise to lose 10 kg with 1 month… Truth is that good tempo is about 500 g a week, which makes (only) 2 kg in a month. Yes, you can lose more than 2 kg, but then it comes from water and muscle mass, not from body fat. So be aware where your weight loss is coming from! There are some exceptions: if an obese person starts from a clean sheet with his/her nutrition- they will see bigger weight loss, at least in the beginning and that’s totally normal. Women often tend to think (or hope?) that weight loss should be figuratively speaking a straight-line diving from the top to down – in fact, the reality is something else. 

For example, on average, my weight drops only 1-2 times over a two-week period: sometimes weight sits steadily for 2 weeks (+/- 200 g), and then the weight drops … 1 kg! Then again 1-2 weeks of steady weight and then again, it will go down. The fact that every morning you come to see another -100g is rather a dream, not a reality. An idea of successful 2-day diet and actual results on a 3. day is also far from the reality…. After changing your eating habits, a body needs to adjust. It can take time up to 2-4 weeks to see your first decline on the scale.

At this point let’s see (and I will remind myself) of various reasons that often affect our weight in the morning:

  1. Sleeping!
    A very underrated factor for weight loss! Note that as soon as you sleep more, expected weight loss will appear in the morning (and vice versa). Often, I lose weight after the weekend, just after I have had an opportunity to sleep longer for 2 nights in a row.
  2. Stress
    Stress= excess cortisol levels in the blood. This hormone promotes the deposition of fat in the stomach. On the other hand, stress also makes us eat more likely unhealthy foods, which directly increases weight.
  3. Menstruation
    Just before the “red days”, the level of progesterone increases, which also triggers more aldosterone, which causes the kidneys to retain more water and sodium. On that time body holds on little more water and as a result many women feel very big and swollen (bloated) before their menstruation. Luckily, it will pass.
  4. Foods that are usually not in your daily menu
    For me, this one is the main reason why morning weight has increased! Usually, these kinds of foods are saltier and contain more carbs- in both cases, the body (only temporarily!) holds on more water! And this is water weight is that you see from the scale. Nothing more. That’s why it is possible to gain 2-4 kg after a big party (which fortunately disappears at the latest in a week). However, it’s worth mentioning: the body is not capable to store that much fat during one night!
  5. Water and salt
    If you happened to eat a few saltier meals on the previous day while drinking a decent amount of water, you can be sure that on the next morning you will not lose weight. However, under any circumstances, never leave the salt out from your menu! No need to over-consume as well.
  6. Heavy workouts
    Weight gain can also be caused by training, especially when you have just started to work out on a more regular basis.

In summary, the number on the scale is informative, but in addition, it is always worthwhile to note down the measurements of the hip, waist and thigh/forearm in about one month’s time interval. Because of the combination of right nutrition and exercise, the body composition is constantly changing – body fat decreases and muscle mass increases. Maybe you don’t see any change on the scale, but measurements tell another story.

Sometimes you want to make changes just to make changes. Is that familiar to you? Both in exercise and nutrition. If possible, all together…. It’s the best way to guarantee that in the end, you won’t know what action really worked.  Please, have some patience!!!  If you stick to your plan 100% and don’t see any results on the scale or on measurements in 30 days- then it’s time to start thinking about changing something. Not sooner!

 

Thinking too much about numbers is not necessary- remind yourself, what is the goal- to have a certain number on the scale or to look/feel great? 😉

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