Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tipping the Scale in Your Favor

A couple of years ago I saw a cartoon. Two little girls were standing in front of a bathroom scale and one little girl says to the other, "Don't step on it; it makes you cry."

The scale has that effect on a lot of people. Here are some tips on dealing with it in a helpful way:

Some research does show that weighing yourself every day is connected to weight loss. It goes back to that "What gets measured gets managed" concept.

Even though that can be helpful a lot of fitness experts, like Jillian Michaels, recommend only weighing in once a week. Weight can fluctuate so much within a 24 hour period that daily weigh-ins can be misleading. Tracking week to week at the same time of day in the same state of undress can be the better option.

While the scale can be a helpful tool, it doesn't tell the whole story. What if you tweak your diet and start lifting weights? You may not see the number on the scale go down even though you feel better and look better in your clothes. A lot of improving fitness is in body recomposition and a scale can't measure that.

Building muscle and losing fat simultaneously means the number on the scale might not decrease. Don't throw out your scale altogether but make it one part of a process to track where you are.

The most important thing to remember is that we are doing all of this to live our best life, not to look good for anyone else or for a particular event. We want to have the strength, energy, and stamina to keep doing all the things that make up our life.

In addition to weighing in, I find these two habits helpful:

1. Measure your waist. This is most helpful when you have a moderate amount of weight to lose. It's possible for this number to go down without the scale reflecting any weight loss.

2.  Try it on. I don't need a scale or a measuring tape to tell me if I need to lose a few pounds. You know what I'm talking about. You grab those pants from last year on the first chilly day of fall and ...uh oh.  If you feel totally defeated by the scale then when you are first starting out use a pair of pants, without an elastic waist, that are tight.

 Uncomfortably, not impossibly so.

As you work on your weight loss try them on once a week. When they get more comfortable, step on the scale to measure progress. Then move on to another pair that still feels tight.

If you are concerned about your weight talk to your doctor about it. While many of them don't want to bring it up to you, and the only prescription is still to eat right and exercise, they can give you tips on what is a healthy weight for your height, gender, and age.

Don't try the latest crazy diet or buy any equipment you don't think you'll still be using in ten years. Remember, this is an ongoing, lifelong process. We want our habits to be sustainable so slow and steady wins the race.

We want a doable eating plan.

We want exercise that's fun and easy enough to be maintained.

We want healthy and strong.

Most of all we want to create healthy habits that we can put on autopilot so we don't have to obsess about our weight all the time! 

What's something that has worked for you?

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