Do you need to ditch the scale?

Your scale weight is just ONE measure of how your body is responding to a program, and an inaccurate one at best since it fluctuates based on


-food quality/volume

-sodium

-sleep

-hormones

-fibre

-alcohol

-digestion

-food intolerances

-hydration

-training inflammation

-stress

-meal timing


These are just a FEW of the many factors that contribute to weight fluctuations, which are NORMAL - whether you are focused on gaining, losing or maintaining, weight is never going to be a linear progression. Tracking trends over longer periods of time is the goal.


Associating eating behaviours to scale weight can lead to orthorexic eating behaviours. “I ate this and my weight didn’t change, so from now on, I will always eat this when I’m craving X because this choice is safe.” Educating yourself on WHY these fluctuations may be occurring and accepting that your weight does not need to be the exact same everyday is an important part of healing your relationship with food. The reason why we ask some clients to weigh themselves daily is so that they can understand that weight is just ONE data point, and an inaccurate one at best, which is why we use a variety of feedback markers to determine how their bodies are responding to the program. We want clients to realize that these fluctuations ARE normal. However, we also work with clients who do not weigh themselves at all if the process is too triggering, as there are many other feedback markers that provide more value.


The hormone aldosterone, which is regulated by your adrenals, directly affects your water and sodium retention. When stress levels increase, your body holds water in, instead of peeing it out. Again, a normal reaction because during ANY stress, your body reacts the exact same. Regardless of whether the stress is emotional (sad about body fat) or physical (being chased by a bear), it elicits the same “fight or flight” response - it doesn't know when it will get water again so it holds onto the water until the stress subsides. Same idea with sodium retention - sodium is taken into your cells and your body doesn't have enough potassium to excrete the excess sodium, which is why you see the scale jump up.


Straight up, you did NOT gain a few pounds overnight. So do your body and hormones a favour and stop eliciting an even greater stress response by being so emotionally attached to the scale weight. Scale weight is just one form of measurement that can be used to assess the success of a nutrition or exercise plan, but it should not be the only measurement used, as these normal fluctuations can affect the validity of the data. This is why it’s best to combine scale weight with other data. Some simple, effective ways to measure progress include:


⚡️Tape measure (bust out an old school tape measure and measure the circumference of your waist, quads, biceps, etc - ensure you measure the exact same area each time)

⚡️Pictures (take a full body front, side, back picture in a full length mirror - ensure you wear the same clothes, same lighting, etc for comparison)

⚡️Clothes (pick an outfit that you try on to see how the fit changes - is the waist on your pants getting looser, etc)


On average, it takes 12 weeks of consistency with diet and exercise to see visible changes in body composition so don’t stress about daily measurements for progress evaluation either.


If you find that you base your self worth on your body weight, or lack of scale weight fluctuations, it may be time to take a step back from weighing yourself everyday. If you either get upset when you see a number you don’t like, or a number that gives you a temporary high, you are basing your self worth and attitude for the day based on your scale weight. At the end of the day, the scale is a meaningless measure of what is truly important - eating foods that are satisfying, honouring your hunger cues, and consistently stopping when you’re comfortably full. If the number that appears on the scale brings you back to the worship of thinness and the delusion that you will only be happy when you reach X size, it disconnects you from the important and real and meaningful aspects of your life, and it is not worth weighing yourself daily.

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