While it’s easy to get excited about checking your weight and health progress on a regular basis, your body will need time to adjust to a new way of eating and a new routine.
Measuring should primarily be about collecting data, enabling you or I to make changes as needed in order to improve your health & eating routine. It’s important to keep this in mind because it’s easy to fall into a habit of weighing yourself every single day which can be detrimental for a myriad of reasons.
Firstly, our total body weight fluctuates on a day-to-day basis due to factors like our body’s hydration levels, our exercise routine and the digestion rates of different foods we’ve eaten. Since we usually eat different meals each day, drink different amounts of fluids and do a variety of exercises throughout the week, these fluctuations make sense.
Secondly, weighing yourself daily can become an obsession (and can be extremely discouraging) when health and fitness are supposed to be a positive and motivational endeavour. Measuring your progress once a week will allow for much more consistency and remove the possibility of making overly reactive changes to your routine when you don’t need to.
TOP TIP: Measure yourself on the scales at the same time every week for more accurate results. Remember that the best indicator of progress is how you feel, how your clothes fit, and your body measurements.
Finally and most importantly, our total body weight measurement is not actually a true representation of our overall health and fitness. Your health and fitness are more than a single number. While total body weight has traditionally been the main measurement, our understanding of our bodies has progressed significantly over the years – meaning there’s a better way of tracking your health & fitness levels.
BMI vs Body Composition
You’ve no doubt heard of BMI (Body Mass Index) before.
Over the years, BMI has become a common yet very generalised way of assessing an individual’s overall health. This is done by dividing someone’s weight by the square of their height, and – depending on what this figure is – placing them into one of four categories (healthy, underweight, overweight or obese).
However, this system does not take into account muscle density or all types of fat. As a rough indicator, it’s also often inaccurate for those who are outside the “normal” height range.
Body Composition is much more comprehensive.
It takes into account percentages of bone, fat, water and muscle throughout the body, allowing for a much more accurate breakdown of an individual’s overall health. It’s important that all of these metrics are reported on accurately to gain a true insight into overall health.
A body composition monitor like the one I use in the clinic is able to show you that you’ve lost weight and gained muscle. However, if you are using a standard set of bathroom scales that measures only total body weight, it might appear that you’ve not lost “weight” at all – or even gained some – as muscle weighs more than fat.
This can be extremely misleading and disheartening, so it’s imperative you are using more than the scales to monitor your progress.
You are MORE than a number
Even though it’s important to measure and monitor your progress, your overall health and fitness come down to more than just how much you weigh. Data from your check-in sessions should be used to motivate you and support your health goals, not be the only thing to care about.
So, remember to check in with you. How do you feel, what are your energy levels like, have your symptoms improved, can you move easier, what's your mood like, how do your clothes fit? These are the true indicators of progress and success!
Jayne Mossop – Nutritionist and Metabolic Balance® Coach