For Weight Loss, the Scale Can Be Your Friend

The scale can be your friend or enemy. You need to know what it does and why you shouldn’t use it too much.

Why is the scale useful?

A scale measures body fat percentage. If you are not sure if you have any body fat, then a simple skinfold test will give accurate results without using a scale. A skinfold test is very easy to do and doesn’t require any special equipment. Skinfolds are used to measure body fat percentages in people with normal skin tones. They are also commonly used for measuring body composition in athletes, body builders, and other physical fitness enthusiasts.

How can I use the scale correctly?

It’s very important to understand that the scale is only good at telling us how much fat we have versus how many calories we consume. A person who eats a lot of food but has little body fat may still weigh less than someone who consumes few calories but has lots of body fat. There are several factors which affect our weight, including genetics, age, activity level, gender and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

The scale, then, will not always reflect the amount of muscle (which weighs more than fat) in your body. A person may gain weight over a period of time, but if that weight consists mainly of muscle then the increase in weight is a good thing. The scale cannot tell the difference between fat and muscle, so you need to be objective when you weigh yourself.

There are, however, some benefits to using a scale. If you are actively trying to lose weight, then weighing yourself can give you an idea of how your body is changing. Obviously if you are losing weight you will be able to tell by stepping on the scale. More importantly, if you are losing fat but not muscle then your weight will decrease and this is something which can only be seen by weighing yourself.

What should I do when the scale shows weight gain?

We all know that a person should lose weight if they are overweight or obese, but what happens when the scale shows weight gain? Does this mean you’re not losing fat?

The answer is: it depends. There’s no easy way to tell whether you’re losing fat or muscle by stepping on a scale, but you could be gaining muscle and still lose weight. The scale isn’t always reliable in this case because it can’t measure muscle gain or loss accurately.

Worried about losing muscle mass?

Don’t be. The best way to keep from losing muscle when you’re on a diet is to make sure that you get enough calories, carbohydrates and protein each day. Also, try to schedule your workouts at a time when you’re not dieting. Working out when you’re hungry (which is likely if you’re on a diet) can cause muscle loss.

Is weighing yourself daily a good idea?

If you’re trying to lose weight, then weighing yourself daily is not harmful and can be helpful for some people. However, it is best to not weigh yourself too often (only once a week or once every two weeks).

Why?

Because frequent weighings can cause you to overreact to small changes in weight (such as water retention), which can lead to discouragement and giving up on your diet.

If you’re actively dieting, then it’s best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten or drank anything and before you’ve done any exercise. This will give you the most accurate results. Also, it’s best to weigh yourself on the same day each week so that you can see a general trend of your weight loss instead of just seeing whether today was higher or lower than yesterday.

For long-term weight loss, it is usually best to avoid stepping on the scale as much as possible. Instead of getting discouraged by seeing a higher number, concentrate on the fact that you’re healthier because you’re eating less and moving more. Check your weight once per month if you must, but try to not let it affect you too much because seeing a higher number can be frustrating when you’re dieting.

What does a high metabolism mean?

It’s a common misconception that some people are “just blessed” with a high metabolism. This isn’t true; your metabolism is just like any other aspect of your body, it can be trained and improved upon. A person’s metabolism reacts to their lifestyle. People who are more active tend to have higher metabolisms than those who are sedentary. For instance, an Olympic athlete will have a higher metabolism than a couch potato.

Is it possible to eat too much and lose weight?

Eating too much will cause you to gain weight, but the law of thermodynamics states that your body must expend as much energy (in the form of calories) as you consume. If you consume more than you burn, then you will gain weight. If you eat less than you burn, then you will lose weight. The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume, regardless of how much you eat.

Sources & references used in this article:

Friendship clique and peer influences on body image concerns, dietary restraint, extreme weight-loss behaviors, and binge eating in adolescent girls. by SJ Paxton, HK Schutz, EH Wertheim… – Journal of abnormal …, 1999 – psycnet.apa.org

Autonomy support from family and friends and weight loss in college women. by TA Powers, R Koestner, AA Gorin – Families, Systems, & Health, 2008 – psycnet.apa.org

Motivational predictors of weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. by GC Williams, VM Grow, ZR Freedman… – Journal of personality …, 1996 – psycnet.apa.org