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The Evil Scale

How many of you go through this on a weekly basis:

You wake up and immediately step on the scale (most likely after you went to the bathroom and removed every ounce of clothing and jewelry possible) and your eyes pop out of your head at the number you see. You move the scale to a different part of the bathroom hoping that your floor isn’t level which is what caused that horrible number to appear a moment ago. Nope… still the same. You get off the scale and you can’t understand how you gained 3lbs in one day! Now your day is completely ruined. All that hard work you’ve put in all week is for nothing and you spend the rest of your day cursing yourself and you’re ready to throw in the towel to the whole weight loss thing.

This my friends is why the scale is evil and why weighing yourself every day is evil. Did you know that your bodyweight can fluctuate anywhere from 5 to 7lbs in a 24-hour period? Things like your sodium intake from the day before, carb intake, fat intake, hormones, where you’re at in your cycle (women), the humidity outside, or the workout you had a day or two before can all affect that number on the scale! I cannot tell you the number of emails I’ve received over the years from clients stressed out because they gained weight overnight. I find it’s best to just lay it out straight to them… If someone comes to me and says “Dawn! I weighed myself this morning and I’m 3lbs heavier than I was yesterday!” I usually start off by asking them “Did you consume 10,500 calories more than what your body normally burns in a given day (TDEE)?” (To put this into perspective, that’s equivalent to 95.5 4oz. chicken breasts) and 99.9% of the time the answer is “No!”. Then I proceed to help them go through their past two days of activities to determine what I already knew… it’s water weight! Fast forward a couple of days and their weight goes back to a lower number and all is good again until the next time that number on the scale goes up.

Am I against using a scale? No, in fact, I weigh myself weekly just to track where I’m at. Stepping on the scale isn’t a bad thing, but stepping on the scale daily is something that should be avoided due to the added stress (raised cortisol levels) it causes people as well as the weight-obsession it can create. What I recommend over a scale is body measurements: your chest, waist, hips, and thighs are the best places to measure. Those measurements will tell you way more than a number on the scale, especially if you workout and you’re gaining lean muscle. So when it comes to measuring your progress, weigh yourself once a week and check your body measurements bi-weekly and keep track of your results in a notebook, your phone or app. If you use MyFitnessPal they have a great weight and body measurement tracker to use!

Lastly, if you had a bad day (meaning, you binged on donuts), don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you ruined your diet, all your hard work gone, you gained tons of fat, etc. Bottom line- Binges happen. Donuts happen. Pizza happens, LIFE happens! We are all human and I guarantee you that you’re never going to be able to be 100% perfect all of the time! If you had a bad eating day, remind yourself that it takes 3,500 additional calories (equivalent to 39 Rice Krispie Treats) IN ADDITION to what your body naturally burns in a given day to gain a pound. So if this happens, just know that your life is NOT over. Wake up that next day and get right back on track! It’s as easy as that! However, if you find yourself having more frequent binges, then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate what’s bringing on these binges and getting with your coach (Me!) to discuss what actions you can take moving forward to prevent these binges from occurring.

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