The battle of the bulge is exactly that… a battle. Anyone who has put on weight and made attempts to lose it understands that it isn’t easy to lose even ten pounds and even more a fight when 30 or more pounds of weight loss are needed to get down to an ideal body weight.
It doesn’t take much to derail your efforts with all the easy quick fast food options on the way home from work and all the junk food strategically placed at the front of the grocery store when you go shopping. With all the obstacles and road blocks, you can add to the list THE WEIGHT SCALE. The weight scale is the quick easy and cheap way to measure your progress… Not so fast though!
Remember that when you weigh yourself your measuring total body weight… not body fat. And it really is body fat that you’re wanting to lose…right? Well most of us when we are trying to lose weight we do two things. 1) We reduce and modify our food intake and 2) we exercise. Most of us will combine some form of cardio and resistance. Don’t forget that the latter will often lead to muscle gain.
So when you check your scale you’re measuring total weight which often includes some muscle gain. Unfortunately, for many of us the weight scale is a trap. We don’t see the results so we go back to doing what we did before when we become discouraged. In reality, you may have lost five pounds of fat but also gained five pounds of muscle.
I recommend using other ways to gage your progress….how your clothes fit, how you feel, energy, mood etc… You can also pick up a small scale that includes a body fat estimator for under $100. The gold standard is the DEXA scanner which uses low energy X-ray technology to provide exact measurements of lean muscle, total body fat, and body fat percentage.
We’ve used this for almost ten years in our clinic and I can’t tell you many times we’ve had patients come in discouraged because they were watching the scale at home only to have a DEXA and see that they’ve lost ten or more pounds of fat (but also gained muscle). So throw the weight scale in the trash and keep working. You WILL see results, just not always results that show up on the scale.
To your health,
Brian E. Lamkin D.O.