How Often Do You Check The Scale?

March 10, 2008 · Print This Article

Once a year? Once a month? Once a week? Every day? More than one time every day?

I know lots of people that check the scale each and every day, and some that even check it more than once a day. There’s people at every gym I’ve ever been to that check their weight before their workout, and then again, after they complete their workout. I know some people that check it before they hit the steam room/sauna and then recheck after. For what? What do you think it’s telling you?

The Truth

I’ll be 100% honest with you, I was one of those people until I learned the truth. This truth you are about to read changed my life forever. If you are trying to improve your appearance by losing weight, you’d better listen up.

There’s approximately 3, 500 calories in one pound of body fat. This means you’ll need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of body fat. It’s the same with gaining body fat. You’d need to have a surplus of 3,500 calories your body doesn’t need in order to create one pound of body fat. Now obviously, this doesn’t happen in an hour. It doesn’t happen in a day.

Let’s say your body takes 2,000 calories a day to maintain exactly the same weight (not counting the constantly changing level of water in your body). You consume 1,750 calories and expend 250 calories through exercise. You now have a 500 calorie deficit. If you did this every day for a week, you would lose approximately 1 lb of fat after a week’s time.

7 days X -500 calories each day = -3,500 calories

The Most Commonly Misused Measuring Device In The World

A scale is a measuring device. The number it gives you tells you the total sum of mass for everything you put on it. We often use them to measure our weight. It works well for that. However, there are many things a scale doesn’t tell you.

If you are measuring a human body, a scale DOES NOT tell you how much of the body weight you put on it is lean, fat, or water weight; it just gives you the total sum of all three. You might notice that the scale tells you different numbers depending on the time of day, your activity level, or whether you just ate or not. You might have noticed that you’re lighter in the morning than you are in the evening. This is the level of water changing in your body.

You are constantly losing water. Water is lost in small amounts through the feces and with each breath you exhale. Insensible perspiration on the skin is not visible. This invisible sweating is almost pure water and accounts for about 30% of body water loss. Most of our water loss comes from urinary output.

If you are trying to change your appearance, losing 5 lbs of water this way isn’t going to help you change your appearance permanently. You’ll put most of it right back on the very first time you eat/drink something.

A Better Way To Measure

Enter the body fat measurement. Knowing your body fat percentage will tell you your body’s total fat mass and total fat free mass; information that is much more valuable than knowing what the total of both of them together.

There’s quite a few different methods to check your body fat. Here’s a couple that most people have access to.

1. Get a qualified trainer to do a skin-fold test for you. This is the method most fitness professionals use to measure their clients. Test with the same trainer each time. Pay close attention. Make sure your trainer isn’t pinching you “nicely”. You want the truth (a skin-fold measurement), not an ego boost (a thin-fold measurement).

2. Electronic scales that check body fat and weight have become pretty popular and are available at almost any store. They aren’t the most accurate way to check, but you can probably use it to check for change. They should give you a pretty consistent reading if you use it the same time every day. If you are going to use this method, I suggest you check it first thing in the morning after you wake up, before you start moving around.

With the information I’ve just given you, you should know now that checking the scale each day is basically completely useless. Don’t feel bad about it. Make the necessary changes in your attitude towards changing your appearance and in your diet/exercise program.

If you’re starting an exercise program and making changes to your diet/eating habits, I suggest checking weight, body composition (% body fat), and circumference measurements once every 3 weeks. If you still want to look at the scale each day and you’re waiting for a permanent solution that only takes an hour, a day or a week, you’ll be looking at the scale each day and searching till the day you die.

Be Your Best,

Chris

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