Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Scale is a Dirty, Rotten, Lying Scoundrel


My scale definitely is a he, so now I leave my nightie on when weighing myself in the morning. He can't be trusted to not peek. I don't want him seeing my chubby body for fear he might decide I weigh a bit more than I did previously. After all, he isn't such a nice guy. In fact, he's a dirty, rotten, lying scoundrel. He'll whisper sweet nothings to me one moment (145 lbs.) and a few hours later takes back those cherished words (147 lbs.) It's more than frustrating, it's downright unfair!

In all seriousness, why does our weight fluctuate so widely within a given day? The simple fact is scales don't tell you the whole story about your weight loss progress. Here are just a few things that can increase your weight, causing it to fluctuate 3 or more pounds in one day:
  • Water. Because the body is about 60% water, fluctuations in your hydration levels can change the number on a scale. If you’re dehydrated or have eaten too much salt, your body may actually retain water, which can cause scale weight to creep up. Similarly, many women retain water during menstrual cycles, which is another thing that can make that number change.

  • Food. Weighing yourself after a meal isn’t the best idea simply because food adds weight. When you eat it, your body will add that weight as well. It doesn’t mean you’ve gained weight, it simply means that you’ve added something to your body (something that will be eliminated through digestion over the next several hours).

  • Muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat and it takes up less space, so adding muscle could increase your scale weight, even though you’re slimming down.

  • Glycogen. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and its packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it's stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. It's normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if youre prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.


Measurements tell you a story that the numbers on the scale just can’t. Strive to lose inches and let the scale numbers fall where they may. Measure yourself monthly and get a truer picture of your weight loss than anything that scoundrel of a scale can tell you.

So don't get upset with yourself if your the scale stands still or shows an increase. Chances are it has little to do with how well you stuck to your eating plan or how nasty that darn scale can be.

26 comments:

Googie said...

I only weigh in the mornings now because I would keep getting so frustrated at night!

Joan Nova said...

Our scales must be cousins! Very interesting post and I must admit to be ignorant of glycogen.

Genie @ Diet of 51 said...

The glycogen thing was new to me, also. Thanks for the info! And, the very entertaining intro.

My scale can see me shower, so now I'm thinking I should cover him with a towel.

Keelie said...

Great post--thanks!!
Keelie

Velva said...

Awesome post! I have been excercising and I try not depend too much on the scale. I learned a few things today reading your post. Thanks for the inspiration.

♥ Kenz ♥ said...

I get measured monthly at the gym, and I agree...it is SO awesome to see the inches come off in addition to the pounds. I definitely have a fuller sense of how I'm losing...everyone should do it.

Great post!

Bobbie's Babbles said...

So True and well said. I never weigh myself more than once a day and only in the morning naked. Sometimes days may go by because the scale is my frienemy. When it says good things I may get a little cocky and eat more than I should and if it says bad things, I may get angry and sad and do a little
f-u eating. Needless to say, the scale is sometimes tip toed around.

Rapunzel said...

Great post! I was ready to throw my scale out the window a few days ago but now he has stabilized at a consistent, if not desirable, number. For now.

FollowMeDown30 said...

I literally only weigh for the sake of my blog. If I could figureout how to weigh in & post it without ever knowing you bet I would!

P.S. The scale is for sure a man!!

Fashion Meets Food said...

Hello! To answer your peanut butter question I have not tried PB2 yet. I don't know if I would really be all about it. While the Crazy Richards is still higher in calories and points for me it taste better than regular PB and is a lot better for you.

Love your post! I need to learn to not watch my scale so much!

Barbara said...

I love that cartoon. Thanks for the reminder about measuring inches. I need to start doing that!

Nicole @ Let Them Eat Lettuce said...

Awesome insight and definitely one to remember when facing that ugly piece of metal/plastic we all face!!

Cheryl S. said...

Seriously, I have to get my measurements...been meaning to do this since Jan 1! My pants and clothes are fitting differently, but it would be so great to see the numbers cascading down on a graph! Great post.

RECOMENZAR said...

Walk the dog, join a health club, get into running. Whatever you do, you've got to move your body as much as possible if you want to lose weight.
Your blog is great my dear freind
Tu sentido del humor es increible

besos

C.G. the Foodie said...

This is a super informative post. Thanks!!!

M said...

I loved this post! It's so full of important info that will definitely help me when I weigh.

Jackie Callahan said...

Thanks so much for the very supportive words, this issue has definitely been a source os self-torture!There is nothing worse than having been "good" only to be punished by the scale!

RECOMENZAR said...

Hoy comi mucho

Kelly said...

True! Very interesting compilation of the reasons the scale fluctuates. Measurements are definitely better.

Matt said...

I love how you assigned a gender to your scale, that's funny stuff! And thanks for the good tips.

lauralei said...

scales are horrid inventions - mine weights you different from minute to minute - and you can lean, etc - we all know the tricks :)

Jess said...

Haha, I haven't decided if my new scale is a he or a she yet. It showed me as ten pounds heavier than my old scale though, and I can't decide which one is accurate. Oh well.

I only weigh in the mornings but I'm trying really hard to only weigh once a week. The every day gets to my sanity.

Fashion Meets Food said...

I use to be obsessed with weighing myself. I would do it constantly during the day but it absolutely would put me in the worst mood ever. I would also have no self esteem because of it. Now I just weigh myself every Tuesday morning, and it's more effective for me. I never weigh myself at night because all that food I ate during the day is part of the number I see on the scale, and as a result I would usually put myself into starvation mode.

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

StarrStarr said...

The only thing that keeps me going with my workouts and eating better is the fact that I stay off the scale. I know it would be hard for a lot of people to only weigh yourself every 30 days but I'm easily discouraged if I see a pound gain where I think there should be a loss. My first weigh in day resulted in over 14 inches lost so the tape meausure and the fact that I am constantly getting stronger are all motivators. The scale is a secondary thought :-)

Untypically Jia said...

Seriously. A few years ago I started lifting weights. In one month I lost only 2 pounds but I lost 9 inches!!!

www.muebles-camobel.es said...

The guy is definitely just, and there's no doubt.