Let's say you've been working out and dieting to lose weight for a few weeks now. You hop on the scale and "BOOM" you're up 2 pounds. You're thinking to yourself "this fitness stuff just ain't for me, I thought I would have at least dropped some weight, not go up" and you want to quit. Have you considered that you may not be weighing yourself correctly? That's right, in today's blog we're going to examine some of the things that can cause numbers to lie. When weighing in consider the following:
1. Scale's Inaccurate- This is an obvious one but so many people don't take it into account. One way I like to check the accuracy of a scale is to take a 10 pound weight and put it on the scale and then take a significantly heavier weight (let's say 30 pounds) and put it on the scale to make sure it reflects both weights accurately. The reason I do two different weights is because sometimes the scales inaccuracies grow incrementally as the weight placed on them increases. Also, I would advise you use a DIGITAL scale instead of the dial scale with the needle to improve your accuracy.
2. Different Scales- Another thing that's pretty obvious that some of us miss is that we're weighing in on different scales. You may weigh-in on your home scale and get one weight and you may weigh-in at your doctor's office or gym and get a different weight all together. Try to stick to one scale all of the time when tracking your progress.
3. Different Time of Day- Think about it, if you weigh in the morning before having breakfast one day. Then the next day you weigh in at noon you'll most likely get two different weights. The big reason for this is that by noon, you've probably consumed 2 or 3 meals by the time you weigh in. Pick a time of day and stick to it.
4. Weighing Too Often- If you're weighing yourself everyday, STOP! Everybody's weight fluctuates on a daily basis due to drinking more or less, the amount of sleep you got, inflammation, stress levels and other physiological factors. Also, if you weigh-in everyday you can certainly get sucked into the head games that the scale plays with people right before it knocks them off of their fitness plan. Try to weigh yourself once a week and if things aren't moving don't stress out because that could only make things worse.
5. Different Clothing- This is an easy one, clothes have weight! If one day you weigh yourself in sweat pants, then the next time you weigh in with shorts on, different shoes, etc. all of these things can give you different readings on the scale.
6. Uneven Surfaces- Placing your scale on an uneven surface such as cracks in bathroom tile or on carpet can throw the scales reading off significantly. Keep it on a hard flat surface.
7. Eating Late- For those of you who are sticking to your diet perfectly but have a busy day and end up eating late to hit your calorie goal you may end up weighing the same from the previous week or more the next morning because your food hasn't had the proper time to go through the digestive process.
8. Menstrual Bloat- For female dieters this can be an issue from up to 8 days prior to getting your monthly cycle all the way through the cycle it's self. Do not let this time of the month stress you even more than it has already. In my observation, I've seen an average of 2-3 pounds weight gain in women around the time of the menstrual cycle but it ultimately boils down to the individual. Keep this in mind and stick to your plan.
9. Sodium/Water Retention- Hitting all of your calories and macronutrients perfectly but not understanding why the scale isn't moving as it should, or the mirror isn't too kind? Changes in your daily sodium intake can cause your weight to fluctuate by making you retain water. I would recommend trying to keep your meals roughly the same, even the seasonings to help keep sodium levels consistent.
10. It's Not Linear- Changing the way your body looks takes patiences. Some weeks the scale will not move at all and then all of a sudden 3 pounds drop off. If you diet and work out eventually you WILL hit a wall at some point (EVERYONE DOES). When that time comes you will need to be patient and remain consistent. If the situation calls for it you may need to change some things, but all in all do not give up!