Weighing yourself to gauge personal progress has its benefits and drawbacks. Scale weight tells you very little in terms of “how” your body is changing.
Questions that cannot be answered include:
– How much body fat are you losing? How much muscle are you gaining?
You can see zero change on the scale but have significant changes with your body, especially if you are losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously
– Is your body fat percentage doing down and how do your clothes feel looser?
– Are you getting fitter, stronger, and improving quality of life?
– Do you see a visible change in the mirror or with before and after photos? Sexier Abs? Defined arms? Leaner thighs? The scale can’t tell you whether these changes are happening And, the time of day in which you weigh yourself has a huge impact on what your scale weight will report back.
In the morning our weight is lower for several reasons:
1. We have not eaten in 8-10 hours
2. We have not had any water for 8 to 10 hours or more.
3. Our glycogen levels are lower ( glycogen is stored carbohydrates) which ties in with # 1, in that we have not eaten anything for awhile- namely something from carbohydrates.
4. You have not had a workout, thus your weight will be stable because you are not losing water and electrolytes than if you did workout on an empty stomach.
There are be a fluctuation of 4-8 pounds from your morning weight to your evening weight, which gives a highly inaccurate indication of progress or lack thereof. For reasons like this, we strongly recommend against “daily weigh ins” due to such dramatic change in the short termeven if you weighed yourself daily at the same time. Plus these variations can weigh on us mentally, which can lead to self sabotaging or obsessive behaviour around our health and fitness.
For example: What if, on Night 1, you ate a carb and salt heavy meal for dinner ( say lots of pasta with meat sauce and garlic bread). In the morning, as a byproduct, you will be retaining more water and storing more glycogen from previous evening meal.
Your scale weight would be higher the next morning, compared to if:
On Night 2, you had a normal healthy meal with a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein. with minimal. You would be retaining less water, and storing less glycogen, thus scale weight the next morning would be less than if you has the heavy pasta dinner (all else being equal during both daytimes for nutrition and workout)
In this example of daily weigh ins, we see a false representation of “scale weight”, which deceives us in to believing we are either “losing or gaining weight”….depending on the order in which you ate these meals.
Rather than emphasis weight changes in short time frames ( daily, weekly, etc) it is best to do a combination of the following:
1. Only weigh yourself on the scale every 3-4 weeks. Try and weigh yourself under the exact same conditions ( i.e.: first thing in the morning and after a normal evening meal the night before, and not after a workout )
2. Utilize before and after photos to track your progress. Take these photos every 6-8 weeks, giving you enough time to see a difference.
3. Measure your hips, waist, chest, arms, and thighs every 4-6weeks. Inches lost may not correlate to change on the scale, but it always correlates to actual fat loss.
4. Monitor your clothing and make notes of any changes, particularly with pants, skirts, old clothes you haven’t worn from awhile, and dress clothes you wear occasionally.
Always here to inspire and motivate you, the Vitality Fitness Team