Fat Loss VS Weight Loss And Why Your Scale Is Ruining Your Progress
Anyone here had their whole dang day ruined by stepping on the scale in the morning? Have you ever worked so hard on your nutrition and fitness plan, only to feel defeated when you stepped on the scale?!?
Tell me if you can relate. I worked with a client for 6 weeks, she was seeing progress she hadn't seen in years with other programs.
Her confidence was high, her pant size was low. She was being showered with compliments from friends and family. She was turning heads like she did in her 20's. She slid easily into smaller sizes from her closet she had held onto with the hope of "one day" wearing them again. She even purchased new sexy outfits and 2 piece swimsuits for the summer she never imagined she'd feel confident in.
I was thrilled by her excitement. Most importantly, she glowed with renewed self esteem and was proud she had finally broken through a barrier that haunted her.
"Sarah" was previously addicted to the scale. In our initial intake call, she was boldly fixated on being 145lb. She mentioned it at least 5 times. In her mind that 145 number seemed to be the spot that held ALL her happiness.
When I learned about her past experiences, I had her remove the batteries out of her bathroom scale... and move it out of sight.
One day after getting out of the shower, seeing the reflection of her toned body in the mirror, she decided to dig out her scale and hop on! Knowing she had to be at least 15 or even 20 pounds down.
After stepping on that scale, she calls me. She's DEVASTATED! "Lauren, something is wrong, I've barely made any progress, I'm barely down 7 pounds!" "That's almost nothing, I was sure I had lost at least 20 pounds, I've done everything right and I've worked so hard for the last 6 weeks!"
Instead of trying to talk her off the ledge, I told her I needed to get off the phone so I could send her something.
I can only assume she was convinced that I was going to send her a stricter diet, a plan with more cardio, or some other major adjustment.
Instead, I put her photo from the beginning of her journey next to her most recent check-in photo. I text them to her without saying a word. No words were needed. She wasn't even the same person!
The newer photo showed a sculpted hourglass waistline that was previously wide with abdominal pockets of body fat, her legs were toned and shapely, her arms lost their jiggle, her booty went from 'pancake' to perky and her shoulders looked strong. In the newer photo she had WAY LESS FAT! Her skin glowed and she currently radiated confidence and energy, the old her looked gray, tired, frustrated, and depressed.
After seeing the comparison, she let her panic melt and knew she was doing everything right.
However, she was still confused why she had not lost much "weight."
This is the exact reason I will always suggest to focus on FAT LOSS, not WEIGHT LOSS!
Sadly, most women ONLY focus on weight loss and that actually promotes FAT GAIN.
So, what does all of this mean? Why didn't my client lose the amount of "weight" she was hoping for? She lost fat. She also added muscle.
ONE POUND OF FAT TAKES UP A LOT MORE SPACE THAN ONE POUND OF MUSCLE.
Think of the difference between one pound of rocks versus one pound of marshmallows. They're both one pound, but you will have a large volume of marshmallows and a small handful of rocks.
It's vital to remember...You can completely reshape your body, and the scale might not move much as you're expecting. If it does move, it might not continue to move at the rate you're expecting, but you ARE continuing to make progress.
FAT LOSS AND WEIGHT LOSS are not the same thing!
I'm going to say it again for my ladies lingering in the back. Listen up.
Fat loss and weight loss ARE NOT THE SAME!
Let's talk about why.
What is weight?
Simply put, your body weight is everything your body is made of. That means literally everything: muscle, fluids (like water, blood and pee) organs, bones. The whole shabang.
Anyone here drink a gallon of water each day? [yup... thats 8lbs of water you're drinking]
This results in a number that fluctuates not only daily, but hourly. Fluctuating numbers are not great indicators for success ladies. Who's following me?
Losing body weight equates to a lower number on the scale. True. However, it does not equate to lower body fat because you could be losing any combination of what makes up your body mass.
Focusing only on weight loss, being obsessed with that number on the scale, can and will interfere with your progress and even cause you to GAIN WEIGHT! Below we'll list some of the negative things that happen when you use the scale as your means to measure progress.
- FEELING DISCOURAGED: Fat loss isn't a straight line. Watching the scale daily will make you feel discouraged. What does that do? Lots of things...being discouraged kills your motivation, ruins your focus, causes depression, and causes stress. All of which negatively affect your desire to continue with your 100% compliance to your plan and derails your progress. Stress can cause release of cortisol, our stress hormone, which increases inflammation and even fluid retention, [you see the cascading effect here] by letting your scales feedback discourage you effects the way your body looks in the mirror.
- HORMONES: Being female means we have constant fluctuations in hormones. For example, prior to menstruation progesterone is your 'key player', progesterone changes the way your smooth muscle tissue responds, meaning you may experience mild constipation compared to the rest of the month. Not fully emptying your bowels daily will show on the scale. When on your period, your weight usually fluctuates a few pounds from fluid retention. Should we acutely measure progress by watching the scale while we have this fluctuation? Of course not, and if you try to, you're back at the previous bullet.
- STRESS: Stressing over what you expect the scale to do can affect sleep and focus. Irregular sleep can then impact thyroid function and metabolism. Now, you've stressed over a number in your head, which has affected your sleep and stress levels. Now your metabolism isn't optimized for FAT LOSS, because all you wanted was WEIGHT LOSS.
- EXTREME MEASURES: Women resort to extreme measures when we don't see steady progress. The scale can make these terrible ideas feel like genius ideas. What kind of extremes? Skipping meals, cutting out important macros, crash diets, ineffective diet supplements, or even severe eating disorders. These extremes WILL lead to a number of health issues that will bring your progress to a halt! Hormonal issues, thyroid function, organ issues, digestion issues, which all also put your mental health on a downward spiral.
- GUILT: Nobody is perfect. Living life is important. Celebrating your kids birthday, an anniversary, taking your parents out to dinner... These items are important. When we eat something off our plan, or drink something we shouldn't, or miss a workout our bodies respond. For the most part, one or two missteps won't stop you from reaching your goal. However, if you step on the scale after that "bad" meal choice that was loaded in sodium or sugar, it is very likely you are holding onto a few extra pounds. Is that real weight? No. But now you're depressed, discouraged, stressed, maybe you're gonna skip a few meals to "make up for it." Now, because of a number fluctuation, your mental game is way off track.
"IF YOU FOCUS ONLY ON RESULTS, YOU WILL NEVER CHANGE! IF YOU FOCUS ON CHANGE, YOU WILL GET RESULTS!"
Remember, weight loss fluctuates. Fat loss, that's much more stable, linear in nature, making it the stronger body composition indicator.
Want to know how you're progressing on your journey, start tracking your body composition through fat loss and leave worry about weight loss in the wastebasket (throw in your scale while you're at it!).
But LV, how in the world do I do that?
There's a few better ways to measure success on your body fat percentage.
- Progress Pictures taken weekly or bi-weekly (same swimsuit, same time of day, same angle)
- Body Measurements (this is a great way to track the inches you're losing) https://amzn.to/36rSwlw
- IN BODY Scanner- check your local gym
- Amazon Halo Band https://amzn.to/37VtHis
These items are just suggestions, remember that real progress and success is measured by visible changes in body composition. Newly discovered energy. Better sleep. Better sex drive! Clearer focus throughout the day. Drops in pants size. Fitting into that favorite dress that you haven't dared to try on in a decade. Compliments from friends, family, and coworkers. Better performance in the gym. Strength gains. Getting sick less often. Better sleep. Confidence.
Tools, tips, plans, and support to reach your goals the right way, stay on track, measure your progress, and sustain your results are available within the program I created over at Wholly Fueled. Take a look, and surround yourself with an amazing group of other women who are winning and gaining confidence each and every day. Toned sexy bodies, new confidence, more energy, and a simplified plan to reach your goal is what we can promise. We know that the scale is NOT the best way to measure your success, and soon you'll be able to stop stressing over "weight" and obsessing over your results!
If your nutrition has been off track for years, if you have always resorted to eating processed foods when on the go, if you don't get in all 3 macros with most of your meals, and if you don't eat consistently throughout the day, your body composition has room for improvement.
Good news though! The improvement can be made FAST with simple planning and adjustments to your nutrition. These adjustments will allow you to see lean muscle gain, along with fat loss.
And don't worry, Getting "bulky" is a myth, so let's get that concern out of the way. By implementing a workout routine with your adjusted nutrition plan, we're talking about the lean muscle gain that tones your legs, shapes your shoulders, and blasts belly fat. We're getting sexy and confident here, and that requires some healthy lean muscle in the right places.
Drop any questions in the comments and I'm happy to help!
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