I’m going to hit you with truth bomb. Right in your face! Are you braced and ready? Because you probably aren’t going to like it.
The number on the scale is not that important.
When I was a big guy I never wanted to weigh myself. The number on the scale became a serious source of depression for me. I thought I was eating well and doing the right training but the number on the scale would be higher than I expected. Once I went over 120kgs I stopped weighing myself all together. I gave up and felt like ignorance was better than facing the truth.
When people want to lose weight they become too focused on the idea of weight loss. The loss becomes the only measure of success. This can become a seriously limiting factor. People will start to weight themselves too much and it can negatively impact on them when the number on the scale doesn’t do what they expect it to.
Many people that you would consider ‘skinny’ are in fact unhealthy. They are what we call skinny fat. There is a low percentage of muscle and a high percentage of fat. So while they will appear to be skinny, they can in fact be unhealthy.
One way to boost your metabolism is to boost your muscle mass. The more muscle on your body, the better your body will be at processing energy and burning the fat stores within your body. This sounds like a great thing right? An inbuilt mechanism within your body that will actually make you lose weight faster! Guess what though, muscle weighs more than fat so as you start to build your muscle mass your weight will actually go up. This does not match our mindset focusing on weight loss and like me, you may become depressed or give up hope.
But don’t give up. There are things you can do to gain a better understanding of how your body is responding to your training. Body measurements are a great way to keep track with how your weight loss is tracking. By measuring how big your waist, hips, quads and biceps are and tracking them as you go you will truly have an understanding of how your program is working.
The other guaranteed way to see whether you are losing weight is the clothes fit test. As you lose weight your clothes will fit differently. They may become lose around the waist and tight around the chest as you increase upper body muscle or vice versa.
Ultimately the number on the scale will go down. It just might not be as fast as you would have expected or wanted. The worst thing you can do is become a prisoner to that number. If you let it rule your life it will ultimately cause you problems. It might be something as simple as giving up on your diet or training because it doesn’t work. But it can also lead to some seriously negative issues relating to eating disorders and depression.
Just remember that how much you weigh is only one measure of health and fitness not the ONLY measure. Once you can understand and accept this you will be much more likely to have a long and successful weight loss journey.
So next time you are asked how much you weigh be happy to say to the person that is asking you “I’m not sure but it is lighter than I was”
Tim is completing a law degree in Sydney at the University of New South Wales and work as a PT focusing on weight loss and triathlon coach. He is a member of MaccaX Triathlon Team and truly believes that triathlon is the greatest sport on earth. Read more about his adventures on www.oztriathlete.com