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Get Over the Scale

We have got to get past our obsession with the scale! It almost makes me want to tell you to throw it out. Almost. :-)

Your weight on the scale is just one measurement of your progress, and it can be a misleading one. Tony Horton says it in one of his 1-on-1′s (I can’t remember which one off the top of my head) = “We are so consumed with pills and potions and gadgets to make us SMALLER. That’s STUPID!”.

And he’s exactly right! Heck, if our goal was simply to get smaller, why workout at all? We should just go lay in our bed and stop eating. We’d shrivel up and atrophy into much smaller people. That’s not what we are after. Our goal isn’t to simply get smaller. Yet we gauge so much of our progress by the bathroom scale, which only tells us if we are getting smaller or bigger. It’s crazy!

We have to focus on what really matters – our body composition. What many of us are really after is losing body fat. That often correlates to losing weight, but the weight loss is just a byproduct, not the main goal. The goal is getting our body fat low. It’s far better for your health than a specific number. If you were 180 lbs at 6%, you are going to be healthier than someone who is 180 and 15% body fat. You have more lean body mass, less body fat, and the only way you can walk around at 180 and 6% BF is to care about your nutrition and train. We know that as we workout and fuel our muscles, they will increase in strength and density, which adds weight. This can mislead us when all we care about is what a dumb scale says.

Often we get so worried about hitting a certain goal on the scale that we crash diet, kill our metabolism, and burn up our own muscle mass to hit some arbitrary goal. Stop! Be consistent and patient. Trust the system. If you are losing 1-2 lbs a week, you are rocking it! Just keep it up. Don’t look to the Biggest Loser and think, “Man if I could pull down 10+ lbs a week, I’d get there too.” Those contestants are trying to win a game. Yes, they’ll get healthy (and that is a great thing), but have you also noticed that a lot of the former contests put back on weight, some times considerable amounts? We are changing our lives, our entire LIFESTYLE. We will never go back.

What Should You Track? – Feel, Mirror, Calipers

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Get some calipers and start monitoring what matters — your body composition. I’ve written an article, “How to Calculate Your Body Fat”, that explains in detail how to do that. So stop gauging your progress solely on a scale. Start gauging your progress on 3 things:

–How do I feel?

–How do I look in the mirror?

–What is the trend in my body composition (body fat and lean body mass)? – You will need a scale and calipers.

I’m 225, and I feel great at 225. I have worked really hard to get there. When I first wrote about this, I was around 215. But guess what, my BF is still the same. You can see in my pictures that I have added muscle mass over time while keeping my body fat low with dialed in nutrition. I have loved all of the new programs I’ve been able to use, and I have added muscle. Yes the scale has gone up! OH NO! LOL If I felt great and felt that I looked great at 235, so be it… I might work for that over a couple years. Or if I felt and looked great at 200, so be it. The scale is just a number. It’s about looking and feeling great, fit, and healthy. It’s all about what this lifestyle change has allowed me to do. I DO MORE!

Keep bringing it and stop worrying about a target weight. Start thinking about how you want to look in the mirror and keep tabs on your progress. No scale needed — just some privacy! :-)

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14 comments
DerekOHara
DerekOHara like.author.displayName 1 Like

You make an excellent point with this article coach. I lost "weight" faster before I was on P90X by eating right and walking alot. But my waist is still getting smaller and my muscles are now getting bigger and more defined, so I'm not worried.

saul1226
saul1226 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great post coach. I am guilty of looking at the scale and feeling frustrated. But when I look at the actual results I am very happy!!!

JakeC
JakeC

hey coach, I've finish round one of p90X!!!  I have meet nearly all my goals and now I'm ready to increase carbs and calories.  right now i eat around 1850 (fat shredder macros) cals a day, my question is how do i go about increasing carbs/cals.  i figure ill keep my protein intake the same and the extra cals ill add each week be exclusively carbs and maybe a few grams of fat... now that I'm cut, i want to become BIG.  i want to be able to be on your bulking diet but i know i can't just change my diet overnight.  how do i go about this??

 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @JakeC That's a perfect plan. Add about 200 calories a week and make it 25-35g carbs and 6-9g of fat extra. You will slowly work to 40/40/20 or 30/50/20.

Dan Hundley
Dan Hundley

ive wanted to throw mine out quite a few times!! I get frustated at the numbers but then I put on clothes day after day that start fitting loose and I realize my body is changing!!

rabbit44
rabbit44

Coach do you recommend fat shredder while on insanity and do you reccomends a deficit on insanity if you have 5 lbs of fat to loose?

JoeSkeesick
JoeSkeesick like.author.displayName 1 Like

Good reminder @CoachWayne .  I know the scale is only a part of the story, but, it's hard not to rely on it some, simply because it's the easiest way to quickly check progress. When it doesn't move it can be frustrating. If the scale moves you're charged up to go further and check your body fat... if it doesn't you can feel anything but motivated to check further even though you may of made some real progress in body conformation. I still have to stop myself after stepping on the scale and seeing it unmoved, or worse, higher, and remind myself of the things you've pointed out in this blog. 

 

skjay68
skjay68 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @CoachWayne This is a timely blog, I thank you for it, I'm now not going to care what my scale says regarding weight, I do understand the relationship between Fat and overall weight now so I'll keep cutting till I reach my goal BF, who knows I might want to drop more when I reach said goal, onward and upwards...

JamesGarr1
JamesGarr1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Such an important article.  My advice to people is to hide the scale.  Put it in the trunk of your car or high up in the linen closet.  Take it out once a month and weigh yourself, sure, but also take out the measuring tape and record your waist, chest, arms, thighs, and neck.  And if you have them use the body fat calipers too.  More important than anything though, write down what you can do...how much weight are you lifting, how many pull ups and push ups can you do, etc...how many breaks are you taking during cardio...how is your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate....these are the real measurements of fitness.  I started at 214 pounds, and was about 40% body fat; I could barely do 10 push ups.  Two years ago I got down to 152 pounds at less than 10% body fat.  Now I'm up to 185 pounds, but my body fat is still close to 10%; I can do more push ups and pull ups than ever, my flexibility is excellent, and I lift more weight.  After two years I still don't have to take medicine for my diabetes, and my cholesterol is normal.   I started out losing weight, but at a certain point I started putting on lean muscle.   The more fit you get, the less you can rely on the scale as a measurement of fitness and the more you have to look at everything else.  For women it's even worse, my wif'e's weight hasn't moved in two years and sometimes even goes up, but she's lost a lot of body fat and can do so much more now.  There are so many ways to measure fitness...the scale is just one.  But the more data you record, the less you will obsess over the scale, and the more you will see your own progress.  I have a spreadsheet that has all my measurements, weight, body fat, etc for every 30 days for the past three years.  It's a great motivator and when things go wrong it makes it easy to understand why.  If I just put weight on there, it would be depressing and confusing and would look like I've made no progress.  

Rishi_D
Rishi_D like.author.displayName 1 Like

I get what your saying but it is hard to be not obsessed with the scale. I like your statement "Your weight on the scale is just one measurement of your progress"... gotta keep this on my mind always !!!

CoachGaston
CoachGaston like.author.displayName 1 Like

this is a great post...I was obsessed with this number I put in my head when I first started and I have stayed 5 pounds away from it. But while there I've continued to get stronger, I'm able to do more and look better...I'll take it :)

CandyCMamaHorvath
CandyCMamaHorvath like.author.displayName 1 Like

You know, even though I believe all you're saying. It is still hard mentally when you stay at the same weight and the BF goes down. My goal BF does not coincide with my current weight and I have dropped 2.8% BF in about 4 weeks and stayed exactly the same weight. I don't think it is realistic the drop the last 2.1% and not lose a pound. That would mean I need to put on 9 more pounds of muscle to reach that 2.1% drop. I am not giving up and I only weigh myself every 2 weeks. It is a crazy fun trip!

 

ZANARK
ZANARK like.author.displayName 1 Like

throwing away my scale in 3... 2... 1... lol   Love your post coach. Keep on it.