What That Number On The Scale Really Means
A recent article I’ve seen floating around this past week sparked me to write this blog as there is SO MUCH I have to say in regards to the scale, women weighing themselves and gauging their success on what that number says.
First off, the scale is never going to magically disappear. As much as we see out there, ‘F the scale’, and hear how horrible it is for you – the reality is, for the majority of people, it’s not going to happen. As a coach you have to understand if you are drilling into your client’s heads how bad it is and they go and weigh themselves, they will hide from you. Women (and men) have used the scale for years and it’s not going to stop anytime soon BUT what we can do is educate on the number the scale is telling us, why it goes up and how to understand that when it does go up (or down), what it means.
No matter what your goal is, to lose weight, lose body fat, change your body composition, look more toned, the majority of us have in our minds that as long as the number on the scale goes down = success! Right?
In my experience as a coach, my clients for the most part (unless discussed otherwise) use a scale. My goal with my coaching is to have clients leave educated, not falling back into old ways (ie. seeing the scale go up and binge eating because they have ‘failed’ on their diet). One of the best ways you can educate is by teaching them more about their bodies and how to read their bodies rather than just following a meal plan and not fully understanding it.
A typical scenario would be someone following a plan to a T, putting in the work at the gym and hitting their daily macros but then see the scale start to rise. The immediate reaction is disappointment, frustration, and sadness which then leads to giving up. But what if you take the time to educate yourself on the OTHER impacts in our lives that make that number on the scale go UP?
Here are just a few factors (and trust me there are a lot more) to keep in mind if you see that scale go up before you decide to throw in the towel.
Have you ever had a stressful week at work but still managed to get to the gym and stay on track with your eating and see the scale go up?
Stress plays a huge factor in how our bodies react on a daily basis. Cortisol levels rise during times of high tension, our tummies start to feel bloated, we experience digestive issues which cause us to burn fewer calories. Some people that are so sensitive to stress can even experience inflammation in the body. Its the stress, not the eating or fitness. Making proper changes to your lifestyle and doing an inventory on your stresses is key.
Are you a new mom that wakes a few times in the night or do you have a lot of troubles sleeping? Did you have a late night and only got a few hours of sleep, stepped on the scale and noticed the weight increased overnight even when you were hitting your fitness goals and staying on track with your nutrition?
The more sleep deprived you are, the higher the level of cortisol in the body. Have you ever experienced a big weight drop after a relaxing weekend away (kid free), got some good quality sleep and felt ‘lighter’? exactly. Its the sleep deprivation, not the diet or training. Go back to bed, get a great nights sleep and see what happens. Start paying attention to your sleep patterns.
That time of the month
I cannot tell you how many times a client will check in with me and see an increase on the scale, completely forgetting that they are coming up to ‘that time of the month’. For most women, we gain a bit during that time of the month and to know and understand that every 4 weeks you will see a slight increase on the scale can really put your mind at ease. Be more in tune with your body and keep track of patterns. In some cases, women experience not only an increase in the scale but a number of emotions, inflammation in the body, bloating, cramping etc. The scale will go up, so consider the source and be mindful of patterns.
Have you ever been invited out of dinner, committed to staying on track with your diet, ate a healthy meal and left feeling so proud of yourself only to step on the scale the next morning and realize you went up in weight?
A lot of restaurants will use more sodium, oils or condiments that your body might not be used to if you are cooking for yourself. For most, if you are cooking at home you most likely aren’t using as much sodium or additives. The more sodium in the body = more water retention. What happens when you are retaining water? The scale goes up. Think about a sponge; when its dry its light as a feather, add water to it and what happens? It gets heavier. The same impact you will see on the scale. One tip; increase your water intake. Water flushes water, so you can remove some of the excess water your body is holding.
Have you ever put in a solid training session in at the gym, did a heavy legs session or went for a long run and felt amazing the next day only to step on the scale and see an increase?
Maybe you have never put 2 and 2 together but this can be a factor in why you see the scale increase. To make a long story short, when you workout you cause little tears in your muscle fibres and your body needs to work to repair those fibres. This is how you become stronger and fitter but, during the phase that it needs to heal, your body becomes inflamed and your inflammatory response reflects that on the scale. Give it a day or 2, rest, stretch and be patient and watch what happens!
Have you been so committed to sticking to your diet, not giving in to the office treats, or ordering your favorite takeout on your way home from a stressful day at work, only to step on the scale the next day and find out that you went up in weight?
This can very easily be a time that most will throw in the towel and go off track because ‘nothing is working’. One thing you need to consider is that some of the ‘healthy foods’ you’re eating, you might have a sensitivity to and causing inflammation in the gut/intestines. A simple trip to see your Naturopath for a food sensitivity test can help, or slowly removing certain foods out of your diet to see what triggers it. All in all, its patience and with a little bit of it you can not only learn a lot about your body over time but also see the changes in your body that you are wanting to see. Want to learn more about your gut health and how you can figure some of this out for yourself? I am launching a 4-week Gut Health Program this fall so email me here to get on the list and be the first to find out when we launch.
I am hoping that with a few of these tips I was able to put some minds at ease before the next time you step on the scale. By even taking the initial steps to eat healthier and incorporating fitness into your lifestyle you are already choosing to become a better version of yourself – don’t ever give up just because a number on the scale is telling you something different.
To start your journey today, click here to request my free assessment and let’s get started on the best program suited for you.