I was wrong…

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I used to say “Use the Scale and Plan to Fail”. I’ve seen so many people get so discouraged by a scale reading even when they were doing everything right. So I would often tell clients not to get on the scale or to limit it to monthly to avoid any issues. But research now shows that I was actually wrong.

When your goal is fat loss or weight management, weigh-ins offer you an objective, quantitative way for you to monitor your weight loss progress. In fact, people who have succeeded with weight loss often report that they self-monitored themselves using weekly weigh-ins. The most recent research shows greater progress in those who do daily weight monitoring.

Avoiding the scale means weight gain can easily accumulate without you realizing. I’ve seen so many clients utterly shocked at the number on the scale because they had avoided it for years. Regular monitoring can provide you with the information you need and often the motivation to take action before weight gain gets out of control. This way you’ll know quickly if you’re slipping at all and can take appropriate measures to get back on track.

The only downfall to measuring progress using a scale is that it doesn’t tell you anything about changes in body composition. So for example, if you’re gaining muscle because you’re working out and since muscle is more dense that fat, this change will not be represented on the scale and you may think you’re not doing that well. Also, weight can change significantly and quickly due to factors such as water retention. This can often lead to frustrations and discouragement when in fact, you may have been doing really well.

So my only advice is don’t get obsessed with what the scale reads. Start with only measuring yourself once per week at exactly the same time and focus on the action steps you can take to move the scale numbers in the right direction. Focus on getting your workouts in and eating healthy and the scale will take care of itself. It is also helpful to use a variety of measuring tools such as girth measurements, body fat assessments, Polaroid photo shots and how your clothes are fitting. This will give you a much better view of the whole picture.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

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