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Measuring your Weight Loss
Are you obsessed about weighing yourself? If so, you’re not alone. The majority of us, when beginning a weight loss journey, or trying to keep off weight we have lost tend to become addicted to checking scales The first thing you probably did when you started your weight loss diet was to weigh yourself. And, then you probably continued to weigh yourself as you moved through your weight loss journey. Most people trying to lose (or gain) weight end up weighing themselves every day in an effort to measure your results.. So, the question remains, is this really the best method to monitor your weight loss goals? Absolutely NOT. There are so many variables to take into consideration as you work to reach your weight loss goals and the numbers on a scale may not be an accurate representation of your results. The scale’s purpose is actually to measure the pull of gravity on your body-that’s it!
Many people jump on the low-carb diet bandwagon and oftentimes, completely eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. When they do this, they WILL see significant weight loss. Sadly, this weight loss is mostly water as .1 grams of carbohydrates can store 2 to 3 grams of water. o, what you’re really losing is water weight when you eliminate carbohydrates.
This might sound great to you, if you’re still seeing the numbers go down, but the problem is that good carbs are a necessary source of energy for the body. We need them to fuel our bodies and our brains. There is a reason we need all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) to function effectively. When we are lacking carbohydrates as an energy source, we will feel cranky and “out of sorts” .Our bodies then turn to protein, found in our muscles, as an energy source. Our lean muscle mass actually helps to burn fat. So, this is not a good solution. I have my clients follow a healthy eating plan based on a 50:30:20 ratio of good carbs: lean protein: essential fats. This ensures optimal energy while assisting in weight loss.
Diet vs. Exercise
I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise”, or whichever rationale they choose to favour. But, research shows, over and over again, that the most effective combination is 30% Macro ,30% Micro Nutrition AND 40% Exercise. Exercise allows us to build muscle mass which increases your metabolic rate and allows you to burn fat more quickly. If you diet, without exercise,it will actually contribute to fat AND muscle loss, eventually leading to weight gain.
Muscle and the Scale
You have to be careful when you become obsessed about scales. Have you ever gone a week and not noticed a significant change on the numbers on the scale, yet your clothing feels a little loser and the inches seem to be a bit less? This is because muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space. If you lose 5 lbs of fat and gain 5 lbs of muscle, the numbers on the scale won’t move, but you will most likely have lost inches and are seeing a difference in how your clothing fits. Most people do not take this important information into account and become upset when those numbers don’t change on the scale. Your scale alone won’t tell you that you have still lost a significant amount of fat and gained some great muscle (which is a good thing!). You may even have gained a pound, but don’t be alarmed, or discouraged, if you know you’ve been working hard.
Better Measures for Monitoring Weight Loss Success
1) Body fat percentage: This measurement will give you a reading of your actual fat mass vs. muscle mass. So, if the numbers on the scale don’t change, or increase, you’ll be able to see exactly why you either gained muscle or fat and this reading will tell you which one. This is much more accurate than weighing yourself alone.
2) If you still want to weigh yourself, combine it with body fat percentage readings and do it less frequently. Weight fluctuates greatly within a day. Pick one day a week and weigh yourself at the say time of day (preferably in the morning), without clothing, or wearing the same clothing.
3) Try not to weigh yourself right after a workout. You will most likely have lost a ton of water weight and will probably be upset if you weigh yourself the next morning and notice that the numbers have gone up.
4) Measurements are a great way to determine success. If you’re losing inches, even if you’re not losing the pounds, you know you’re on the right track!
5) Do some self-assessment. How do you look and feel? Do you have more energy? Are you able to do things that you weren’t in the past? How does your clothing fit? Are you starting to see some more muscle definition?
All of these factors need be taken into account when you are measuring your weight loss success.
To your success!
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