A recent conversation with a coworker.
“You’re pretty into fitness. Help me figure this out. This summer, I quit drinking soda pop. I eat more veggies. Basically, I eat pretty healthy. My goal was to run 100 miles this summer. I hit over 150 miles. I feel good. I feel more toned. My clothes fit better. After 10 weeks, I stepped onto the scale and I only lost 5 pounds. How can this be? I feel like I should have lost more weight.”
Has something like this happened to you? Eating well, getting your exercise on, feeling great…..then step on the scale and realize that despite all of you efforts, you’re only down 3 pounds? Happens to me quite a bit. I typically weigh myself every two weeks. At first, I was dropping the pounds left and right, Now, I lose a few pounds every couple of weeks or so. I used to get really frustrated. It didn’t make sense to me. Now, I realize that the scale is just a number.
On a sidenote, you hear people say all the time “muscle weighs more than fat.” Shoot, I’ve said it. I think I even said it this week. I realize now that while the intent is good, the facts are wrong. Muscle and fat weigh the same. As the old riddle goes, “Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?” A pound is a pound. What people mean to say is that muscle and fat differ in density. If you look at 5 pounds of muscle next to 5 pounds of fat, fat takes up quite a bit more space than the muscle. In short, you lose the fat pounds, but can gain the muscle pounds. It’s not as easy to tell you’ve gained muscle as is for fat. Make sense?
So many people are caught up with the scale number game. There are plenty of other ways to gauge weight loss. Check these out.
Your clothes. Have you gone down a few jean sizes? Have you had to move to a smaller belt notch? Shirts fitting a little loose lately? All signs that you are losing weight. It means you’re slimming down a bit.
Your energy level. have you noticed that you don’t need that extra cup of coffee during the day? Head a little clearer? Sleeping better at night? The way that you feel is a HUGE indicator on how you’re doing. All of these are signs of weight loss.
Body-fat percentage. Try getting your body fat tested then compare it a little ways down the road. Always an interesting aspect of weight loss.
Comments. With weight-loss, people will eventually notice. In one of my previous posts, I made mention of how it’s not a quick and easy thing. Weight-loss takes time. One good sign of weight-loss is receiving comments from others. They will notice. It’s a good feeling. It goes a long way and keeps the motivation going strong.
Participation. With weight-loss comes confidence. Do you find yourself more social? More apt to participate in group activities? Maybe put yourself in the spolight? Perhaps you have found that you are less reluctant to try new things or go on a new adventure. More good signs of some weight-loss.
Taking up less space. Do you feel smaller? Easier getting into your car? On a plane? At the movies? Great indicators that you may have lost a little weight.
I guess the point is, don’t be so bent on the number that the scale gives you. Sure, it’s alright to keep what the scale says in the back of your mind, but don’t rely solely on that. There are a plethora of other indicators of whether not you’re losing weight. It’s not a speedy process. Give it time, stick with it, and you will see great reward.
You’ve got this!