If I were to tell you that the best way to lose weight is to throw out your bathroom scales and never weigh yourself again, what would you say?
You would probably either just walk questioning my sanity or you would be asking me how on earth you would ever know how much weight you had lost without any way of measuring it. That would be a good question to ask and, of course, if you want to know how much you weigh then there’s no way around jumping on those dreaded scales on a regular basis. As you’ll see below, however, the secret to successful weight loss is to stop worrying about how much you weigh. Confused? then read on!
Let’s start with an understanding of what influences our body weight. We obviously all have skeletons. These all weigh roughly the same. The we throw in a whole bunch of internal organs, the lungs, the liver, a very long and that curly digestive system as well as some kidneys and a heart. So far so good. We’re all roughly weighing the same amount. It’s all wrapped in skin and hair but somewhere between that skin and hair lies our muscle tissue and our fat cells.
Now many of you will be thinking that this is where the problem starts and you are probably right. Fat cells, however, are a vitally important part of our construction. They help insulate us and they store energy. Muscle too keeps us standing up right and powers all our movement. Both contain water, but that’s where the similarity ends.
When we embark on a weight loss programme we need to stay aware of what it is we are trying to achieve. Most of us start losing weight for all sorts of superficial reasons; we want to get back into those skinny jeans we bought two years ago, we want to pretend to our school friends at an upcoming reunion that we haven’t changed a bit or we may even be planning to look good naked for a potential ‘significant other’ in our lives. Hence our obsession with the scales.
The problem with the scales comes from the nature of what is going on in our body when we diet or work-out. If we diet too quickly or take the wrong approach we will suffer a loss of fluids in both our muscle mass and fat cells. This is actually detrimental to our health, is temporary and misleading. As those fluids are heavy, really heavy, we jump on those scales we excitedly see a reduction in weight. But this is misleading and, frankly, dangerous.
Equally, if you pump iron each day in an attempt to lose weight you will be doing your body a great favour. The bigger and stronger your muscle mass is the faster your metabolism becomes and hence your ability to process calories. But guess what? Muscle mass is heavy stuff. It is many times denser than the fat cells. The harder you work out, the more toned you become, the heavier you become.
What you need to be doing is burning up your fat reserves and this may or may not be measured on the scales, depending on where you are in the process. We all know that it’s always a good thing to track your progress so,if not the scales, what tools could you use? Oddly one of the best tools is a camera. Either ask a friend or family member to photograph you in your underwear or swimming costume. You may find this hard in the early days but choose somebody you trust or use a self-timer if you have a problem with showing yourself in this way. Always pose in the same place, at the same time of day, in the same clothes and with the same light. The only thing that will be changing each day will be your shape. You may not have an accurate view of the precise numbers involved in your weight loss but this obsession is precisely what can become so demotivating and where most people fail. Instead, you will have a fabulous visual representation of all the progress you have made and this will be the most motivating weapon you could dream of in your battle with your weight. And don’t forget, it’s always motivation that leads to success. Good luck!