It’s a whole new year and you don’t have to look far to find somebody who has a NY resolution to shed some pounds. Whether you’re aiming to lose just a few kilograms or perhaps you are aiming for a serious change, the diet life is never easy. The truth is that no diet is perfect and we all make mistakes (and hopefully learn from them!) – but there is one particular diet mistake that far too many dieters make.
Because we often refer to dieting as ‘losing weight’ we often tend to think that the true indication of diet success is seeing the number on the scales go down. However, the truth is that real fat loss is not always accurately measured on scales and obsessing over daily weigh-ins is rarely helpful.
In a recent Huffington Post article personal trainer Kathleen Trotter wrote on the topic of weighing yourself and highlighted her concerns with the common diet practice. “I am not a fan of including daily weigh-ins in a weight loss regime,” she wrote. “Daily weigh-ins are emblematic of many of the things I find frustrating with the fitness industry — the constant monitoring of oneself and the importance placed on image and numbers.”
“The idea that one should weigh in daily feeds into a discourse of weight loss and health that I find incredibly frustrating. The discourse that there is a “quick fix” to becoming healthier, and that health is actually just a synonym for becoming thinner. Instead of health being the quest for improved energy, sleep, self-esteem, strength, flexibility, quality of life and improved cardiovascular health, it becomes purely connected to the number on the scale.”
Not only is weighing yourself obsessively often a psychological trap, but it is also a fairly inaccurate way to track your progress on a daily basis. An increase in weight does not always indicate fat gain, but often it can be a result of hydration, salt intake or needing to go to the bathroom. If you have lost a large amount of fat then this will obviously show on the scales, but on a daily basis, weighing yourself may not be able to accurately track your progress.
In a recent Instagram post, fitness blogger Kelsey Wells wrote on the topic of weighing yourself, explaining why the scales are not everything. Wells explains that at her lightest she weighed 122 pounds (55kg), however after achieving all of her fitness goals she weighs 18 pounds more (63kg) than she did at her smallest. Due to muscle gain and an increase in tone, Wells explained that in traditional terms she is failing. But you only need to take one look at her now to realise that at a heavier weight she looks fitter, healthier and even more toned than before.
So if you want to measure your diet progress without obsessing over scales what should you do? The most accurate at-home tracker is measurement and photos. At the start of your diet measure areas such as your waist, hips, thighs and arms, as well as taking photos from a series of angles. Re-measure yourself about once and week and record your progress with photos. Occasional weigh-ins are of course okay too, but just remember, the scales aren’t everything.