I can lose 5 pounds in less than two days!
But according to my scale I have. And according to all the magazine articles I’ve read it is possible.
The problem is two days later, my weight is back up where it originally was, because the weight I “lost” was really water loss.
Many diets produce great results for the first few days or a week because they promote rapid water loss. Your body is actually dehydrated. Your weight will then start increasing as your body returns to its state of normal water retention.
IF you are grid locked on the numbers on your scale, you will often be mystified. You might follow your diet religiously only to see weight GAIN instead of LOSS. You may go on a bing and see your weight dropping. What? What’s going on?
Many people stop their new diet when they see the numbers, simply because they are disappointed.
Image courtesy of luxstorm on Pixabay
Your scales do not track how much you eat or drink. They do not measure how much you exercise. They cannot tell you that YES, you’ve gained 2 pounds of muscle (a good thing) while losing 4 pounds of fat (a really good thing).
All you see is the numbers.
The numbers say you’ve ONLY lost 2 pounds! After ALL THAT WORK? You think, “this diet sucks,” and you quit.
Your scales are LYING to you.
You really lost four pounds of the stuff you needed to lose, AND you have become stronger and leaner by gaining two pounds of muscle. The two pounds of muscle will rev up your metabolism helping you lose even more weight and gain more muscle.
Your diet is a success even if it doesn’t look like it on the scales.
There is a better way to gauge whether or not your diet is working . . .
1. Start by taking some photos of yourself.
Strip down to your underwear (only YOU will see the photos) and take a full body front shot, a full body side shot and a full body back shot. Then take a close up of your face.
When I first decided to lose weight, the only way I could tell was the fact that my face was slimming down. I actually could SEE my cheekbones! I was blind to seeing any evidence of weight loss on my body, which is why, you also need to …
2. Determine your body composition.
This is a measure of how much lean muscle vs body fat you have. It can be measured with special scales or skinfold callipers you can pick up cheaply online. (Instructions are included with this Amazon Recommended testing kit)
3. Take measurements once a month.
Measure the fattest part of your thighs, waist, hips, chest, upper arms and calves. Try to measure the same body parts each time. For example, measure your waist AT your belly button. Measure your hips 3 inches down from your belly button. Measure your thighs 15 inches above your knees. This of course will depend on how tall you are!
Keep a record in your health and fitness journal.
4. The pants or leggings test.
Image courtesy of Gadini on Pixabay
Pay attention to how your pants or leggings fit. Are they getting looser? Where are they getting looser? Around your waist, your hips, or your upper thighs?
Here’s a funny story from several years back. I weighed a LOT. Over 250 pounds. I knew I was more than 250 pounds, because the scale maxed out at 250.
I went to Mexico for three months. I dressed up in a suit with tailored pants for the trip to Mexico. When I got to my destination I ditched the suit for informal, light and loose dresses and elastic band pants.
Three months later, I started putting on my suit for the journey back to Canada. My pants literally fell off! When I got home I weighed myself, astounded and thrilled to see a 50+ pound weight loss.
I actually had NOT been trying to lose weight, so I was not paying attention. What a joyful surprise!
The four methods, combined with your scale are a more accurate and motivating way of measuring change and monitoring your diet’s success.
On its own, weight is just a number.
It doesn’t always tell the truth and reflect the reality of what’s happening with your body.
Take photos, find out your body composition, measure your body parts, check how your pants or legging are fitting AND finally, weigh yourself.
Let the combination of measurements determine your progress, keep you on track AND keep you sane.
Note: An alternative to body mass tests including calipers are scales that include body mass measurements. Be aware that the cheaper versions of these scales can be very inaccurate.
Here is Amazon’s Choice for a Body Mass Indicator scale. I really LIKE Amazon Choice products — Amazon chooses them because they get very few returns and because they are at a great price point.