I’m going to ask you a question that I’m pretty certain I already know the answer to.
Have you ever stepped on the scale after a week or two of eating well and training consistently and been absolutely gutted to see the numbers haven’t moved downwards? Or worse, they’ve taken a turn upwards?
I know first hand the negative impact this can have on your motivation, confidence and self-esteem. Ever had that moment where you think “what’s the point?” and felt like chucking the bathroom scales in the bin? Me too!
When you don’t see the results you were expecting, it can steer even the most ambitious goal-getter off course. That might mean you make poorer choices around food or lose your motivation for exercise.
But let me ask you this: what if the scales weren’t the best way to measure your progress?
What if, despite what the numbers on the screen say, you were actually making lots of headway, and all those sustainable habit changes weren’t actually in vain at all?
What if I told you that generally speaking my own weight fluctuates by a few pounds each day as well?
When you embark on a health and fitness journey and have a goal of losing weight, the scales will only tell you part of the story – and they shouldn’t discourage you from achieving your goals.
And I mean, ALL the time. And here’s the thing: often these fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss. Like, at all.
Your weight will fluctuate daily for many reasons: diet, salt intake, hormones, sleep, stress, water intake, overall health, to just name a few…
Even working extra hard during a workout can make you appear heavier on the scale. (Quick lesson: this is because your body is working extra hard at recovery – a good thing! – and retaining more water in the process.) It’s all completely normal.
Remember this: the scales are just a measure of your physical body mass at a given moment. Nothing more, nothing less. They can not differentiate between fat, muscle, and water, or anything else for that matter.
In fact, if you’re on my Power Of Mum programme this is exactly what’s happening.
When you lift weights, you build lean muscle mass. You may have heard that muscle weighs more than fat, but that’s not strictly true. A pound of fat and a pound of muscle both weigh a pound after all.
The thing is muscle takes up less physical space than fat. What that basically means is that you can look physically smaller while staying the same or even weighing more on the scales.
That’s good news because your body is becoming stronger and more functional, and you’ll look leaner too – even if the scales suggest otherwise.
Blame it on toxic diet trends of the 90s or the noughties obsession with size 0, but as women, we often have an emotional relationship with what we weigh. (I’ve been there!)
Maybe that’s why it’s so damn frustrating (and upsetting, let’s be honest) when the number on the scale just won’t budge.
One thing I know for sure? When you rely on the scales to measure your progress, you focus on one tiny metric, and it’s easy to see that as the sum value of who you are.
The scales don’t measure your soaring energy levels or body confidence. And they certainly can’t track all the healthier habits you’ve been putting in place.
(The scales won’t give you a metaphorical pat on the back for finding time to work out and eat well either, but let me be the first to tell you you’re doing great and you deserve one!)
Repeat after me: I am more than what I weigh. Don’t let the scales convince you otherwise.
Like you, I was once a devotee of the bathroom scales. But I know for certain that there are better ways to see just how much headway you’re making
Are your jeans feeling a little less snug than they were a few weeks ago? Maybe you’ve moved down a belt loop or you’ve noticed your clothes are suddenly looking better on your body.
Take it from me: these are all surefire signs you’re losing inches, even if the scales say you aren’t losing weight.
Ever noticed other people acknowledge your progress before you do? They might tell you you’re glowing or ask if you’ve lost weight.
Sometimes we can be blind to our own progress. If you’re usually the last person to recognise and acknowledge just how far you’ve come, taking occasional progress pics might help.
You might be surprised to see a tiny bicep emerging or a little extra definition in your legs. And that’s bound to spur you on!
A word of warning on this one though: only take progress pics if it feels good for you. If seeing pics of yourself sends you into a self-esteem spiral, it’s probably better to focus on how you’re feeling instead.
Which leads me to my next point…
I’m a firm believer that most of us set health and fitness goals because we want to FEEL better. That might sound obvious, but stick with me.
We might set goals like losing weight, strengthening our core, or building our glutes, but what we’re really saying is I want to feel better.
I want to feel better about myself. I want improved energy, more confidence, better self-esteem.
When you think about it, you don’t have to be at your target weight to feel these emotions. If you’ve been making healthy changes, chances are you’re already reaping the benefits and feeling better.
And if you ask me, that’s pretty good progress. And if you are struggling to give up the scales for yourself, despite the feelings it may generate, look at who may be watching you (I definitely have changed habits and the way I talk about weight so my daughter hopefully doesn’t face the daily battles we have).
If you really want to use the scales to measure your progress, and you can’t break the habit of weighing yourself every day, here’s what I recommend.
Go by the average number across the week. You will notice your weight goes up and down most days – just make sure those daily fluctuations don’t derail your progress.
Let me ask you this: are you feeling good? Really think about it. As you embark on your new fitness journey, are you feeling pumped with energy and motivation?
Are you feeling fitter, healthier or stronger than you ever have been… or at least on your way to achieving those goals?
Maybe you can finally fit back into that gorgeous pair of jeans you had relegated to the back of the wardrobe, or for the first time in forever, you actually feel excited about working out.
Perhaps you finally have the energy to run after your little ones and are simply feeling more centred, confident, and calm.
These are all things that the scale can not measure, and yet they are some of the biggest indicators that you are well on your way.
On a mission to get fit and prioritise your health and fitness in a way that isn’t dependent on a number on a scale? Then Power Of Mum – a transformational six-week health and fitness programme – is for you!
Sign up or learn more here.