I workout. I eat right. I wake and step on the scale. I see the number go down – woohoo! I see the number go up – I’m a failure. Sound familiar? Too many women (and men too), myself included, have let themselves become a slave to the scale. Why, oh why does that number mean so much to us? We all know the old adage, muscle weighs more than fat. We all know it’s more about how we look and feel than the number on the scale. Then why can’t we just STOP stepping on that scale and letting the number we see dictate how we feel about ourselves? It’s taken me a while, I’m talking years here, but I’ve finally stopped caring…most of the time anyway. Here’s why!
- Sodium is an important electrolyte that keeps our body functioning properly. Our bodies work best when our electrolyte levels are kept constant. We have built in responses that tell us when we’re approaching low or high levels and our bodies adapt accordingly. Having adequate water levels in the body allows our kidneys to keep the electrolyte concentration in the blood constant by increasing or decreasing the amount of water we retain. High sodium levels cause us to retain more water. Simply stated, the more sodium you ingest, the more water your body will crave and retain, the higher the number on the scale. The American Heart Association recommends we consume 1,500 mg or less of salt per day.
- Water makes up over 60% of our total body mass. Being properly hydrated is a very important part of living a healthy life. If you are dehydrated the number on the scale may be lower, but in the long run your body will actually retain more water (making the number creep up), saving it for emergency use. If you are properly hydrated, your body is less likely to retain water because it is readily available.
- If you step on the scale right after dinner you might notice a spike in your weight. This isn’t because you gained five pounds of fat, it’s because your food carries weight. A few hours after your meal, when your body is finished digesting what you ate the number on the scale will be back to normal.
- Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are higher in insoluble fiber, which means they weigh more and take longer to digest than other foods. Give yourself at least six hours after eating a fiber-heavy meal before getting on the scale.
- Use the same scale every time you weigh yourself. They can vary.
- Always weigh yourself at the same time of day. Mornings are best.
- Weigh yourself once a week.
- Include other data in your fitness journey such as measurements, BMI, how your clothes fit, your energy levels, and of course how you FEEL!!
Written by Darcy VanGundy | firstname.lastname@example.org