We are all guilty – at some point or another – of staring at the scale to make an assessment of how “healthy” or “fit” we are. The fact is, society teaches us to put a lot of our value and notion of health into our weight. This leads us to constantly obsessing over the scale. While weight loss is a big goal for many this new year, it’s time to stop staring at the scale.
BMI is Bull
If you are trying to calculate how much is a ‘healthy’ weight for your height and gender, I’ve got some unfortunate news…the Body Mass Index, BMI, is not necessarily accurate in representing how healthy someone is. This is because the Body Mass Index does not take into consideration what your body composition is.
I know what you’re thinking, body composition? What does that mean?
This means measuring your weight can show your overall weight, but it doesn’t show what causes the weight. For example, a 160lb woman who is 5′ 6′ is considered overweight according to the Body Mass Index calculator, but it doesn’t take into account whether she has high muscle content or high-fat content.
Muscle Versus Fat
If you jump into the gym and start weight lifting, it is so hard for people to remember this important fact – muscle is heavy. When you are building muscle, staring at the scale may not show your results at all because you may not be losing weight. This doesn’t mean you aren’t losing fat! Pound for pound, fat takes up more space under your skin than muscle does, because muscle is denser. If you are doing any sort of weight lifting, even once a week, you may be discouraged by looking at the scale, and it may make you feel like you aren’t making any progress.
Skinny Doesn’t Mean Healthy
It’s well known, and very incorrect, for people to assume that someone is healthy just because they are skinny or an ‘ideal weight’. While it is easy to assume a skinny or lean person is, by nature, healthier than someone holding more fat, a person’s body type doesn’t necessarily represent their eating habits or fitness habits. Sometimes even, skinnier individuals are more unaware of their unhealthy habits because they are considered a ‘healthy weight’.
Growing up, I was one of those individuals who could eat anything I wanted without gaining any weight. According to my BMI, I was actually underweight. I could easily eat a large meal from McDonald’s or devour a pizza in one sitting, I do not exercise, I hated running and I did not play any sports. Overall, I lived a pretty unhealthy lifestyle, but because I was so thin, I was often considered healthy.
Weight Varies Daily
Every day, and throughout the day, your weight is going to vary. It makes sense when you think about it – you are adding weight to your body and excreting weight multiple times throughout the day. This happens every time we eat and use the bathroom.
Another important varying weight factor is water weight. We all know the feeling of bloat, but we rarely acknowledge the difference in weight this gives us. On average, a person’s weight can change 5 to 6 pounds daily, or throughout the day.
As you look at your fitness goals and weight loss goals, it’s only natural that we look at our weight, and it’s okay to get on the scale every now and then – but it’s time to stop staring at the scale.
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