We all know that feeling of stepping on the scale and immediately jumping off in disappointment. You could have worked for weeks on your weight hoping that the number would drop, but it hasn’t even though your clothes may feel different. The truth of the matter is – the number on the scale does NOT matter.
It’s normal that you weigh yourself on the scale to measure your success following a new lifestyle. And that is where you usually begin to panic and start to question how far you have come. You ask yourself like “how come you’ve been eating clean and pushing yourself hard in the gym, but the result on the scale doesn’t show?”
But don’t get disheartened. Fat, muscle and water fluctuate during the day. This is to do with the amount or type of food that you eat, but also with the water retention in your body and even the time of day you weigh yourself.
This is something important to take into consideration since, in time, water retention will bring your body to swelling, most of all in the hands, legs, feet and face. Also, internally, your tissues get swollen, and this can lead to more serious problems.
4 reasons the scale is wrong
#1 – It doesn’t measure water retention
Water retention can happen because of the following reasons:
- When you don’t drink enough water and fluids, your body reacts by storing water to make sure it doesn’t run out of reserves, and that water being stored begins to add to your body weight.
- A high in sodium diet: sodium makes your cells and tissues to retain water, so if your sodium ingestion from food and drinks is high, your body will start to retain water.
- Too much sugar: When you have a diet high in sugar, your insulin levels tend to be higher than normal, especially after eating. High insulin levels make your body retain more sodium, which will make your body retain more water.
- Alcohol: when there is an excess of alcohol in the bloodstream, hormonal changes occur that lead to a dilution of the urine. This can make the body preserve the sodium, creating an imbalance that will make you retain water.
- Hormone changes, such as in the menstrual cycle: hormone changes, and mainly hormones, can influence the water balance in the body since they control the water absorbing cells in the kidneys.
#2 – It doesn’t measure your health
There is a common belief that if you weight less then you are healthier – well, this is NOT true! There are millions of underweight people who have a lower number on the scale but are very unhealthy. A scale is not a true determinant of your health – focus on how you feel instead, the foods that make you feel better and if you are worried about your health, check with a doctor to determine your health level.
#3 – The scale does not and CANNOT measure your true value
This is one of the most important reasons you can have to throw out your scale. Sure, a scale measures your weight but in fact, your weight means absolutely nothing! Your weight is not what makes you, you. As a person, you are made up of love, dreams, values, morals, soul and more. A number does not change this. Focus on what makes you a great person!
#4 – It ISN’T always right
If you weren’t convinced to throw away your scale by the last three reasons then this one should be enough to change your mind. The scale isn’t right all the time. In fact, you could bring five different scales and weight yourself on all five of them and they could be all different. Some scales can be off by as much as 10 pounds. Focus on how your clothes fit, not on the number.
What to do to be healthier, instead of weighing yourself?
- Drink more water: Even if it sounds contradicting, you need to give your body more water so it doesn’t need to store it. At least the famous 2 liters of water per day.
- Watch out for the sodium: Cut down table salt, salt for cooking, high in sodium sauces and start to read labels of packed and canned food to make sure you eat low in sodium. Less than 120 mg of sodium is a food low in sodium. More than 480 mg of sodium is a food high in sodium.
- Avoid excessive alcohol: This is another reason to have some drinks occasionally and in moderate amounts. It is also important to try to avoid the combination of alcohol and food high in sodium, which is very common in some restaurants and pubs.
- Daily physical activity in your daily routine: Exercise helps your body to flush toxins and water in sweat. Also, it has been proven that women who participate in regular physical activity generally report fewer PMS symptoms such as water retention.
- Eat a clean diet: It is not a low-calorie diet what you need, in this case, it is a diet full of healthy nutritious food. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Avoid food high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
About the Author
Pierre Gagnon practised concentration and insight meditation intensively from 2010 to 2012, then went on to study meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh with the venerable Ajahn Po from 2013 to 2015. As well as his own practice, he has coordinated meditation retreats in the south of Thailand which were attended by more than 1,000 people.
Having a great passion in the field of neuroscience, he likes to integrate these concepts into meditation practice. He believes that much of our life is lived resisting and defending against internal and external experiences that people perceive as threats. Through the development of concentration and meditation, we can insightfully see that all experiences are harmless and there is no need to defend of contract around them. Pierre has experience coordinating concentration and insight meditation retreats, teaching the relationship that exists between Buddhism and neuroscience.