Attention all you compulsive weighers and anyone else obsessed with the scale. You can now breathe a sigh of relief. Because you know that number it displays every time you step on? Well, it doesn’t actually hold that much weight.
Some of us step on the scale every morning without so much as a single string of clothing, hoping the number flashes the same – or even better, lower – than it was the day before. And then that one number defines your entire day.
Not only can your weight fluctuate drastically by the day, even by the hour, but also research has shown that frequent weighing can affect your mood and may even be tied to depression.
A lot of factors can influence the number on the scale more than body weight alone. Here’s why you may want to think twice about putting stock in that number on the scale.
Your body is made mostly of water and it has a water content level that fluctuates by the day depending on a variety of factors. Hydration levels, food intake, dietary choices, activity level, and for women, your menstrual cycle, all determine how much water you retain. Even water intake can cause the number on the scale to rise temporarily.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. Once eaten, carbs are broken down into smaller units of sugar, some of which are converted to glucose, a fuel source for the muscles, tissues, organs and brain. Any unused glucose is converted to glycogen and stored for later use. Glycogen stores naturally go up and down at frequent intervals during the day, which also impacts the number you see on the scale.
Muscle Vs. Fat
By volume, fat takes up more space than the same weight in muscle. As your fitness level increases and body fat converts to muscle, the number on the scale may not budge but your clothes may get looser. Which goes to show why the scale isn’t a real or reliable measure of your overall health and fitness.
Your Worth Is Immeasurable
Think for a moment about who you are as a person, your capabilities, and your life’s purpose. All of these things and more add up to something much greater than a number. When you let the scale control your body image and determine your self-worth, you lose sight of your bigger goals and all of the progress and achievements along the way.
If you’re overly invested in your scale, challenge yourself to weigh yourself less frequently. Start with once a week, then once a month, and eventually, maybe not at all. Set goals which revolve around making healthy lifestyle changes rather than those that are focused on a number. Finally, measure your progress by how your clothes fit and most importantly, how you feel physically and mentally instead.