The Scales Don’t Lie! Or Do They…

We often focus on body weight as a key indicator of our fitness level. It’s the motivation to ‘get fit’. It’s your point in which to determine if you are larger or smaller than ‘normal’. But should you be watching the scales for results? And how can you start losing fat, not just weight…We often focus on body weight as a key indicator of our fitness level. It’s the motivation to ‘get fit’. It’s your point in which to determine if you are larger or smaller than ‘normal’. But should you be watching the scales for results? Maybe, yes, as it can be a good motivator but not completely.

As an example, if part of your fitness plan is to work out regularly, you are unlikely to see results on the scales and instead you’ll have to look at progress shots, girth measurements and body fat readings.

Your weight also consists of much more than just ‘fat’, it’s also muscle, water, bones and organs. And, everyone’s body composition is different so you should never compare yourself to others, even if they seem to be the same height and ‘structure’ as you.

Am I Losing Weight Or Fat?

Dropping numbers on your weighing scale might be rewarding to see but it doesn’t always mean you are losing fat or toning up. There is often a large weight loss drop at the start of a new fitness or nutrition programme mainly due to the loss of water weight. Fluid retention is affected by lots of different factors but one major influence is to do with our glycogen stores. If you consume more carbs than you need, they will be stored as glycogen and glycogen pulls in water. The more glycogen you have, the more water your body will hold on to.

If you start a new restricted diet or fitness regime, your body will need to use the stores of glycogen for the sudden need for extra energy, you will sweat more and will most likely need to drink more water which all cause you to lose water weight. You may think drinking more water means you will hold more water, but it has the opposite affect. If your body feels starved of water, it will hold on to whatever water it has so you are better off giving it a constant supply.

This is also why the dramatic weight loss you had at the start of your new plan starts to slow down the longer you maintain it. Detoxes can often have this affect too, as they may literally flush your system of toxins and water, which by the way isn’t always necessarily the most healthy way to go about making better changes for your body, so you may lose ‘weight’ but more often than not it will be replaced as soon as you start eating or drinking normally again.

If you are looking to tone up and lose fat, then you need to think about it differently and have more patience. Fat loss takes a little longer than a few days, or a week, so don’t listen to those ‘lose 10 pounds in 5 days’ diet fads because yes, you might be able to do that but it will be a consequence of a seriously restricted diet and will definitely be temporary. As soon as you eat anything normal again, it will all come flooding back.

Losing fat means that you will actually lean up your body areas, so this means being able to see your tricep muscles, or having more definition on your abs, or your legs. This is a great way to see if you are on track to meet your goals if you are looking to lose fat.

It’s often that we see women who want to lose weight so much that they starve themselves for a couple of weeks and overwork their bodies at the gym. This usually ends up with them losing ‘weight’ but not looking or feeling any better than when they started. This weight is then put straight back on once they finish the plan as it is not maintainable. That’s why we always tell our girls that consistency is key because that’s where REAL changes happen. Remember girls, permanent and healthy fat loss takes a lot longer than a week!

How Can I Lose Fat?

Balance your workouts by doing a mixture of high intensity weight training AND low intensity workouts. Going too hard too often can ramp up our cortisol levels which is also not good if you are trying to lose fat.

Eat enough protein. Protein is the building blocks of your muscles. It also helps you feel fuller for longer, meaning a little less snacking or cravings.

Do not cut out carbs. We need these! To get the most out of your food intake, time them after a workout.

Sleep and get enough rest. This one is simple. You need to allow your body to recover and regenerate to get more gains from your workout, and better hormonal balance too!

Don’t undereat. When we exercise, our body uses up energy stores. If we are not feeding it enough, it will use sources of energy from our muscles rather than body fat. So, we need to make sure we are eating enough to sustain our muscles, but slightly less than our energy output so we create a weight/fat loss deficit.

Simple because you know these things, but not so simple because we have learnt beliefs about dieting and weight loss; the ones which hover at the back of our minds causing doubt. And doubt causes us to be inconsistent. The best way to get rid of this doubt is to have the power of knowledge behind you. But knowledge that is relevant to YOU.

If you are looking for some guidance and help on starting a new fitness or nutrition plan or just want to incorporate weight training into your plan, then come in and have a chat with one of our team to find out what we can do for you.