Don't let the scale control you. Below are 7 tips to manage your weight better. It's disheartening when I start working with a new client who tells me that she weighs herself every morning. If the number doesn't look right, she might even weigh herself a little later in the day to see if things have changed. It's unlikely that most people step on a scale this often, but that little number has the ability to control moods, decisions and probably what will be eaten for the next day or two.
In general, it's important for people to watch their waistlines; managing uncontrolled weight gain should be a priority. Scales are actually really helpful when establishing a baseline for a new goal. If there is undoubtedly excess weight to lose, jump on the scale at day one, but don't revisit again for at least a couple weeks...maybe longer. If you're committed to eating healthy and exercising consistently (and don't cheat), the number on the scale and the notch in your belt will go down.
Ups & Downs of Weight Loss
Again, reaching or maintaining a healthy weight is really important, but we often forget weight doesn't look the same on different people. Three different women, for instance, of the same weight and height could look significantly different. Body fat, body shape, activity level and bone structure all play a role in how we look in a pair of jeans.
Weight loss can come faster for some and a little slower for others, too. Our metabolism, sort of like a thermostat, is set at a certain point. Some people can easily move their thermostat down or up, while others' thermostats seem to never move.
Long term weight loss doesn't come overnight. In fact, it's not uncommon for people to actually add a pound or two when they start a new fitness program, or shift away from a "dead food" diet to a clean diet. This weight does come off with healthy diet and exercise consistency - usually a week or two later. The slow and steady burn is what people should aim for.
Instead of relying on the scale as the sole measurement of weight loss, here are a few other tips that will help get you on track.
1) Keep a food journal. Incredibly important, and keeps you way more accountable than a scale ever could. A scale can NOT distinguish between the 300 calories between a bag of Doritos and a veggie-loaded salad.
2) Drink water. At least eight times a day, preferably 15 minutes before you eat. Drinking water will flush toxins that could be inhibiting weight loss out of your body. Aim for room temp or warm water, especially in the morning. Cold water can have a constricting effect on your digestive tract, which can make it hard to move things out.
3) Exercise vigorously. At least three times a week. Work up a sweat. Make your muscles burn. Jump start your body this way. You don't need to workout long to see great results. In fact, I'm really not a fan of "slow and steady" workouts. I think they actually promote fat storage. Looking for a workout that can be done anywhere and pushes your body? Here you go.
4) Eat clean and eat often. Avoid junk food and foods that can create inflammation. Neither will help you get healthy or lose weight in the long run. Keep in mind, there are a lot of unhealthy "health" foods out there, so be discriminating.
5) Sleep. Sleep helps your muscles repair. It improves your body’s ability to efficiently burn, not store, unneeded calories. Sleep is king and anyone who says “they’re fine” on five or fewer hours doesn’t pay very close attention to what’s good for their body.
6) Break out the tape measure. Think you’re putting on unhealthy weight? A tape measure is far better and telling you this than a scale ever could. You could gain muscle and gain weight, but lean up at the same time. This is definitely not something to lose sleep over. Use a tape measure around your natural waistline, thigh, chest or bicep every couple weeks. If yore goal is to lose fat and get healthier, a tape measure will quantifiably give you this info.
7) Smile for the camera. The only person who needs to see this type of photo is you, but taking a shot of yourself in front of a mirror in the buff (or close to it) is a reasonable way to measure progress. I stress ‘reasonable’ because true fat loss/muscle gain does not happen overnight. Go easy on yourself and take a shot every month or so for six months. Compare month one with month six. If you’ve been doing the work, you should be happy with what you see.
I kicked off a new weight loss program yesterday that's designed to help people exercise efficiently through high intensity workouts and eating clean in ways that are right for their body type. When I work with people who want to lose weight for the first time, I usually tell them to weigh themselves once for a baseline - and that's it for anywhere from at least two weeks, ideally a month. And what happens? People consistently lose weight. Not because they're not getting on a scale, but because they're focussing on eating right, exercising and maintaining accountability to their body.