I have a saying " If you guessing you are messing".
This applies to anything in life but in the context of my job as coach this is 100% the truth when it comes to fat loss.
The scale can be a great tool to use when on a fat loss journey, however it can also become a bad tool to use when assessing progress and this start creating an emotional attachment to the numbers.
What is the scale saying?
Weight will 100% fluctuate, that is just the fact of us HUMANS!
Unfortunately it's these fluctuations that scale into an emotional rollercoaster or source of stress for many people.
Here are just some of the reasons the weight on the scales may go up or down:
1. How hydrated we are
2. Bowel volume (If you have not been to the toilet for a few days, you may weigh more on the scales)
3. Muscle glycogen ( A high carb meal the night before could mean more weight on the scales)
4. Inflammation (training = inflammation, you may notice after having a couple of days off from training you weigh less)
6. Stress (mental stress increases cortisol and can influence inflammation, thus further affecting your body weight. It becomes a vicious (and unnecessary) cycle.
7. Lack of sleep
All of the above can create daily fluctuations up to several pounds! None of which are a measure of how much muscle you’re gaining or how much fat you’re burning. It is not uncommon to have a client drop several pounds in a few days as inflammation drops or when depleting glycogen. Conversely, getting them to gain several pounds in a week simply by replenishing glycogen is not a rare occurrence either.
How should the scale be used?
A better way of viewing scale measurements is to look at averages, rather than a daily change, as an indicator of progress.
As a coach my method is always look at the weekly averages, not just of the weight on the scales, but also calories, protein, fibre, sleep and steps.
The most important point to understand is that tracking your scale weight should NOT be something that stresses you. If it is, perhaps take a break from it for a while or only measure once per week (after a rest day is probably the best time).
When should you weigh yourself?
Always first thing in the morning, if possible after a bowel movement and with no clothes.
Make sure the scales are on a hard even floor and always keep them in the same place for consistency.
DO NOT use different scales, stick to the same one, so that you get an accurate reading, even if the scales aren't correct, it will still give you an accurate reading as you will be using the same tool.
NEVER weigh yourself during the day or before you go to sleep.
Take home point:
Don’t obsess over the weight on the scales, understand it is just a tool that can be used to assess and measure your progress.
Make sure you understand the context in which your measurements are being taken before letting them influence any decisions.
As long as you are being true to yourself and you are doing all you can, there is no need to get sad after seeing the weight go up on the scale, HOWEVER if you are lying to yourself, then stop using the scale all together because this will only make you feel crap in the end.