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How To Use A Scale Without Negatively Affecting Your Body Image

How To Use A Scale Without Negatively Affecting Your Body Image

transcript below

So today I’m going to talk a little bit about,
how to use a scale
to accurately gauge your progress,
while at the same time,
not getting too overly involved with those numbers.
Now, I’d like to first start by thanking everyone
for the tremendous support that we’ve had so far
with this channel.
And do know that I’m going to
be consistently making new content,
so do be sure to like the videos,
it’s really important, it does make a difference
and also subscribe so you’ll be first to hear
any of the new content that I have coming out.

How Often Should You Use A Scale To Track Your Progress

So, onto today’s topic,
which is, how do you use a scale
in a way that’s healthy.
Now I’m going to start with a bit of a caveat.
I do not recommend that people use a scale
on a daily basis.
I don’t even think you should probably use it
more than once a week, if at all.
Unless you are a competitive athlete getting ready
for a bodybuilding competition or some type of event
that requires a body weight cutoff.
Other than that, I’m not really 100%
behind the idea of using a scale
daily to track your progress.
But at the same time,
there is the importance of what I consider harm reduction.

I could sit here and say, you shouldn’t use a scale.
You should just use the mirror, just use how you feel.
And that is true.
And that is really and truly what I think, ideally,
you should be doing.
But I also understand that I have to be realistic
and I have to make sure that my message
is one that not only appeals to everyone,
but also addresses where everyone is.

For some people, a scale can be a very important gauge
of where they are.
And it’s important to address that.
It’s also important to address that someone’s not going to
go from weighing themselves every single day
to just suddenly not weighing themselves anymore
or attaching certain feelings,
certain numbers from that scale.
But today, I’m going to talk a little bit about
how you can use a scale in a safe
and effective way that will be helpful to you,
but will also not necessarily bring down your self-image,
not make you feel miserable.

improper use of a scale can harm body image

What A Scale Can Do And What It Can’t Do

So we’re going to start by talking about
what a scale can do and what a scale can’t do.
First and foremost, a scale can tell you how much you weigh.
We all know that it’s pretty obvious.
The problem is, how much you weigh
isn’t necessarily the most accurate way of gauging
and benchmarking your progress.
Now, if you’re trying to lose weight
and you’re lifting weights, for example,
you’re lifting weights so you’re building muscle.
At the same time, you’re also losing body fat.

A scale can give you
an accurate reading as to how much physical pounds
or kilograms that you may have lost over time.
But it’s not going to tell you much
about your body composition.
For example, very often with my clients,
I’ll have clients typically lose,
five to six pounds within their first four to six weeks
of initially starting training with me.
That’s more or less what most people will see.
It doesn’t mean that they lost six pounds of fat.

Not what happened.
It only means that their weight changed by six pounds.
Now, during that period of time,
especially if it’s a situation
where they’re just getting started
with any kind of weight training or resistance training,
there is going to be an increase in muscle mass.
A scale can’t detect what’s muscle mass increase
and what’s body fat decrease.
It can only detect what your overall difference
in body weight can be.

How To Use A Scale In Conjunction with Clothing Fit To Track Muscle Mass & Body Fat Changes

So keep that in mind and what I tell people to do,
if they are using a scale, is to use it in conjunction
with how your clothes fit.
I don’t like measuring tapes
and you can probably tell that I’m not really big
on the whole measuring thing,
because I think it’s important
for a sustainable fitness lifestyle
that you focus more on process,
more than those numbers, cause those numbers
are going to really get you down, sometimes.
But focus on your clothing,
focus on how your clothing fits,
especially around the waist.
If you get to a point where
you start seeing the numbers on the scale
slightly moving up, slightly moving up,
but you feel around your waist that things
are a little bit looser.

That’s not a sign that you need to do anything radical
with your diet, it could be a sign, always could,
that you’re gaining muscle mass while losing body fat.
Now, most of us hold a lot of body fat in our center areas.
And so it makes sense and what is typically seen
with my clients or what I usually see with people
that I work with, in general,
is that you can build muscle
while watching your clothing sizes go down
and the numbers on the scale going up.
So just because the numbers on the scale go up,
doesn’t necessarily mean that something is tragically wrong
and you need to, you know, feel horrible
or give up or become frustrated.
That’s not how it works.


Best Time To Weigh Yourself

There can also be a lot of very major events
that can happen over the course of a day
that can change those weights.
It’s important also to remember
that your body weight can fluctuate tremendously
over the course of the day,
as you eat your body retains more and more fluid,
so you tend to find the combination
of the solid food you’re eating
and the fluid retention that you’re going to have naturally
over the course of a day.
It’s going to make it such
that your weight first thing in the morning
is not going to be your body weight
last thing at the end of the day,
or even in the middle of the day.
Most people will talk about how fantastic they look
first thing in the morning.

It’s always that first thing in the morning
photograph people like to post on Instagram,
and then they talked about how bloated
they feel later on in the day.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
If the scale numbers go up over the course of a day,
there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s totally natural.
I, for example, I start my day
at/or around 205 to 203 pounds.
That’s my weight fluctuations more or less.
I can end the day sometimes weighing
as much as 208 to 209 pounds.

I don’t get upset.
I don’t get worried.
It’s supposed to be that way.
Now, normally my weight fluctuations
is only about three, four pounds.
I eat a lot of food and the combination of the food
and the fluid I take in.
I drink anywhere from a gallon and a half
to sometimes almost two gallons of water a day,
depending on my activity levels.
So I should expect to see an increase
in my body weight over time,
over the course of a day.
And while mine might not be a typical example,
everyone is going to expect,
should expect to see that change.
So if you’re weighing yourself and you’re accustomed
to being a certain weight and you weigh yourself
at the end of the day,
and you find yourself that you’re a little heavier
than you think you should be.

Don’t think that that’s an accurate measurement.
It has to be first thing in the morning before breakfast
and always weigh yourself at the same time before breakfast,
before eating anything, first thing in the morning,
that’s the only way you’re going to have any kind
of accuracy in gauging any progress that you’re making
or it being, more accurately, one of the gauges
of the progress that you’re making.
The other consideration that you have to really bear in mind
is that I mentioned water retention.

how water retention changes the numbers on the scale

How Water Retention Can Drastically Change The Numbers On The Scale

Water retention can be tremendously drastic
in terms of how it affects those numbers on the scale.
If you, like me, follow a predominantly
lower sodium intake on a regular basis,
and you have, or encounter a food
that’s really high in sodium,
you could find your body retaining a lot
of extra cellular fluid as a result.

Now how much water you hold
as a result of your sodium intake,
depends on how much sodium you take in.
Depends on how much sodium you’re not used to taking in.
It depends on how long a period
you were taking in that sodium.
For example, when I travel,
I don’t always have 100% control over my meals.
I don’t cook everything when I’m traveling,
sometimes I have to eat out and when I’m eating out,
I’m going to be eating foods that are a lot more,
that are higher in sodium than what I’m used to
with the meals I cook for myself.
As a result, the numbers on the scale go up slightly.
It’s not the end of the world.

When I get back home
and I go back to eating my regular meals.
Those numbers go right back down.
It’s just water retention.
And a lot of the major fluctuations
that you see in the numbers on the scale,
it’s just water retention.
And a word of warning about water retention,
the more water you drink,
the less water your body’s going to hold on to.
If you’re not drinking enough water,
you might find the numbers on the scale going up
because your body’s holding onto as much water as it can
because it’s not getting an adequate supply,
give your body an adequate supply and it’s going to say,
“Hey, we have enough water coming in.
“We don’t need to hold onto that much.”
So that’s really, really important
because, I think, when people talk about problems
with seeing the numbers really jump on the scale,
it’s really a matter of water retention,
not really anything to do with bad increases.
Remember, it takes 3,500 calories for one pound of fat.
That’s a lot of calories and you can’t just magically add
that excess to your body
over the course of a day or two days.
If the numbers on the scale jump up,
it’s almost certainly water retention.

Now, menstrual changes in woman
can also bring about tremendous changes
in the numbers on the scale.
I once had a client who had a 12 pound difference
that would happen every month like clockwork,
she’d literally go up by 12 pounds,
a tremendous amount, but for her, it was natural.
Everyone has their natural changes
based on the hormonal changes
that come with menstrual cycles.
That’s something very, very real.
It’s not something that should get you down.
It’s just simply how your body works.
Temperature change can also make
the numbers on the scale change.
If it’s colder and the temperature goes up
and you’re sweating more,
but your water intake stays the same.
Remember what I said, if you’re not getting enough water,
your body’s going to hold onto more fluids.
So the very often with the change in the seasons,
sometimes, when it starts getting warmer
and you don’t drink enough,
people see the numbers on the scale going up
and they wonder, “Well, what happened?
“My diet’s the same.”
You’re not drinking enough water.
Always make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Cause it’s going to make sure
that you are going to have
some nice steady numbers with regards to water retention.
You’re not going to hold that much water
and you have a nice,
more or less stable baseline to work with.

the importance of not fixating on the number on the scale

The Importance of Not Fixating on A Number So As To Maintain a Positive Body Image

Now, I’m going to end with something
also very important about the numbers on the scale.
Very often people have a particular number in mind.
That number could be when they look their best,
that number could be an arbitrary number,
but if they aren’t at that number,
they feel horrible about themselves.
And I’m going to hopefully help
with a little bit of perspective.

If you think about the worst thing you ever did,
the absolute worst thing that you’ve ever done in your life,
would you really want anybody else to define you
by that one horrible thing you did in your life?
I think the answer universally to that would be no.
And the same applies to the numbers on the scale.
Those numbers cannot and should not represent how you feel
about yourself and should not be the gauge that you use
to judge your own self-worth.

I know it’s hard, but it’s something
that you have to work on and keep in mind
that the numbers on a scale are akin
to one gauge in an airplane.
You’re a pilot flying an airplane,
and you’re looking at one particular gauge
that one gauge gives them some information,
but doesn’t give them the whole spectrum of information
that’s needed to fly an aircraft safely.
You need more than just altitude,
you need to know what the orientation of the aircraft is,
You need air speed.
There are all these other factors
that come into flying in the aircraft safely,
and they’re all of the factors
that come into how the numbers on the scale fall
into how you’re doing as far as your progress is concerned.

A scale can’t tell you,
“Hey, remember, you’re lifting weight.
“So you need to put some muscle on.”
A scale can’t tell you,
“Hey, you didn’t drink enough water yesterday
“and you had some salty foods so maybe
“you’re holding more fluids.”
A scale can’t tell you,
“Hey, you’ve been eating really, really well.
“So any fluctuations could just be normal things
“that come with the weather,
“or just simply how your body is.”
A scale can’t do that.
You have to do that.

So make sure when those numbers talk to you,
you talk back to those numbers.
That’s the best way to use it.
And again, try not to use the scale every day
because there can be so many fluctuations
over a short period of time.
You don’t really get too much accuracy
if you’re weighing in every day,
unless you’re getting ready for a bodybuilding competition
or something requires, like I said, a body weight check-in.
So be kind to yourself.
Be kind to yourself, don’t define yourself by those numbers
and thanks so much for tuning in.

See the full video here-

The Healthy Way To Use A Scale (And Why The Scale Numbers Keep Changing)

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Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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