Those Deceptive Scales

A while back, I went to Lagoon, an amusement park here in Utah. That morning I weighed myself. I weighed myself again the next morning. I was six pounds heavier! I ate a few things that I don’t normally eat, but I didn’t pig out all day. I know for a fact that my body didn’t deposit six pounds of fat into my tissues in that one day. Even if it were capable of it, I didn’t even eat that much food. So what was it?

When you step on the scales, what you see is the sum total of the mass of everything comprising and residing within your body. That includes bone, muscle, fat, connective tissue, undigested food and waste products within your digestive tract, fluid throughout your body, blood, lymph, etc. In this case, the primary cause of my additional weight was fluid. Due to some previous injuries, I had a foot and knee that were significantly swollen. Also my body was retaining more fluid in general. As I worked to decrease my inflammation, my weight also decreased and gradually returned to normal.

Now what if I had been desperately trying to lose weight and thought that every pound that increased or decreased on the scale was due to fat? I know from working with many people how they would have reacted. It would have led to discouragement, frustration, self-loathing and depression. As if that weren’t bad enough, how do many people with weight issues respond to these emotions? They eat, especially comfort foods such as ice cream and chocolate. Had I have reacted in this manner, before long I would have replaced fluid with actual fat. I believe that too often, this kind of “misunderstanding” is responsible for unnecessary weight gain.

There are many factors that determine the number of pounds reported by the scales. If you are “big boned”, it takes less fat to account for more weight. As you’re probably aware, muscle weighs more than fat. If your primary concern is how much you weigh, you might shy away from building muscle. However, having more well-toned muscle tissue enhances your ability to burn away excess fat. You don’t need to become a body builder to get a lean body, but you do need healthy muscles. As you build them up, you could even become a little heavier, although you will get thinner, which is more important.

Hormones play a big part in this. A weak thyroid will slow your metabolism and cause you to deposit more fat. Excess estrogen will cause you to deposit not only fat but muscle tissue as well (not the healthy toned muscle discussed above). This kind of excess weight is harder to get under control and requires special attention. Adrenals are also a large factor.

It isn’t necessary to avoid the scales altogether, but one should not be obsessed with them or always assume that changes in weight mean an increase or decrease in fat. Inches (especially around the waist and hips) are an important measurement. Also get checked for percent body fat.

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One Response to “Those Deceptive Scales”

  1. Weight watchers coupon Says:

    You are so interesting! I don’t think I’ve read anything like this before.
    So wonderful to find somebody ith some unique thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s neded oon the internet, someone with a litttle originality!

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