This is a big one, you guys.
Over the past month I've been noticing a trend, and it has to do with weight loss & the scale. I talk a lot about it being ok to want to lose weight, to feel more confidant and sexy when we get dressed in the morning, and I still whole heartedly believe that, but I've been saying it wrong. I've been saying weight loss, and I think that's been misleading for you (and for me).
Let me clarify: weight loss is all about the scale. It's about setting an arbitrary weight loss goal and hitting it. It's about being a slave to that flashing number that pops up when you step on, and your sense of accomplishment being completely controlled by that. It's putting all of your eggs into one basket (a basket with a big hole in the bottom).
I know I've been guilty of this, and that stops now.
Here's what's wrong with the term weight loss, and using the scale as your measurement piece. Your body is made up of three things: fat, water/fluid and lean body mass. Of those three things we want to lose fat. The goal is not to lose water/fluid and it's CERTAINLY not to lose lean muscle or bone density. Right?
Okay. Well, of those three things that make up our body composition, or our total weight, fat is generally in the smallest proportion. Think about it. A very average body fat percentage for most women would be around 25-30%. Let's call our average woman Jill, and Jill weighs in at 175lbs. That means if Jill has a body fat percenatge between 25-30%, only 43-51lbs of that entire 175lbs is fat. So when Jill decides to lose weight, and she steps on that scale every morning to see if it's working, she's mainly measuring her lean body mass and her fluid levels along with her body fat. If that scale changes, has she lost fat or has she lost muscle? If it goes up, did she gain fat or is she more hydrated than usual? Is her bladder full? Is there food digesting in her digestive tract? These are all questions that the scale can't answer.
So for that reason, I'm doing away with the term weight loss. It's too generic. We want fat loss, and words are powerful. Let's start saying exactly what we want. Fat loss.
Now that we've specified exactly what we're looking for, let's talk about the actual tools that make sense as a form of measurement.
1. The scale w/ body fat percentage: these have been all the rage, and I have used one with clients in the past. Not anymore. While it's handy to actually see a body fat percentage number, these scales have an error rate of 10-12% on average which, in my opinions, makes them completely useless PLUS a pretty hefty price tag.
2. A more sophisticated body composition analyzer: in my practice now, I have a unit called Skulpt that measures muscle quality and fat percentage over different areas of the body. This is accurate within 1-2% and I really like this as a measurement tool. The con here is that it's pricey. If I didn't work with clients I most likely wouldn't own one just for myself, but if you're someone who needs numbers this might be a great option to wean yourself off of the scale.
3. A fabric measuring tape: this is, in my opinion, the best option. While you won't get an actual body fat percentage when you use this, you WILL get a really accurate picture of the changes happening within your body. Fat is large and fluffy and it takes up space. Lean body mass is not. If you're losing fat, the measurements you are taking around your body (like waist, hips, thighs, biceps) will be going down. THIS is how you determine body composition changes. The best part? A fabric measuring tape costs, like, $1.50.
So this is what I'm going to promise you. I'm no longer going to refer to what I do as weight loss. From now on, it's fat loss and I want you to do the same. I'm also ditching the scale completely. I'm not going to step on one anymore, and I won't be using one with my private clients either. I want you to ditch the scale too. If that sounds too hard, then take baby steps. If right now you step on every morning, take it to once a week. Then, once a month. Eventually maybe you'll be able to ditch the scale too.