Weekly column by fitness expert Cashel Hayden for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
A COMMON misconception among those looking to lose weight or even build muscle. The all too common over-obsession with the number on the scales. What this number doesn’t account for, however, is a plethora of processes happening within our body.
Using our body weight as the single arbitrary pinnacle of our progress and refusing to acknowledge the other factors at play is a route guaranteed to mess with one’s mental health.
‘We are feeling more energetic, confident, and positively fulfilled… This is something that the scales will NEVER show us’
In this article I hope to highlight some key markers that our weighing scales fail to tell us when we are attempting to track and analyse our progress.
How hydrated or dehydrated are we?
Yes, I said it… our level of hydration affects our number on the scales. So don’t let a slight dip or dive in your scale weight distract you from your progress. The likelihood here is you are holding slightly less or more water than the last weigh in. Things we can do to help limit this fluctuation is to try to keep ourselves adequately hydrated while aiming to weigh ourselves at the same time each morning – post bathroom if possible! This is just one of many factors that can influence our given weight so definitely worth taking note!
Our body composition
This is very often overlooked by many. Our body composition can simply be referred to as the ratio of fat mass to muscle mass within our body. When we start to train, this ratio can change where our fat mass can go down and muscle mass can go up.
This can cause our overall weight to stay quite similar but our body composition to be at a much healthier place for our height and build. In my experience, using a method such as weekly photos of ourselves alongside a daily bodyweight measure works best for determining if we are going in the desired direction. Accepting that we can lose weight in the form of fat mass and develop muscle mass in its place and that this is a healthy advancement in our fitness journey and is something we must learn to embrace!
Another overlooked factor when looking at our weight on the scales. Our weight can fluctuate based on how long ago we ate food and how our body is processing that food. If we were to eat really late at night and weigh ourselves the next morning without using the bathroom, we would likely see a slight increase in weight simply due to the fact that our body has not fully processed the food from the night before.
Our physical health
A personal favourite. We are training, making an effort to eat better and looking to improve the quality of our life. The likelihood is that our health both mentally and physically has been positively influenced. We are likely feeling more energetic, confident, and positively fulfilled than we were starting out on our personal journey of self-development. This is something that the scales will NEVER show us but is arguably something we must remind ourselves of each day!
As you can see there are quite a few missing parts when looking at our scale body weight. I have only mentioned a few here but I hope I got my point across. I am not saying we should avoid the use of a scales; I am simply implying it has its place when tracking progress but it still only remains as one variable of many!
Progress comes in all shapes and forms. Maybe we are able to fit into our favourite pair of jeans that we haven’t been able to wear in some time? We’ve finally hit a new personal best on our 5k run or a lift in the gym? Celebrate every win, no matter big or small – small wins are what makes the journey of self-development so rewarding!
I hope someone out there found some of this information useful here, just some food for thought.
For any questions in relation to this topic or training, nutrition, etc. or for coaching inquiries simply message me on my business page on instagram @coachedbycashel_ or by email – [email protected]