It may seem counter intuitive, but the scale is better at helping you maintain your weight than it is at helping you lose it. The reason? There are important changes happening in your body that the scale can’t measure or detect, such as Changing Body Composition and Changes on the Inside.
Your weight is just one aspect of your progress and, in many cases, it's not even the most important one. It’s unfortunate but, for most of us, the number on a scale is the determining factor in whether we've succeeded or failed. Using your weight as the only measure of your success is a lot like buying a house based solely on square footage. Sure it's nice to have 3,000 square feet, but what if it’s across from a skunk farm?
Your weight loss is the same way. Having your weight at a certain number might be nice, but the scale can’t tell you how fit you are or how much muscle you have. Your scale isn’t going to cheer when you finish all your workouts for the week. Relying only on the scale may even make those workouts feel like a waste of time, even though each one helped you burn calories, get stronger, protect your body from diseases and made you more fit than you were before.
Beyond the Scale
If weighing yourself motivates you in a positive way, there’s no reason to change what you’re doing. However, if the scale makes you feel like a failure, it may be time to try something new.
What most people don't realize is that losing weight can actually make weight loss even harder. The more you weigh, the more energy your body expends to move that weight around. As you lose weight, your body will naturally expend fewer calories, something we often don't account for in our calorie intake.
For example, if you're 5'8" and weigh 180 lbs, your basal metabolic rate might be around 1545 calories, not including any exercising you're doing. If you lose 20 pounds, your BMR changes, dropping anywhere from 50-100 calories. That may not seem like much, but if you don't adjust your calories as you lose weight, you'll end up at a frustrating plateau.
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