Understanding: The Scale, Weight Fluctuations, and Stalls, without frustration!
The scale is one of the most frustrating items in most homes. A lot of people simply avoid it. I didn't even own one for over 20 yrs, only weighing at the doctors office, while I was there to usually get more bad news. Of course my weight was slowly and steadily growing out of control.
Knowing the dread many people feel and now that I have a better understanding of the scale and how our weight works, I wanted to write this in hopes of helping you become Scale fearless!
Today, I love the scale and can use it as it was designed to be used, as a simple tool in my arsenal of weight loss knowledge. I have made a habit of learning my scale and why the numbers change over the course of the day and when my weight is most accurate.
For example: If I weigh in the morning after 8 full hours of sleep, right after using the bathroom, my weight is the lowest it will be all day.
2 hours later, I'm often up by a pound.
By the time I get into bed my weight is generally 3 to 5 pounds higher than it was that morning.
The next morning if I get 8 hours of sleep I am usually a few ounces lighter than I was the morning before (Thanks to keto). If I don't get a full 8 hours of sleep I am usually the same or slightly higher than I was the day before. Sleep is very important to weight loss.
**Best way to Weigh
* Get 8 + hours of sleep!
* Use the bathroom!
* Nude or similar clothes!
*The scale is not terrible or evil at all. It simply gives you a rough estimate of what you are doing and how your actual weight is fluctuating. And your weight does fluctuate, all day, everyday.
*How often should you weight? At least once a day, every single morning! What? Yes, every morning! Right after you have had a decent night sleep and went to potty! Hop on it wearing the same thing or similar clothes/nude every morning, track the numbers so you don't forget. Research has proven that people who weigh daily rarely gain actual weight. In fact, they stay the same doing nothing more than their normal daily routine. People who weigh every morning are also more conscience of the things they eat, keeping them from accidentally over eating. People who weigh themselves very rarely or not at all tend to have a slow increase in weight as time goes by. It's such a difference that scientist have even invented a scale based diet where the only goal is to weight yourself once every morning.
*We've established that your best and most accurate weight is right after waking and taking care of personal needs, but the scale changes all day! Why? Because from sun up to sun down and all around the clock water weight is fluctuating! Everything you eat, every time you use the bathroom, the amount of time you spend sitting, standing, your over all physical activities, traveling, Alcohol consumption, sneezing, stubbing your toe..lol Everything changes water weight! It's not uncommon for people to gain 12 pounds in water weight over the course of a day, and sometimes the next day some of that lingers. If you are 5 pounds heavier this morning than yesterday you did not gain 5 pounds of fat over night! You're just holding a little water and it will go away in a day or so.
**The Scale is Not Scary
*Weigh Daily to lose or maintain weight
*Avoid the scale to gain weight
*Water weight fluctuates wildly all day.
*You did not gain a pound of fat over night.
*To gain one pound of body fat you have to over eat your normal daily calories by 3,500 calories! If your daily calories allowance is 2000, you would have had to eat 5,500 calories that day to gain one actual pound of fat.
Note: that calories will add up over time! If your daily calories are 2,000 but you eat 2,100 today, 2500 tomorrow, eventually eating like that will gain you that pound of body fat.
****When you undertake a weight loss journey the numbers on the scale are less important than you might think. It's wonderful to see those numbers decline, but there are things that will mark your efforts far more effectively.
*Measure!!! At times when the scale may not move, your body composition may be changing in a big way. Measuring once a week will give you a better understanding of what your body is really going threw. I measure all over: neck, both upper arms, both forearms, both wrist, my chest, bra line, waist, hips, both thighs, both calves, and both ankles. Over the last nine months my scale has dropped 90 pounds, but I have lost over 147 inches from my body in just the area's I can wrap a measuring tape around.
*Photographs. It's very important to take those before photos every week or at least once a month. You don't have to share them, hide them away if you must, but take them. Sometimes the scale doesn't move and the inches seem to stay the same, even though I can see a difference in places I can't measure like my collar bones, the bridge of my nose, my fingers and my feet, just to name a few. I have seen bones come to light I nearly forgot existed. My cheeks, knees, elbows, and shoulder blades are more visible and sharper now.
*The most important thing in your weight loss tool box is the Off Scale Victories! Keeping a list of the things you notice as you go will make your journey far more enjoyable especially when the scale isn't moving and the doubt starts to filll your mind. "Nothing is happening, why am I doing this?" Reading these can squash those thoughts like the ants they are! See My Personal Off scale Victory List. It's a very long, wonderful, and happy list!
*Scale readings are not that important.
*Write down your Off Scale Victories.
Stalling on keto, or not losing weight over more than 6 weeks could have many culprits. If your measurements are going down, but the scale isn't moving these are very likely reasons. (in no order)
A. Re-growing Bone mass. By strength training, being more active, eating more healthy veggies with vitamin C, eating plenty of protein, using Collagen supplements, eating calcium rich foods, getting proper vitamins D3, K2, Magnesium & Zinc, fish oil or foods rich in omega 3, since most if not all of this is common with keto, it's no surprise our bone mass will improve, which does effect the scale.
B. Whoosh Effect / Fat cell Exchange. Our bodies are filled with fat cells, as you lose fat the cell fills with water, it isn't until the cell is void of fat and filled with water that the cell will collapse. There is usually a "Whoosh" of weight loss shortly after in which you will drop 5-10 pounds rather fast.
C. Body recompilation. Replacing fat with muscle. Fat takes up more space than the muscle. 5 pounds of fat vs 5 pounds of muscle looks very different.
D. Consistently retaining water from being active. Muscle also retains water in it's healing phase. Every time you work your muscles even just by walking more than usual, causes the muscles to tear and repair requiring consistent water retention.
E. Certain long term medications. (List coming soon)
Things that can negatively effect your weight short term, (days to a few weeks) are almost all water weight related.
There is the possibility that:
B. Not lowing your macro's as you lose weight (re-check your macro's after losing 10-20 pounds when you are really heavy and more often the smaller you get)
C. Following the wrong macro's for your body. (I use the keto diet buddy macro calculator)
D. Not tracking your food. (try tracking, I use myfitnesspal)
E. Guesstimating your food portions. (Buy a cheap food scale, try it)
F. Snacking or not implementing Intermittent Fasting (see Q & A)
G. Not getting enough sleep.
I. Sickness or Injury.
J. Short term medications. (list coming soon)
(If you plan to try and change any part of your keto routine, start with the one that is your most likely culprit, change ONE thing at a time. Unless it's sleep and stress, always get as much sleep as you can and reduce stress at every chance!)
Need help trouble shooting your stall or slow down? tell me everything you think is helpful including your age, height, weight, gender, and level of activity on a normal day.
To find out how much you should be eating in a day just google "Calorie Calculator". It will ask you to input your stats, gender, height, weight, age, level of activity. If you are doing keto, I suggest the Keto Buddy calculator linked below.
*What's the best scale? Well that depends on you for the most part. If you have one that works, rock on with it! If you are in the market for one, I am personally loving the gift I was given of a WiFi scale that sends my weight to my phone so I can't forget what it said. I do recommend you purchase a scale that is more than enough for your weight. If you weigh 350 or less I would get a scale that says it's accurate up to 400 or more pounds. Basically I would get one that weighs accurately at a far greater weight than you are and one with a back light so it is easy to read. They even have talking scales like this one.
Keto Buddy Calculator. This is the Keto calculator I have used threw out my entire journey and it hasn't let me down yet. It will give you 4 totals, 1 to maintain your current weight, a small deficit for slow weight loss, a moderate deficit for slightly faster weight loss (I use the moderate deficit) and a large deficit which I don't really recommend.
It will ask your BMI if you don't know, you can get a guess here BMI Calculator.