Weight Loss NHS
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6 Reasons Not to Rely on The Number on The Scales

Those dreaded scales can be quite a problem for some people, affecting motivation, mood, eating habits & of course progress. So I wanted to share a post with you to help you be aware of all the ways that the number on the scale can be positively or negatively affected.

1.If you are taking up exercise as part of your healthy eating or weight loss plan, especially if that includes strength training you may be losing fat at the same time as building muscle, which wouldn't necessarily show up as weight lost, but would show up in your body measurements.

2.When you eat a very low carb diet, in the first couple of weeks you lose a lot of water weight, this can show up on the scales by as much as 5lb in the first week, however if you then increase the level of carbs at any time, it is likely to show up as an increase.

3.Weighing yourself at different times of the day can give different results. Always weigh under the same circumstances, in the same clothes at the same time of day.

4.Hormones affect weight quite significantly, so if you are stressed, or pre-menstrual, the number on the scale could show up higher than it actually is. For us ladies there is also the added disruption of increased water weight during this time.

5.If you usually weigh yourself in the mornings, but the night before 'weigh day' you eat a high carb meal (such as pasta) this could show up as much as 2lb heavier on your scales in the morning. This is most likely to be water weight rather than actual weight gained, and you would probably be lighter again within a couple of days.

6.Results are not always instant so if you feel like you've had a super healthy week, eaten well and exercised your butt off at the gym, you may not see this reflected in the scale for a week or two, depending on whether there are any other factors in play (such as any of those above).

It takes consistent effort over time to start seeing reductions in the numbers on the scale, and even then sometimes what they say may not be a true reflection, which is why it is important to consider other factors.

- Have your body measurements changed

- Do you have more energy

- Does your skin look healthier

- Are you sleeping better

- Are you noticing even small changes in how your clothes fit

These are all great signs that what you are doing is working, so keep going :)

16 Replies
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Thank you for this post. A lovely reminder that there are more benefits to loosing weight and not just numbers. Great motivation - thanks

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You're most welcome. I'm glad it gives the right message across as well as hopefully making those numbers seem less important and mood controlling :)

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Super post Michelle. Very positive and informed. 😊

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Thank You ShellieL :)

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Thanks Michelle,

Great post and gives me more reasons for why my scales seemed to be all over the place last week.

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You're welcome, I know, it can be so frustrating can't it, glad the post has helped :)

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Very sound advice Michelle. You are right. This fluctuation has happened to me even when I know that I have been sensible and careful. I will keep it in my mind as a reminder. Thank you and good luck this week!

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Thank you cherry-blossom, and to you too! :)

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I find water weight hits at various times during the week

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Hi Nsky24, it definitely can, have you been able to link it to any carbohydrate foods you've eaten at all?

Stored glycogen from carbs soaks up water – to be specific, 4 grams of water to each gram of glycogen. Think of it this way: if you drink 2 cups (16 ounces) of water and then step on the scale immediately without going to the bathroom, you will have “gained 1lb” from the water in your stomach. Does that mean the water made you fat? No, and retaining water from stored glycogen is no different.

That's why if you get on the scales the morning after a heavy carb meal, it can read as much as 2lb increase (as in my point 5) but there's no way you gained 2lb of fat overnight :)

But there can of course be other reasons for water weight too, time of the month etc.

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I tend to keep my carbs reasonably low, and I do suffer post menopause from bloating at times ( it can add up to 6 lbs overnight),

Luckily I've found a natural med for it

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Sounds like you've got things working well :)

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Hi Michelle, manythanks for your timely posting. Recently i bought a new set of scales which promptly gave me a reading of 4lbs more than previous ones had. This entirely threw my focus out and no matter what spin i put on it i lost motivation. I am starting again with measurements too this time.

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Hi Gillyflower88, I can certainly imagine how that would have affected your motivation.

Yep definitely include measurements in the equation, they really can help keep you stay on track when the scale says one thing, then you measure yourself and they have gone down! ... then you can go back upstairs and poke your tongue out at those nasty scales :) haha

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Brilliant post!

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Thank you Portlandprincess. Hope your Monday has gone well :)

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