For most people, getting in shape is a constantly moving target. Attempts to track steps, inches, weight, and BMI can quickly become overwhelming.
Which weight loss measurement offers the best results? How accurate are scales?
If you’re anxious about the constantly changing numbers on the scale, fret not. It turns out weight loss scales aren’t as accurate as you think.
Take a look at this quick guide to understanding what the numbers on your bathroom scale really mean.
What is Water Weight?
We’ve all heard it before. After pointing out to a friend that after all your counting calories and hours of crossfit, you’ve somehow managed to put on five pounds.
Oh, that’s just water weight, your friend says. Water weight?
Most people hear that drinking more water actually helps you lose weight. How can the simple act of drinking water cause you to put on more pounds?
It turns out that a little more than half of our body weight comes from water. The range is 50 to 60 percent to be exact.
The amount of water your body holds on to depends very heavily on what you eat. Late-night binge sessions with your favorite salty snacks will likely trigger your cells to hold on to more water.
The same goes for sugary foods. Your body’s increase in insulin can mean retaining more sodium. More sodium means more water weight.
When you take diet pills and ‘quick’ weight loss supplements, these are usually just draining your body of water weight. This water drainage can actually leave your body malnourished if the weight loss happens too quickly.
Experts warn consumers away from these supplements because they aren’t the healthiest way to lose weight. Real weight loss targets fat cells, not water weight.
Your water weight is expected as long as it doesn’t indicate an unhealthy diet. But if you’re maintaining a healthy balanced diet, there shouldn’t be an issue with the amount of water weight you retain.
Weight Loss and Water Weight
When you first started out on your weight loss journey, chances are you shed pounds pretty quickly. The rapid weight loss happened because of a sudden change in diet.
Those extra carbs and salty snacks were helping you maintain water weight that could easily be shed within a few week’s time. This instant progress gave you a boost of confidence that you really could get back into your high school gym shorts.
But once you plateau in your weight loss or relapse by adding on a few more pounds, it’s a sign you’ve gotten down to the nitty-gritty.
A fluctuating few pounds can be a sign of your body holding on to water as a result of a recent increase in sodium in your diet. But it can also be the sign of an increase in muscle mass.
Muscle mass is a confusing element in the weight loss equation. It’s a tool that many fitness experts claim helps in weight loss yet it’s often the source of a surge in weight.
Should you worry about gaining muscle mass? How can you tell that you’re gaining muscle mass and not water weight or fat?
Measuring Muscle Mass
How accurate are scales? The average scale has no idea how to distinguish between your body’s water weight, muscle mass and fat intake.
Even after purchasing a smart scale, you need a basic understanding of what’s happening to your body when you launch a vigorous workout program. Muscle mass is starting to accumulate in the body at a rate that’s pretty much depending on your genetic code.
For some people, they immediately see results in their targeted areas. For others, it can take months before any visible changes happen.
Either way, you’re probably still burning fat but at a much slower rate than you might expect. You can gain weight during your weight loss plan if you’re building muscle because muscle is more dense than fat.
The good news is that muscle takes up less space. This means that you’ll notice a loss in inches around your targeted areas once you start losing fat and gaining muscle.
It’s important to track these inches so you know how you’re doing in your fitness journey.
Is My Fitness Plan Working?
It can be discouraging to gain muscle and put on extra pounds when your goal is to lose a certain number of pounds. It can seem like a contradiction in your mind to want good health but reject the idea of healthy muscle gain.
The key is to stop putting all your faith in pounds. They don’t tell the whole story.
You need many different measurements to find out whether your journey to good health is working. Smart scales are your best bet in getting accurate measurements on fat vs. muscle gain.
Fat loss is all about your metabolism. Your body has a game plan in place for how it likes to get rid of fatty cells.
You can intervene from a distance, but you can’t simply do a magic workout or eat special food that strips away fat. Your metabolism wants a little fat on hand in case of an emergency so it holds on for dear life until it’s exhausted all your water, sugar, and muscle stores.
How Accurate Are Scales?
Scales paint a picture. Most of the time, this picture doesn’t tell the whole story.
You’ll get the best information from a smart scale that measures both your weight and body composition. These scales can help you detect where and how you’re losing weight.
If your waist becomes more trim, but the scale increases by a few pounds, you can predict that you’ve just gotten one day closer to that six-pack you’ve always dreamed about.
The best way to whittle away at the pounds caused by fat is to stop fat gain in its tracks. Modify your diet to include lean proteins and whole veggies because an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
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