100 lb. Club - Why the scale means NOTHING.




View Full Version : Why the scale means NOTHING.


fitkristi
01-18-2011, 10:10 AM
As much as we focus on it, it really means nothing in the end...how you feel and look does!

A friend of mine posted this blog on facebook, and I found it to be pretty eye opening!

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=39264 73


Kgirl1974
01-18-2011, 10:14 AM
Great link! Thanks for posting - seeing really is believing!

Eliana
01-18-2011, 10:31 AM
Yep, I am living proof of this, though I did not document it well. Pretty cool!

The scale really does mean nothing for those of us who lift. Lifting does amazing things for shape! You just have to use the scale as a tool.


nationalparker
01-18-2011, 10:50 AM
THANK YOU for sending that link. I've never seen it put out there so well documented. It's amazing.

beerab
01-18-2011, 10:53 AM
That's a great article for sparkpeople. It's true though - I know a girl- so fit and toned but she has a high weight cuz she trains a LOT.

gottadoit2010
01-18-2011, 11:40 AM
Wow...that was amazing to see. Thank you so much for posting it!

jenjen22
01-18-2011, 11:43 AM
Wow! Thanks for posting fitkristi. I have been frustrated, the scale hasn't moved but my smaller clothes are fitting better! This is an amazing post!

seagirl
01-18-2011, 11:46 AM
Um, I have 40 pounds to lose, and have lost 8. It doesn't mean nothing to me. Is it 100% accurate 100% of the time? No. But I'm not going to get where I'm going without the numbers on the scale going down.

Eliana
01-18-2011, 11:53 AM
Um, I have 40 pounds to lose, and have lost 8. It doesn't mean nothing to me. Is it 100% accurate 100% of the time? No. But I'm not going to get where I'm going without the numbers on the scale going down.

But it does mean something if you measure it. Yes, the scale needs to drop too and it will. The woman photo didn't have a whole lot to lose. But there are often times the scale will get stuck but the inches will drop. And once you do get closer to "normal" it's possible your weight will not match your body. You may weigh heavier than someone who has never done any lifting.

It still amazes me how two people with the same stats can have two dress sizes between them.

rachael
01-18-2011, 12:12 PM
I think this is far more true when you are smaller, like this person, than when you are in the higher numbers. If you're increasing your exercise significantly and building muscle, you are still likely to lose more fat than you gain muscle. A pound of muscle weighs the same amount as a pound of fat, it just takes up less space.

So let's look at it like this. You start off weighing 250 pounds. If you live a sedentary life, a general calorie calculator says that it will take 2338 calories per day to maintain that. To lose one pound a week at a sedentary life, you would eat about 1800 calories per day. You would lose 4 pounds a month. According to this article (http://www.thatsfit.com/2010/06/22/fit-or-fiction-how-long-does-it-take-to-gain-a-pound-of-muscle/), it takes about a month for a beginner to gain a pound of muscle. So if you're dieting and exercising and trying to build muscle, you still should be showing a loss of 3 pounds a month even if you gain a pound of muscle.

If you weigh 160 pounds, you can still have the same thing happen where you are losing more than you gain in muscle, but it's also more likely that you're gaining muscle slightly faster if you've been working on it the whole time AND you're losing slower. So if you're losing 2 pounds a month instead of 4 and gaining 2 pounds of muscle a month, then yes. But when you weigh more, this is far less likely.

I'm not saying you shouldn't find solace in losing inches, because you totally should. And the scale is not the end all and be all. But I know that when I didn't know much about nutrition and was still eating like garbage but working out, that whole muscle weighs more than fat thing didn't really help me out. I was not gaining muscle at a rate which would cancel fat loss.

FitGirlyGirl
01-18-2011, 12:17 PM
That was awesome! Thank you for posting the link. While I do have a "goal weight" listed, that is not my real goal and never has been. My goals are mostly health oriented (I want awesome numbers from my blood work), but I also have a jeans size as a goal - size 4. My 115 GW came from my husband doing the math and figuring that the most likely area for me to fit into a 5 is 110 - 125 (he's a big math nerd and is loving giving me help with my tracking and figuring during all of this. Since 115 falls between his numbers and is the middle of the healthy BMI range for my height I went with it. However, I only did that to have a number because so many people and so many websites ask, my real true goal is those jeans and those good lab results. If I get into a 4 long before hitting 115 and my doc says my blood work makes him happy then I will start working my maintenance plan at that point.

Eliana
01-18-2011, 12:23 PM
I think this is far more true when you are smaller, like this person, than when you are in the higher numbers. If you're increasing your exercise significantly and building muscle, you are still likely to lose more fat than you gain muscle. A pound of muscle weighs the same amount as a pound of fat, it just takes up less space.

So let's look at it like this. You start off weighing 250 pounds. If you live a sedentary life, a general calorie calculator says that it will take 2338 calories per day to maintain that. To lose one pound a week at a sedentary life, you would eat about 1800 calories per day. You would lose 4 pounds a month. According to this article (http://www.thatsfit.com/2010/06/22/fit-or-fiction-how-long-does-it-take-to-gain-a-pound-of-muscle/), it takes about a month for a beginner to gain a pound of muscle. So if you're dieting and exercising and trying to build muscle, you still should be showing a loss of 3 pounds a month even if you gain a pound of muscle.

If you weigh 160 pounds, you can still have the same thing happen where you are losing more than you gain in muscle, but it's also more likely that you're gaining muscle slightly faster if you've been working on it the whole time AND you're losing slower. So if you're losing 2 pounds a month instead of 4 and gaining 2 pounds of muscle a month, then yes. But when you weigh more, this is far less likely.

I'm not saying you shouldn't find solace in losing inches, because you totally should. And the scale is not the end all and be all. But I know that when I didn't know much about nutrition and was still eating like garbage but working out, that whole muscle weighs more than fat thing didn't really help me out. I was not gaining muscle at a rate which would cancel fat loss.
Very well written, especially the last paragraph! Yes, I hate to see this advice taken the wrong way. Weight loss is still 80% diet and only 20% exercise, regardless. If a person is eating RIGHT and exercising, THEN the scale is not something to worry about. Everything needs to line up.

goal4agirl
01-18-2011, 02:16 PM
http://www.freesmileys.org/custom/image/grey%5E_%5Egeorgia%5E_%5E3%5E_%5E0%5E_%5EThanks Kristi!!%5E_%5E.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/custom)
That was extremely cool!!

Momto2Ms
01-18-2011, 02:17 PM
Very interesting! Thank you for sharing!

seagirl
01-18-2011, 02:49 PM
But it does mean something if you measure it. Yes, the scale needs to drop too and it will. The woman photo didn't have a whole lot to lose. But there are often times the scale will get stuck but the inches will drop. And once you do get closer to "normal" it's possible your weight will not match your body. You may weigh heavier than someone who has never done any lifting.

It still amazes me how two people with the same stats can have two dress sizes between them.

True, but this is posted in the section of the forum for folks who have 100 pounds to lose. To send the message to people with a large amount of weight to lose that "you can totally transform your body without losing a pound" does a disservice. Yes, at the end of your weight loss journey, the scale may not make a difference. But at the beginning and middle, it really does.

fitkristi
01-18-2011, 02:53 PM
Goodness, I certainly didn't mean to do a 'disservice' to anyone, especially in the forum that I generally hang out in. I've lost a significant amount of weight - I'm not just flying in to say 'Hey numbers don't matter, BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'. My intention on posting this was to show that when you get frustrated that the scale isn't moving (like I am right now!) that it isn't the be all, end all. Just because that number isn't moving doesn't mean something isn't going on, and if you continue to eat properly and exercise, you WILL notice results. I don't think anyone (especially me!) is saying to completely ignore health.

rachael
01-18-2011, 03:55 PM
I only posted what I did to clarify that this is different depending on where you are in your journey and because I think when you're bigger, you hang your heart on that "muscle weighs more than fat" thing a little too much if you're not fully committed to changing your food choices.

However, I don't think that posting this was a "disservice" as Seagirl said. It was just trying to help. I think it's a lot more of a disservice to people on here to be aggressive in tone and tell people that they are full of excuses and shouldn't even bother trying until they get rid of their excuses, which is something I've seen more than once from Seagirl.

Eliana
01-18-2011, 04:01 PM
True, but this is posted in the section of the forum for folks who have 100 pounds to lose. To send the message to people with a large amount of weight to lose that "you can totally transform your body without losing a pound" does a disservice. Yes, at the end of your weight loss journey, the scale may not make a difference. But at the beginning and middle, it really does.

I see your point as well, but I was one of those who stuck all the way down. There are a couple others like me as well who do not lose linearly at all. I think I pack on the muscle pretty darn well and often times, even from the start, I would drop a dress size, once I dropped TWO, with only a one pound loss. And I'm in the middle of losing that 100 pounds.

I just think this thread and that link show that the scale is not everything and demonstrates visually exactly why it is only a tool.

seagirl
01-18-2011, 04:02 PM
I think it was the word "NOTHING" in the title that threw me off...

rachael
01-18-2011, 04:03 PM
Eliana, do you have a scale that measures body fat? I know those aren't purely accurate, but do you see a change in the body fat percent when you're in your stalls? I'm just curious, as that would certainly help with dealing with stalls as well.

fitkristi
01-18-2011, 04:04 PM
I just think this thread and that link show that the scale is not everything and demonstrates visually exactly why it is only a tool.

THIS! Perhaps I should have titled it 'The scale isn't EVERYTHING' instead of saying that it means nothing. Semantics, schemantics!

Eliana
01-18-2011, 04:08 PM
Eliana, do you have a scale that measures body fat? I know those aren't purely accurate, but do you see a change in the body fat percent when you're in your stalls? I'm just curious, as that would certainly help with dealing with stalls as well.

No, I wish I did. ;) But then, that would just give me one more thing to obsess about. LOL! I use a navy BF calculator and that gets me through at times, but really that's no different than just taking measurements.

I stall ALL the time! :dizzy:

saef
01-18-2011, 05:12 PM
I really appreciated being able to see these pictures.

I made my goal weight in the summer of 2009, and then promptly went up a few pounds over it. I lost the last few pounds for a second time very gradually, but the achievement always felt tentative, like I was just one big meal away from a regain.

Then, this past summer, I added three days of weight training into my exercise schedule. After maybe six or eight weeks, I could see my body changing, but the scale wasn't reflecting it. In particular, I saw it in my upper arms and my abs.

I had people asking me how much weight I'd lost. Trainers at the gym said that I'd lost weight.

I was honest with them & told them no, I hadn't. The trainers all got it; the general gym-goers didn't always.

Only within the last few weeks has the scale really moved, the way people already thought it had.

I admire that girl for taking photographs of herself & documenting it all, as if she were her own science project. I almost wish I'd done that, because then I might believe in it more & see it more clearly.

Catcuffling
01-18-2011, 05:29 PM
great article

i this week really realised that the scales don't matter as much as i thought, because although i lost 2kgs which i thought was nothing! i have lost 7cms around my waist!! so measurements to me count more. although that number on the scales often does trick me

ubergirl
01-18-2011, 11:19 PM
I see your point as well, but I was one of those who stuck all the way down. There are a couple others like me as well who do not lose linearly at all. I think I pack on the muscle pretty darn well and often times, even from the start, I would drop a dress size, once I dropped TWO, with only a one pound loss. And I'm in the middle of losing that 100 pounds.

I just think this thread and that link show that the scale is not everything and demonstrates visually exactly why it is only a tool.

Yes, me too. And it also explains, in part, why people of the same height and weight can look so different.