Weighing In On The Scale: My Thoughts About What The Scale Numbers Tell Us

by Megan K on January 10, 2012

Weighing In On The Scale: My Thoughts About What The Scale Numbers Tells Us

Fat loss can be tracked using a variety of metrics, which is why your body fat is tested, your measurements and photographs are taken and your scale weight is recorded.  No one metric, on its own is more valuable than the others.  We need all of them in order to gauge your progress.  Although, if your pants are falling off then there really is no doubt that you are getting leaner!


Our society is dominated by media messages about beauty and about what is the ideal body weight and this can be very problematic.  A female body builder who is 5’6 inches could weigh as much as 150lbs or as little as 125lbs and look dramatically different than a woman at 30% body fat of the same weight.  So you can see how the scale can be misleading.


After having talked with a few members of my programs, I determined that it would be useful to clarify how the scale can be used to expedite your fat loss and how I view the numbers.


IF you are someone who cares a great deal about the numbers on the scale then this strategy will be useful for you.  If you do not care or do not have a scale then don’t worry about it! If you are someone who comes from a background where your success with a program is defined by what you weigh then the game of fat loss might be tough for you at times- particularly if you are finding the scale to be unfriendly.  And Mark My Words, it will be unfriendly anywhere from 1-2 times (or more) per month.


To truly take advantage of the scale for fat loss, you need to accumulate several weeks worth of data and then be prepared to examine factors aside from exercise and food to figure out what your data tells you.


Please follow these steps and record your numbers and after you have tracked 10 days worth of weigh-ins (or more) then bring in the numbers to discuss them with me- if you are concerned about your progress.

  1. Wake up and after morning elimination weigh yourself nude.
  2. Write down the number.
  3.  At the end of the evening right before bed, weigh yourself again-nude.
  4.  Record the number.
  5. Repeat for at least ten days before bringing in the numbers.


Little known facts: minus the human skeleton, nearly 80% of your weight is affected by fluids.  This means that your body weight can fluctuate as much as 1-3% in a few hours. If you are following the above data collection process, what I am looking for is fluctuation from day to day, and from morning to evening- this is not only normal it can be expected for most people.


Typically those who lose body fat the fastest have a great amount of fluctuation in scale weight over a 72 hour period.  But in order to figure out how your weight is trending, I will need to see multiple days of data.


Other factors that can impact your scale weight:

  • menstrual cycle
  • bloating (related to bowels)
  • water retention (related to the body’s electrolyte balance and your sodium/potassium and fluid levels)
  • other digestive functions (ie: the speed at which you digest and eliminate your food)


Some people are numbers people.

Some people care a great deal about the scale weight. Some people do not.


IF you plan on closely monitoring your scale weight please make a deal with yourself, prior to beginning, that you will not let a weight gain ruin your mood or your day. It simply is not worth it to stress out about something like the scale. This is your life and your health first and having a lousy weigh in does not define you as a person or dictate whether or not you are on the path to success. You know if you are doing what needs to be done.


Side Note: I weighed myself over the last five days and had almost a ten pound variance. Had I not known the above facts about fluids and the body, I might have been a sad panda. Don’t let your weight make you sad! If you know that you are completing your workouts and being compliant with your nutrition plan then a weight gain is NOT something to stress about.


Keep your eyes on your goals, put in the time and the work and you will get there.


Megan K

The muscle weighs more than the fat and it takes up less space…



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