It may seem strange, even absurd to consider weight loss as a negative experience when you’re putting in the effort to drop those stubborn pounds and inches. But believe it or not it is important that this happens from time to time, and here’s the reasons why:
1. IT ELIMINATES COMPLACENCY
Sometimes, completely unwittingly it is easy to consume more calories than we realise. This is especially common after a few weeks on a weight loss plan when we start to feel different and notice our clothes getting loser. It is human nature to be pleased when the hard work starts to pay off but it can also lead to relaxing the food plan a little and extra calories can start to creep in.
Complacency is subtle but dangerous.
It is only when we jump on the scales and see the numbers static or going the wrong direction that we get back to basics and cut out the excess calories. This is often an oversight in portion size, a snack creeping in before bed, or perhaps that extra glass of wine because we’re out more because of a boost in confidence! So there you go, that little kick in the teeth just reigns us back in so we can look forward and move closer to our real weight loss goal.
2. IT PROVES THAT THE SCALE IS NOT THE BEST GUIDE
The problem with an ordinary weighing scales is that it does not tell body composition, therefore one cannot tell how much of the overall weight is made up of water and how much is fat or muscle mass. Water in the body is like a tide which goes in and out all the time. Women retain water throughout the menstrual cycle, and factors such as dehydration, exercise and alcohol all play havoc with fluid levels from day to day. Therefore, after a great week of diet and exercise the scale can go up, but this is only negative if the rise is in body fat. If it’s muscle then great, the body is tighter and the exercise is paying off. If the rise is fluid, then it can be for any number of reasons, but will drop in due course providing adequate water is being drunk each day.
It reminds us to see the scale for what it is, a very simple machine not to be depended on each week.
It also reminds us to look at other things for signs of progress and to have faith in what we’re doing. Measurements are the best guide as bodies shrink with fat loss, clothes are also a good guide. Don’t let the scale put you off with bad news, don’t let it be your judge and executioner. So many people give up because of this negative instrument, put it away, weigh once per month and focus on day to day behaviours, the secret to long term weight loss success.
3. IT PREPARES YOU FOR WEIGHT MAINTENANCE
Losing weight week after week is great at the time, but it is only when one hits a plateau that a lesson is learned. It is crucial to prepare for the time when goal weight has been reached and staying there becomes the new focus. This is the key to why a lot of people end up regaining lost weight. They are great at dieting, but the new lifestyle hasn’t been established and the root causes of overeating haven’t been realised.
Anyone can chase numbers but real success comes from changing one’s thoughts and overcoming the triggers that led to weight at the start.
When the scale doesn’t move it’s time to address what behaviours may have been the cause and this emphasizes the importance of psychological change, not just physical.