Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Scale Can Lie!

Have you ever followed a meal plan, exercised hard, looked better, and then jumped on the scale only to be disappointed?

In fact, just when you think you're losing weight at a rapid rate, you find out you've actually gained weight?

This is all too common, and PPT exercise physiologist Aaron Dunn has simple answers to explain exactly what's going on.

"This can really diminish positive feelings and motivation," begins Dunn. "When someone is inspired to put forth the effort, it's a shame to have that inspiration reduced due to misunderstanding a traditional scale."

But, how can the scale lie?  Isn't weight change a clear-cut assessment of how bodyweight is being affected by exercise and nutrition?

"You'd be surprised by the range of factors that influence your bodyweight," explains Dunn.  "Your water weight goes up and down throughout the day due to drinking water, diuretic medications, bodily exertion and caffeine intake.  Even the amount of food being digested in your belly will stack up against you, as far as the scale is concerned.  These can easily lead to a 2% deviation, which seems like a lot when you're hoping for just a couple of pounds of weight loss."

Client Services Director Val Fiott offered another interesting point of hope:  "It's important to understand that you're not really trying to lose weight. More specifically, you're trying to lose fat!  The scale doesn't report the amount of actual fat that you have, it reports your weight."

But isn't this just semantics? If your fat goes down then shouldn't your weight go down also?

Fiott elaborated:  "Your total bodyweight is made up of two things:  Lean mass, which is everything that isn't bodyfat, and bodyfat itself.  When you lose 10 lbs of bodyfat, for example, you're usually gaining some muscle, bone mineral density, or healthy water weight, too.  Those healthy gains will add to the total equation of your bodyweight, making that 10 lb loss show as much less."

"It's helpful to think about the process," begins Dunn, "When you're making healthy changes to lose weight, those same healthy changes can make make you increase muscle stores or hydration.  To an extent, when you lose unhealthy weight, you're likely to gain healthy weight too."

So how do we avoid the confusion and know what's what?  PPT providers all travel with devices to assess body composition, or bodyfat percentage.  With these tools, we assess just how much of you is fat and how much is lean mass.  This way, they track your specific changes over time and modify your program as needed.

Questions or concerns?  Call or comment below. 
We look forward to your new success!

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