Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Fitness // The scales don't lie - or do they?

You can hardly walk past an aisle in the supermarket magazine section without seeing phrases like “lose 10lb in 10 days with this juice diet!” or “need to lose the pounds? We’ve got you covered!” plastered across the front of them.
Losing those pounds seems to be the biggest money maker for these magazines, because, let’s face it, losing pounds means you’re getting healthier, right? Right? Am I right?
Well, in short, losing the pounds doesn’t always equate to getting in better shape, we’ve all seen the photo online of what 1lb of fat looks like as opposed to 1lb of muscle and the difference is staggering. 

Source: Bamboocorefitness.com

When the scales go down, it means you are losing overall weight, of both fat and muscle, which is what people who would like to lose weight in the conventional sense are after – that little digit on the scale dropping and dropping. It can become almost addictive, watching the weight fall off, and it can really motivate you to keep going as you can physically see that your body mass is decreasing, but what do you do when you hit your goal weight? Do you carry on going, or do you monitor yourself to remain the same weight for as long as you see desirable?
Before I became better aware of fitness and nutrition, I too used to think that losing pounds was the be all and end all, but now, for me, it isn’t. Because what those digits do not tell you, whilst they’re falling or rising or maintaining themselves, is how you will feel at that weight. If you’re constantly feeling tired or irritable, you’re probably not eating enough, or at least not enough of the nutrients that your body needs whilst exercising.
When I stepped on the scales a few months ago, I was perplexed to find that I had put on weight and I mulled over it for quite a while. How had I gained weight when I was exercising well, drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthy 90% of the time? Were my scales wrong? Instead of restricting my eating and panicking, I asked a friend who is much more health and fitness savvy than I am. Muscle mass was the simple answer to my woes – yes, I was eating, drinking and moving well, and that was entirely why I had ‘put on’ weight.
I took several photos of myself from various angles to confirm what my friend was saying, and compared them to the photos where I initially weighed less. True enough, my body looked better now than it had before and I didn’t look like I would blow away with a strong wind.
In short, the scales, although they are a fantastic aide for those on a weight loss journey, are not always the best judge of your body and its capabilities – was I upset when I saw I had put on weight? Yes. Did that last when I realised that the scales, in this instance, were not reflective of my body? No.