How do you track success? The scale or the tape measure?

The Biggest Loser winner has come and gone.  And to everyone’s surprise, including the Biggest Loser trainers, the winner lost a shocking 106 pounds!  Her weight loss and her appearance caused a social media uproar of controversy and opinions.  People started asking “Does she have an eating disorder?” or “Did she fixate on the number on the scale to get it as low as possible to win?”

The controversial photo of Rachel Fredrickson, winner of The Biggest Loser Second Chance.

This got me thinking…do people put more value on the number the scale says or actual measurement changes to define their success? Which is the better gauge of progress when you’re on a health regimen? The scale and tracking your body weight, or the tape measure, and tracking your inches lost off your body?”

I have been an athlete, since I was 5 years old.  I was a gymnast, bodybuilder and fitness competitor.  I have NEVER owned a scale!  The only reason I’ve known my weight is because of a weigh in at a competition or when visiting the doctor. Muscle mass weighs more then body fat.  I hate when clients ask me, “what do you think I should weigh, for my height?”  In the bodybuilding arena I saw men that were 5’8″ weigh in around 240… or even more. My own weight  continued to increase with every competition I competed in because I was raining harder, adding more muscle.

I am 5’7’’ and at my first bodybuilding show, I weighed in at 120.  My last competition, 3 years later, I weighed in at 145 pounds. You know that game where someone tries to guess your weight? Well, I would always win. They would always guess that I weighed at least 15-20 pounds LIGHTER than what I really weighed.

Measurements are where it’s at! 

The measurements, not the number on the scale, determines what SIZE jeans you wear, what others see and more importantly, how you feel! No one knows the “number” on your scale. I have a client who is the same height and weight as me and my clothes are three sizes smaller.

Even the Biggest Loser, which is completely focused on the scale, has had to explain why contestants stop dropping the large numbers and some even start to ADD pounds, even though they are working harder and look better than ever.

When you see a large drop of pounds on the scale, in a short amount of time, it’s mostly water.  When someone loses 25 or more pounds in a week, you can bet it’s all water weight (not body fat). Keep that in mind next time you are watching one of the reality weight loss shows. That “number” eventually stops drastically dropping and that is why some weeks contestants lose nothing. However, their inches will continue to drop more frequently, even when the scale stays the same or their weight even increases.  That’s right, you could lose inches and the “number” on the scale stays the same or can even go up!  I’ve seen it with my own eyes!  Why do you think they are going to the BMI index, instead of just relying on the scale?

Don’t get me wrong, your weight on the scale will change when you succeed on a health regimen.  But when you get to a certain fitness level, you have more muscle mass than body fat and you will need to use a tape measure and maybe even a fat calibrator to track your success.

This brings me to my next Blog entry…Skinny Fat.  Until then, how would you answer some of these questions?

  •  Do you use a scale to track your progress?
  • Do you weigh yourself every day? Week?
  • Do you always weigh yourself, at the same time of day?
  • Do you go to the bathroom and so called “empty extra weight” before you jump on that scale?
  • Does what the scales says impact how you eat that day?
  • Are you a prisoner of your scale?

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