Why You Must Stop Weighing Yourself
and Start Doing This!
Tony S. DiCostanzo, NFPT-CPT, CSH
Stop weighing yourself! What I mean, more specifically, is stop weighing yourself so frequently. Do you know the scale can be the greatest enemy to effective and consistent weight loss? How many times have you jumped on the scale with great eagerness only to find that it didn't drop the digits to meet your expectations?
What came next was absolutely horrible and it was wrong. This is what happened: You decided that the diet wasn't worth the hard work and discipline. You decided that it was time to eat a meal filled with the foods that you desired. Forget about the high fat and calorie content. Heck, you've been good and it hasn't paid off so why not enjoy the pleasures you've been denying yourself. Sounds familiar, right?
Why do you think I stated that the above was absolutely horrible and wrong? Is it really that bad to cheat and eat some tasty, fattening foods once in a while? No, not if the eating only lasted that one meal, then it wouldn't matter that much at all. In fact, it might actually help by kick starting your metabolism a little bit. Unfortunately, however, the eating doesn't usually stop with just one meal. The eating continues and to make matters worse it may have all started because you trusted the numbers on a scale. The numbers on the scale may not always be as accurate as you think.
Did you know that your weight can fluctuate anywhere from two to five pounds or even more on a daily basis? It can all depend on certain factors contributing to your total water weight. In other words, you may not have gained a pound back as you thought or assumed. The increase in water weight can be due to a host of variables such as; the timing of your weigh-in, sodium intake, hormonal conditions or the specifics of your overall dietary regimen. You could also have an increase in lean body mass (LBM). Keep in mind, muscle weighs more than fat.
Now can you see why I stated that what happened was horrible and wrong? You abandoned your dreams, your goals and your plans for a new body all because you didn't see a number that you wanted to see. Even though, you may still have been moving in the right direction and losing weight. The numbers came and robbed you of what was rightfully yours. The scale has a lot of power because our minds can be incredibly weak. When we fail to see results, our mind speaks to our hearts with discouraging words and then that leads to actions that we regret. You give yourself over to defeat.
Losing weight and burning fat is no easy task, especially if you've been at it for a while. Rather than obsess over the scale, here are some concrete things to do that can bring about faster and more consistent weight loss.
1. Weigh Yourself Less Often and Use the Mirror More
The scale can be off by as much as five or more pounds at any one time. Don't allow a false scale reading to invade your mental space. Only weigh yourself on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. While the mirror has its drawbacks as well, it can be a relatively accurate tool to visually see and chart your progress. As you gaze in the mirror, look for how your overall shape may have changed. Take the time to analyze where there may be new contours or muscle tone in the upper abdomen, arms and legs. Also, focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel. Tightening of the belt, loosening of the pants, room in the shirt and even loose rings on your fingers can be excellent barometers to confirm that you're losing weight and moving forward.
2. Measure Yourself and Test Body Fat Levels
You can chart your progress much more explicitly by measuring yourself and testing your body fat levels. Measure your upper arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs, ankles and wrists. Faithfully keep a record of your measurements. Testing your body fat levels is another excellent way to measure your improvement. Most health clubs, personal trainers and wellness centers offer this service for a reasonable fee. It's worth the cost.
3. Practice Caloric Manipulation on a Weekly/Bi-Weekly Basis
Some call it zigzag dieting. This is the process of adding or dropping calories below or above your metabolic needs from one day to the next. It is the tactic of trying to keep your body's metabolism guessing. Your body is constantly adapting and trying to stay the same. This is the state that scientists refer to as "homeostasis." If you practice calorie manipulation (zigzag dieting), you constantly move your metabolism out of its comfort zone. It can be done by alternately adding or dropping 500 calories above or below your baseline caloric requirements one, two, or three days at a time. If done properly and with the proper variety of foods, this can be the most effective weight loss technique out there. Exercise is required to utilize the full benefit of this kind of caloric management.
4. Visualize the Body you want and See it Every Day in your Mind
You will let your mind make you or break you. It's your choice. If you really believe that you're going to fail, you most probably will. If you really believe that you will succeed, then you most certainly will. The problem is this: people give little thought to the power of their minds. We allow our subconscious minds to be fed negativity all day long and then we wonder why we keep falling over the same obstacles over and over again. It's not enough to speak positive words into your heart and mind. You must also see the images of what those words represent. Fill your heart and mind with positive words and images that will empower you in your goals.
From the diet to the exercise, see it all as you need it to be and as you want it to be. Visualization must be done repetitiously in order for it to work. Practice it and you will be amazed at the impact it will have on you and your aspirations.
5. Keep a Daily Journal of your Progress and Chart Tomorrow's Plan Today
It is imperative to keep a journal of your progress. The journal should include the daily diet, exercise protocol, thoughts on body evaluation and on how you will approach tomorrow. Your journal shouldn't only be filled with calories and statistics. It should be filled with pieces of your heart. How did the victory feel today? How did you overcome the cravings and how good was it to stay focused? How far have you come and how far will you go? You will find on certain days that your own words can be your greatest source of inspiration as you look back on your past journey. Failing to plan tomorrow's strategy is one of the most common mistakes made by many.
If you want to be victorious tomorrow, you must plan for it physically and mentally today. Set new goals in small steps. Prepare your heart, mind and body for the foods you will eat and the exercise you will undertake. It is just as important to physically prepare, if necessary, the foods you will need. Most diets fail because of bad food choices made due to lack of preparation. Think ahead and cook ahead.
Fat loss requires not only diet and exercise, but also visualizing, evaluating and planning. Fast fat loss requires conditioning your mind to stay the course. Keep your eyes off of the scale and on the prize. What do you want to see when you look in the mirror in a few weeks or months? That's your prize. See it. Believe it. And it will be yours.