Why I Don’t Weigh Myself
by Anna Victoria in Fitness
Whether you’re asking someone or you’re the one being asked, talking about weight tends to stir up all sorts of emotions. Over the years people have learned to be conscious of their weight for too many reasons to count. I am here to tell you why what you weigh does NOT matter.
I get asked on a regular basis how much I weigh, and I am often reluctant to respond – not because I don’t want people to know how much I weigh, but because I don’t want to give this number any more importance than it already has.
First, if you are asking someone how much they weigh, you are looking to compare yourself to them. Please do not do this to yourself! Someone’s weight is determined by SO many different factors including family history and genetics, metabolism, behaviors, habits, and, most importantly in a fitness context, muscle mass!
You have probably heard the saying “muscle weighs more than fat” at one point or another along your fitness journey. This statement, word for word, is false. If you compare one pound of muscle to one pound of fat – they both weigh one pound!
However, if we are to talk about the density and volume of both muscle and fat, this is where the difference lies. If you look at one pound of muscle next to one pound of fat, you will notice their volume and composition differ entirely. Muscle is smooth, lean, and is more dense and compact than fat, therefore it takes up less space in your body. Fat is lumpy, gelatinous, and less dense than muscle, meaning it takes up more space in your body. In fact, fat takes up four times as much space in your body as muscle!
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Since working out burns fat and builds muscle, this means you may not see the number on the scale move as much as you expect it to. In some cases, you may even see the number go up! Personally, I took a few weeks off from working out while I was traveling recently and, after a few weeks back on my strength training routine, I had gained weight! Yet I was less bloated, seeing more muscle definition, and feeling a million times better. What the scale couldn’t tell me was that I had gained muscle, yet gotten rid of the extra fat I had gained during my travels.
Because the scale does not tell you how much fat versus muscle you have, it is not an accurate measure of your progress. A more accurate way to measure your weight and body composition is by getting your body fat percentage taken. This can be done at most gyms or doctor’s offices. When I started out on my journey, I was 24% body fat and weighed 135lbs. Anyone who follows my personal Instagram page knows I admit that I was not overweight at the beginning of my journey. 135lbs is a perfectly normal and healthy weight, however I was eating only fast food and, though I was in my early 20’s, I was very unhealthy for my age. You cannot always tell how healthy someone is by looking at them. Someone who is skinny can actually be more unhealthy than someone who appears overweight.
Fast forward to today and I weigh 127lbs, which isn’t that different from when I started. But I feel like a completely different person. My clothes fit totally differently and I now have 17% body fat, which means I lost a mere 7 lbs while losing a whopping 7% body fat. This is because for all that body fat I lost, my weight stayed roughly the same due to the muscle I gained in place of it.
Work, school, travel, and life have all made it so that my journey has not been a fast one. It I had been fixated with the number on the scale throughout my entire journey, I would likely be depressed, deflated, and discouraged at the idea of losing only 7 lbs after all this hard work.
For those who are thinking to themselves, “Well, I don’t want to gain muscle or get bulky,” let me set your mind at ease right now – you will not get bulky! Women do not have the natural level of testosterone in their bodies in order to spur mass muscle growth. The women you see that are insanely fit and have a lot of muscle in places you didn’t even know we could get muscles have worked very hard to achieve that specific look, and have likely taken supplements to get there. It will not happen by accident. If that is what you’re looking to achieve – more power to you! You are capable of shaping your body in whichever way you want, and as long as you’re being healthy, it doesn’t matter what other people think.
When women gain natural muscle and lift weights, it shapes, tones, and leans out our body, increases our metabolism, and allows our bodies to burn more fat. Yes, that is another benefit of strength training – the more muscle you have, the more fat your body is able to burn!
So, how should you go about tracking your health + fitness journey?
First, get a body fat percentage test done, and do this monthly. A healthy guideline for losing body fat is 1% per month if you are really committed, 2% at the most. Any more than this is unhealthy and is putting your body through extreme stress.
Second, pay attention to how you feel and look in the mirror! This is the most important part of your journey. Don’t try to lose weight or get in shape in order to attain a certain weight on the scale. Your fitness journey should be about feeling better about yourself and your health. A number on a scale will not give you that.
Take progress pictures! Even if you never show them to anyone and only keep them on the Fit Body App, progress pictures are one of the best ways to notice changes and progress in your own body. When you look in the mirror every day, you won’t notice the small changes as much as you will when you compare pictures side by side that are weeks apart. Take pictures in the same clothes, with the same stance, same background, etc. to really notice the subtle changes in your body.
Last but not least, put that scale away. If you have to, step on it once a month, but no more than that. We are women so our weight fluctuates naturally due to water weight, hormones, and that time of the month. Do not step on it daily or even weekly and beat yourself up over something that is outside of your control.
What I want you to know is this: a number should not be the measure of your success. Two people can weigh the exact same, yet have totally different body fat percentage levels and be in completely different states of health. Be concerned with YOUR health, what foods you eat, and how much exercise is going to help you optimize your health and feel your best, and the physical results will follow!
So how about you? Do you weigh yourself often? Does how much you weigh hold much importance to you? Let me know what you think!