The scale is a tool for assessment. One tool. It’s relevant so much as it provides feedback OVER TIME along with a number of other measures:
- Bodyfat calipers
- Visual appearance
- Tape measures
- Clothes and the way they fit
All factors must be looked at, and more importantly looked at consistently over time to determine one’s course of action.
Why bring this up?
Too many panic over scale weight and sometimes take drastic measures to self-correct.
Here’s an important analogy to better understand the situation:
Two identical sponges are placed side by side. One is saturated with water and the other is completely dry. Which is heavier? Of course the saturated one. I can reverse the situation very quickly by placing one in the dryer and pouring water over the other. What changed?
When one eats a carb heavy meal followed by plenty of fluids, they are likely to weigh a lot more the next day. What’s the answer? Don’t eat carbs? That would be ridiculous. Instead, the awareness that this may happen minimizes panic, especially if you are looking at patterns over time.
Here is an example of scale weight and the effects of diet and exercise over the course of a week:
Saturday morning: I’m at my lowest weight of the week. I will then refuel that day.
Sunday morning: I’m up 4-6 pounds depending on food intake. If the food was salty and high carb, and I drank plenty of liquids, my scale weight may be even higher. I look inflamed and feel pretty lousy.
Monday morning: My scale weight is still the same, even with lighter eating on Sunday. Panic mode? No, right now food is sitting in my digestive tract and muscles, especially if I didn’t train hard that Sunday. I normally eat differently on Saturday than the rest of the week, and the body doesn’t take too kindly to that, delaying the digestive process even more.
Tuesday morning: The scale drops. I don’t look as full. This day is usually a lower carb day, and I’ve expelled most of the carbs I’ve eaten over the last few days.
Wednesday morning: I’m at my second lowest scale weight of the week. Wednesday nights I do a mini refuel. Again, depending on what I eat, I will be up 2-3 pounds the next morning.
Thursday morning: Rest assured, I’m up in weight. Because food volume was not huge, I can expect a decent weight Friday morning. Appearance wise I look less drawn than Wednesday as a result of the increase carbs Wednesday night.
Friday morning: Down from Thursday, but not quite at last Saturday’s weight. No worries, especially if I eat at a decent hour on Friday night and the food is not overly salty.
Saturday morning: I’m usually at the same bodyweight as last week if not a tad bit lower if that was my intent.
Factors in the fluctuation throughout the week:
- Hydration levels
- Carbs in my system
- Overall food volume
- Time of food consumption
- Food irregularities
- Digestive delays
- Exercise throughout the week
Does scale weight measure all of these? Then perhaps we need to place scale weight in perspective.
That’s the bottom line!