People are often times scared of the scale. But you don’t have to be. The scale is but one measuring tool. There are many different ways to determine your level of success when it comes to weight loss and weight management.

The Body Composition Scale
The scale is often times the most widely used measuring tool to monitor your weight. But a traditional scale only tells you your overall weight. A traditional scale does not measure your body composition. It does not tell you what your muscle mass, lean mass, or water mass is. You could be gaining (or losing) weight in different areas other than fat.

It is very common for the scale to fluctuate a few pounds day to day. There are many different factors that can affect your weight. These include how well you slept, what you ate the night before, how well hydrated you are, if you worked out or not, if you are constipated or not, or if you are on your cycle (women). If you weigh yourself on a daily basis and notice the scale going up a few pounds (or down a few pounds), it is good to keep this in mind. Otherwise you can find yourself stressed out with the constant changes.

If you like to use a scale to monitor your weight, I recommend purchasing a scale that measures your body composition. This is a way more accurate measurement of your success. This way you can monitor you lean mass, muscle mass, water mass, and fat mass. When you have those daily fluctuations, this type of scale can tell you were those fluctuations are at (muscle, lean mass, water, or fat). Ideally women should be under 32% body fat, where as men should be under 25%.

Body Inches
Measuring certain body areas is a good way to determine healthy body weight and healthy weight loss.

The waist to hip ratio is a good determination of healthy weight. Visceral fat is more associated with serious health issues like heart attacks, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Having a goal to reduce your abdominal fat (or maintain healthy abdominal fat) can be a more realistic health goal. This can be easily monitored with a tape measure.

For women, your waist to hip ratio should be 0.85 or less. For men, you should be 0.9 or less.

BMI
BMI is my least favorite measuring tool. BMI is just your weight over your height. It is a very inaccurate assessment of healthy weight. This is because someone could have a lot of weight on them due to having a lot of muscle mass on them. Some highly physically fit people are technically overweight according to their BMI. BMI is a good screening tool, but you need to look at the person individually to determine if they are in fact overweight or not. Body composition is a much more accurate assessment of healthy body weight.

Lifestyle
The best way to determine if your weight loss program, or a weight management program, is working for you is by how you feel about yourself. I tell all of my patients that weight loss is just a side benefit. The most important part of embarking on a weight-loss program is actually learning how to eat healthy for a lifetime.

The benefits of a healthy eating lifestyle are many. It literally gives you years to your life. Many of my patients will notice that they can move better, they have less physical pain, they enjoy playing with their kids and grandkids more, they enjoy being active, they feel like they’re a better role model for their children and others, they just don’t sit around on the sidelines anymore, they can tie their shoes easier, they feel like they’re more in control, they enjoy cooking more, they enjoy food more, they feel stronger, and many other wonderful benefits.

Bottom line, you should not be afraid of your scale. Remember the scale is but one tool in measuring your health. If you are eating healthy and are getting regular physical activity, you are on the right path. Enjoy the many benefits of choosing and living a healthy lifestyle. Remember you don’t need to be super skinny and look like a super model. You just need to be healthy and live a long and active energetic life.