A number, not THE number

If you’ve ever gone on a journey to lose or gain some weight then you’ll know it can be all to easily become a compunction to step on the weighing scales every time you walk past it. Almost all of us have one in our house and we need to see if we’re making progress, right?

However, the weight on the scales is just ‘A’ number, it’s not “THE” number. It’s just a single marker of progress but it by no means tells the whole story.

Don’t get me wrong, the scales is a useful tool. However we can become too focused on the number that the scales is telling us which means we also become too focused on whether the scales has moved enough in the right direction or not. If we feel it has moved in the wrong direction it can lead to us becoming disheartened.

Some people might advise stepping on a scale daily and for some people this will work. Personally, I prefer weekly, and ideally stepping on the scale at the same time of day each time you are checking your progress. Why? Well, it can help to give a slightly more consistent piece of the picture. There are lots of different factors at play that will influence whether the scales is showing a higher or lower number than expected so keeping your progress checks to a regular schedule will help to eliminate some of them.

– Did you have a stressful day?

– Did you get a restful nights sleep?

– Did you eat later last night than usual? or maybe eat something different than you normally do?

– Did your body “process” those last few meals in the same way as normal?
Any one, or more of the above can cause a pretty normal fluctuation in body weight. Another reason why that one number doesn’t show the full picture.
The individual numbers don’t matter
In terms of tracking progress and in particular, tracking it using a scale weight we should be looking for trends over time, not just one number. If we mapped out all the numbers over the last 3 months on a graph and drew a line through them Are they trending in the right direction? Sure, there may be a few “blips” that appear above or below our trend line but the direction the line is moving in is the one that shows our actual progress, not the individual numbers.
If you can, use other tools to help you track your progress, body fat measurements, progress photos, tape measurements. These are all are great options. Similar to a scale weight, these will give you point in time pieces of data but combining them all will help to build up a more complete picture of whether you are moving in the right direction.
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