Before you get married, you have some serious breaking up to do. No, not with your fiancé (are you crazy!?)—with your scale. When setting out on a wedding workout regimen or diet, it’s natural to fixate on a number as it typically serves as a guideline to fit into a certain gown size. In reality, though, the scale can be your worst enemy. Instead of measuring your progress, it can actually be counterproductive. Why?
1. It Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
Blogger Kelsey Wells of My Sweat Life recently proved on her Instagram that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the scale. After beginning a postpartum fitness regime at 145 pounds, she went down to 122 pounds, and then gained 18 more pounds. While the scale tells one story, the pictures tell another. At 140 pounds, her body composition changed drastically, with more muscle and less body fat than she’s ever had before. The takeaway here—the scale doesn’t account for muscle changes, and therefore physical changes. While a pound is a pound, muscle is more dense than fat—so even if you lose body fat, you may not see a huge number change on the scale because you’ve built muscle, too. And if the muscle gain does increase your weight, chances are you look a lot more toned and fit.
2. The Scale Can Lie
Besides the idea that your scale could be unreliable (it happens), consider this: yes, a decrease in a number on the scale shows your weight loss, but it doesn’t tell you if it’s fat loss; it could actually be water loss. Something misleading like this can hinder your progress or contradict how you feel overall, resulting in confusion and stress.
3. Your Weight Fluctuates
Have you ever stepped on the scale in the morning only to step on it at night to realize you’ve gained two pounds? You know you were down four pounds in the past two weeks, and you’re quickly discouraged by this slight uptick in number. Well, perhaps you had too much sodium or drank too much water earlier in the day. Consumption such as this affects your weight in the short-term. Thus, your scale is reading higher than it should be and not reflecting an accurate number. Likewise, you might weigh less after going to the bathroom or immediately after a workout.
4. You’ll Drive Yourself Crazy
Chasing an ideal number is bound to generate disheartening and frustrating feelings. If you know you’ve been eating healthy and sticking to your exercise routine, and feel great, seeing a number you’re not expecting (even when you know the case is probably one of the three listed above) will only demoralize you. Say you have a goal to lose 30 pounds, but you only lost 25. Instead of being proud for achieving that, you’ll more than likely dwell on the fact that you’re still five pounds “too heavy.” Focusing on the positives—like what you see, not what the scale sees—will be more far more motivating and ultimately more successful in the long run. Don’t get caught up in a numbers game— you’re not a statistic.
So, ditch the scale. It reveals very little about your fitness, health, and nutrition. You’ll have better results and a happier process. Remember, a number is just a number. It’s all about how you feel.