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Do you find yourself frustrated standing on the scale and not seeing what you are hoping for? First, let’s say you’re not alone! But let’s spin it to say that a scale is a tool -- a tool for data. That’s it. That’s all. Every morning when you get on it, it gives you a number - right? What does that number mean to you, do you know?
The scale doesn’t take a dive into any key metrics that can determine your body composition.
Let’s dig into the science and let’s discuss what your body “weight” is composed of.
Your body is composed of three main components: fat, lean body mass (muscle, bone, and organs), and water.
The percentages of each vary from person to person, and by gender (men have more muscle; women more fat) and age (in general, as we age we have less muscle mass).
For water: The ideal percentage for adult women will fluctuate between 45 and 60%, while the ideal percentage for adult men will be between 50 and 65% of the total body.
For Fat, body composition percentages are broken down as follows:
Essential fat is 10-13%
What is considered “Athletes” fall in the 14-20% range
what is considered “Fitness” is 21-24% range
and the “Acceptable” range is 25-31%
Source: American Council on Exercise
What is Lean Body Mass?
Lean Body Mass includes the weight of:
Weight fluctuation varies from person to person. A glance at any weight loss forum will show people fluctuating 2 to 4 lbs. per day all the way up to 10lbs per day. There are so many factors that can influence an increase in body weight, a few of which include:
The bottom line is that your weight will fluctuate, regardless of what you do. Determine how much your own body fluctuates and then avoid constantly weighing yourself.
If you are using a scale- do keep in mind the importance of consistency. To accurately track the amount of weight that you are losing, it's best to weigh yourself at the same time (preferably in the morning) every week, on the exact same day of the week - wearing the exact same thing (birthday suit works best! ;p) and on the same scale. Write down the number, and at the end of four weeks, calculate the average of these numbers. Subtract that from your starting weight, and you'll get a very precise measure of how much progress you've made.
Don't avoid the scale altogether. It's important to note that weighing yourself regularly doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing. Stepping on a scale gives you a sense of accountability towards your actions! Use it as a data point, but don’t let it get into your head!
Consistency is your friend not only on using the scale properly but also with your nutrition plan. If your goal is to lose weight, being consistent with your nutrition plan will work! But you have to give it a chance to, changing your plan, or your diet up too frequently will not allow your body to adjust to the initial changes you have made. Making sure you have adequate macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) will help you be successful. Too little or too much will hinder your progress, you have to find the sweet spot that works for your body.
If your goal is to gain muscle and lose fat, this is called body recomposition (note the term recomposition, you're exchanging fat for muscle). You may see only small changes in weight initially and this is okay!!! But you will see MORE changes physically (muscle tone and strength) and through your fitness progress ie: you can run faster, further or you can lift more and continue to hit personal bests.
Enter the In-Body scan, offered at Like Water:
The In-Body Scan is similar to standing on your scale, EXCEPT you get all of the details of what your body composition is. It will tell you all of the key components listed above: muscle mass, body fat, and how much water your body contains at that time. It gives you the metrics you need to see how your body is changing and can track that over time. It provides valuable feedback that can help your nutrition coach dial in your next steps in your nutrition journey.
The scale provides a good data point, but it is not the end all be all of telling you how you are doing. So don’t let it make you feel that way! It provides you with a measure of accountability but it's not always about weight going up or down, but rather what are the components of that, what are the other metrics you are seeing?
Questions, we can help! Send us a message if you would like to chat more!
Our next nutrition class will be starting as soon as we get the green light to open back up! Check out the Like Water Crossfit store here to sign up!