Losing fat is about losing fat.  It’s not about losing weight.  The whole process can be emotionally charged so let’s make it easier for ourselves.  Hide the scales.

When our clothes get tight, it’s because we’ve eaten more than we usually do, even though we’ve exercised the same.  The surplus will get stored as fat. Not a judgement, just a fact.  Nothing to feel bad about, just a fact.  Scales measure weight – the sum total of our body…the fat, the bowel, muscle, bone, organs, what you had for dinner last night, everything.  It’s not just the annoying fat bits. So if you’re one of those who gets on the scales every day, and has a meltdown when you’re 0.5kg up on yesterday then understand what that 0.5kg might be.  Perhaps your food was a bit saltier than usual, so there’s more fluid bouncing around your bloodstream.  Maybe your bowel is full.  Maybe you’re in the middle of a hormonal surge.

If you are trying to lose fat then you will need to be in a calorie deficit.  That means you’re eating less than your body needs so it makes up the shortfall from your fat stores.  That deficit is arrived at by eating less than you need and moving your body a bit more, lifting some weights, taking them out of their comfort zone.  In that process your muscles will become denser and therefore possibly heavier.

We need muscle because it holds us up, supports our skeletal structures, keeps us strong and knocking out press-ups whenever the fancy takes us.  Plus dense firm muscle is more metabolically active – it burns more energy for us at rest.   So, to summarise in a primary-school way, we want to keep muscle  but we want shot of the fat.  That’s what everyone means when they say weight-loss (but really they mean fat-loss). . If, for argument’s sake a person gains 3kg of muscle but loses 3kg of fat, the scales will show no difference.  However the difference in that person’s body shape, strength (and ultimately health) will be HUGE. Weight doesn’t show leanness.  It shows weight.  Right now, in January, anyone on a fat-loss plan cares about their clothes not being so tight, not whether your friend can pick them up.    If you’re trying to lose fat, then yes weigh yourself initially but then put the scales in the shed.  Then use a tape measure to measure five or six body parts, follow your chosen get-in-shape plan and gauge your progress by re-measuring.

If you really want to embrace the weighing business with a serious hat on, then weigh yourself every single day, after a wee,  at the same time of day, wearing nothing (or the same clothes).  Record it and then work out an average at the end of the week.  Plot those averages and then look at them at the end of the month and think “Right, I’ve lost 3 kgs in one month….so what?”

Yes exactly, so what?  The evidence is in the tape measure and your clothes.  Don’t be a hopper-on-and-off.  It’ll do your head in.

Annie
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