Just Getting Started? You May Want to Ditch the Scale
The scale is a great tool for people who are maintaining weight loss. Seeing their weight each day is one way to make sure they're staying on track with their diet and exercise program. However, if you’re just starting a weight loss program, the number on the scale can be deceptive, making you feel that you’re not making progress even when you are.
Unfortunately, the hard work of diet and exercise isn’t always reflected on the scale for new exercisers, especially during the first few weeks. A few things that may happen when you start a weight loss program:
- Delayed results - Most of us need several weeks of diet and exercise before seeing significant changes on the scale.
- Unrealistic expectations – When you work hard at your workouts and diet, you may expect more than your body can deliver, which leads to disappointment.
- Tunnel vision – We get so focused on the scale that it blocks out other things we’re getting out of our workouts. The long-term rewards of exercise aren’t always obvious when you’re a beginner and you forget there are other reasons to exercise and eat healthfully.
Keep it or Ditch it?
Are you discouraged by what you’re seeing on the scale? If so, consider weighing yourself once a month rather than daily or weekly to give your body time to adapt to what you’re doing.
Another option is to shift your focus from the minutiae of weight loss and concentrate on what you actually need to do get there, such as:
- Showing up for your workouts - Set goals based on how many workouts you’ll do each week rather than how much weight you’ll lose.
- Getting to know your body - You can’t lose weight until you exercise consistently and you can’t do that until you build endurance and strength. Take the first few weeks to experiment, condition your body and figure out what you’re capable of.
- Learning how to exercise - If you’re a beginner, there’s a learning curve that may take you awhile to overcome. Give yourself space to learn good form, solid technique and effective methods of training before you put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight.