I was reading the Jan/Feb edition of Men’s Health over the Christmas break and one article in particular caught my eye. The article in question was – 04 weeks to psych out weight gain and lose 1.5kg.
The article quotes a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that states that ‘men who weigh themselves daily lose an average of 9.2kg over six months, compared to an average 3.1kg in men who didn’t.’
Now the article begins with Men’s Health repeating their mantra that “scales are pointless, that BMI is a flawed measure of a healthy body composition and the obsession with weight is no way to go about becoming fitter, leaner and stronger”. However they do concede that daily measurement can help you adopt healthy habits and I completely agree with every word of that statement.
Over the last 12 months I have lost over a stone in weight and more importantly reduced my body fat from over 18% to less than 15%. This is not solely down to stepping on the scales every day but I do know that measuring my weight, body fat and body water daily has helped motivate me to improve my lifestyle.
For me, recording my stats is a great way to keep myself on track as I work towards my goal of a healthier body. The key to using daily measurement as motivation is to understand that progress is not going to be a smooth ride. As you can see from the graph below, my weight has fluctuated on a daily basis, but that is ok. The reason I am ok with it is because the overall trend is a positive one.
If you look at each of the graphs, they show positive improvements in my weight, body fat and body water. These three measures do not make up the complete picture of my health but they do help me keep track of my progress.
I enter my stats into the MyFitnessPal app every day. By doing this I have a clear picture of my body composition over a long period of time. That means that if I have a day where I regress I can look back at the advances I have made previously and know it is not the end of the world. Instead of beating myself up and being negative I use it as motivation to make sure my training and nutrition is absolutely spot on for the next couple of days.
Of course on days where I do make improvements it is a lot easier to remain motivated as I can see the results of my hard work and dedication. Seeing the progress I have made reminds me of how far I have come and how much closer I am to my end goal.
Some people might be reading this and completely disagree with me and I can understand their point of view. I am not saying that this is the right approach for everyone or that stepping on the scales daily will magically make you healthier but it has definitely helped me make progress and I would recommend people trying it. The key is to understand that it is your mindset that determines whether you find this approach motivating, not the number on the scales.