I’d like to set you a challenge for this year – Ditch the scales!
There are many reasons why athletic performance can’t be measured by the numbers on a scale. I avoid weighing athletes in my day to day work as a Sports Dietitian and these are the reasons why.
- By weighing yourself your confusing weight loss with fat loss. The key for many athletes is to preserve lean muscle mass and reduce fat mass. This can only be measured accurately by taking body composition measurements.
- Weight can fluctuate by 3-6lbs each day due to things like water retention, hormonal changes, constipation. Athletes are prone to weight fluctuations due to changes in hydration status as well as sweat losses.
- Scales also cause irrational behaviour. The number on the scales can affect your mood and outlook for the rest of the day. I see many athletes weighing themselves daily and becoming almost obsessed with the numbers rather than focusing on how they feel.
- Weight is also about acceptance – just because you weighed a certain weight in your 20’s or 30’s doesn’t mean that this was a healthy weight or that it is now a suitable weight for your age, metabolic health and performance goals. Accept that that was then, this is now and the key is health, well being and performance.
So if you ditch the scales, how can you track your weight?
Simple – go by how you feel, look and perform – a strong, healthy lean body is the goal and this can be achieved regardless of the number on the scales.
Alternatively ask your Sports Dietitian / coach or physical trainer to undertake baseline body composition measures and have these re-done every 6-8 weeks to track changes in your lean muscle mass, fat mass and bone density.
Go on take up the challenge!