Monday, October 6, 2008

Let Me Count the Weighs

Weighing yourself on your bathroom scale every morning isn't the only indicator of how you are coming along on your quest for achieving and maintaining your ideal body weight. There are other ways you can measure your progress, and a few things to keep in mind that the scale doesn't tell you. Here's a list of things to know when you are tracking your weight loss:

1. The scale does not tell you that your weight includes the two glasses of water you just drank (which actually weigh exactly one pound). Try to weigh yourself at the same time every day: for instance, first thing in the morning.
2. The scale does not remind you that you were naked yesterday when you weighed yourself and this morning you are wearing flannel pajamas which weigh exactly 1.5 pounds. Remember to wear the same type of clothing each time you weigh yourself.
3. A typical bathroom scale does not differentiate between water weight, fat weight, and muscle weight. How are you to know when you are a few pounds down that you are not just dehydrated? If you are a few pounds up that it might be water retention because you had a high sodium meal of chinese food yesterday evening? The answer ... a special scale that measures your body composition. There are several brands and types of these scales. See the website of a company called Tanita for one brand of scale and an explanation of how this works. No more guessing about whether you've put on muscle or fat!
4. BMI is another measurement that shows you how close you are moving to a healthy weight. Go here to calculate what yours is, and see how close you are to a healthy weight. A great goal is to move out of the 'obese' and into the 'overweight' numbers, or out of the 'overweight' range and into the 'healthy' range. This gives you an idea of how realistic your weight goal is and how meaningful it can be.
5. Waist circumference is another way to assess your progress towards a healthy body weight. Current recommendations from national health organizations determine at what waist measurement men and women suffer from increased risk of chronic diseases.
Go here for information on waist circumference

Using more than one measurement can give you a better view of how you are doing when you feel like things aren't moving quickly enough. Keep in mind that every week you are moving toward a healthier you. Keep heading in the right direction and don't worry so much about how long it takes. As long as you are eating better this week than last week, better this month than last month, you are successful!

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