Why the Scale is the WORST Way to Measure Your Progress
Updated: Mar 24
I hate the scale. On it's own, I think it's a rather useless measurement. Much like only using BMI to determine your health and wellness, the scale doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't even tell a fraction of the story! But unfortunately, it's the go-to for many. When measuring your progress, most people automatically default to one thing without any thought of (much better) alternatives - the scale.
Today I'm sharing with you the details of why measuring your percent body fat is better than weighing yourself AND the best ways to get this test done!
What is body fat percentage?
Body fat percentage divides the pounds of fat in your body by the total weight of your body. It determines how much of your total weight is coming from body fat.
What is the scale measuring?
The scale ONLY measures your total weight. It doesn't account for lean muscle mass, body fat, skeletal mass, organs, water retention, etc. JUST your total weight.
Why is body fat percentage better?
With traditional weight loss methods such as calorie restriction, it's main focus is weight loss, NOT fat loss. That means in theory you could lose 10 pounds worth of muscle and that's considered a win because you lost a total of 10 pounds off of the scale. In fact, with traditional calorie restriction, muscle loss is often inevitable because you aren't consuming the energy you need in order to maintain your muscles. On the other hand, with Intermittent Fasting and proper Nutrient Timing, you're able to naturally increase your fat burning mechanisms such as growth hormone and reduce storing mechanisms such as insulin so that you can tap into fat burning while ALSO maintaining muscle mass! Pretty cool, huh? 🤓
And as #AENpeeps, you know that we want lean muscle. That's what makes us toned and strong! Instead of focusing solely on weight loss (which includes muscle loss), we want to specifically focus our attentions on reducing body fat percentage, without losing muscle mass.
With increased fat burning and improved muscle repair systems that you can get with IF and proper Nutrient Timing, you can lose fat while also gaining/maintaining muscle! This means that it's completely possible to lose fat while gaining weight (and having it be a GOOD thing!). Not sure how this works? Check out my own personal example below.
How does this work in real life?
Here's a recent example from my own body fat percentage. I recently participated in The Impromptu Intermittent Fasting Challenge with the AEN peeps. I measured my body fat, weight and muscle mass prior to the Challenge (see below). I then measured myself 2.5 weeks later (the following photo).
What you'll see is that my body fat percentage went down by .3% which is EXACTLY what we're aiming for when losing weight! BUT something else to note is that my starting weight was 120.7lbs then it went UP to 121.3lbs. Why did it go up even though I lost body fat percentage?! Because with Intermittent Fasting, you aren't just losing body fat, you're also gaining muscle which can lead to a net zero weight loss or even weight gain (as in my case). That means you can gain weight while losing fat AND improving your body composition ALL AT THE SAME TIME!🤯
You may have experienced this yourself too! Perhaps you feel and look more lean, less bloated and you're losing inches off your waistline while following The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle Protocols, but you haven't lost any weight. As we've seen with my example above, this is totally normal!
If you didn't measure your body fat percentage and you're solely relying on the scale, you may feel like you aren't making any progress even though you're achieving all of these huge milestones! That's why taking your body fat percentage into account is a MUCH more accurate means of assessing your progress.
Make sense?! Great!!
Now, here's how you can do it yourself.
3 ways to measure your body fat
1. inBody Machine (at many gyms):
This is my favorite because it measures your body fat as well as sectional muscle mass! So this not only tells you the fat loss you've achieved, but also the muscle mass you've gained AND where you've gained the muscle (i.e. right arm, trunk, left leg, etc.). Many gyms have this available, just ask the front desk to show you how to use it.
2. Hand held or "scale" option:
These are less accurate and can provide varying results, but it will at least give you an idea of where you're at. Some good options include Omron and the Fitbit Aria 2 scale. You can find both on Amazon.
3. DEXA scan or underwater weighing:
These last two options are much more time consuming and expensive. However, they are highly accurate. You can typically find these types of tests at a University or College. You may even be able to google a location near you that offers this service! Due to the price and inconvenience, I don't recommend it unless you don't have access to the first two options.
Now that you have the tools to measure your progress, you can get started on achieving your wellness dreams with The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle! Increase fat burning mechanisms, repair your muscles and feel GOOD again!
Get started HERE!
Autumn Elle Nutrition