The Bathroom Scale is Bogus

“How much weight have you lost?”

If you’re on a weight loss diet, that is the question everyone want to know.  They want a number!

I’ll give you a number: zero! And I feel great!

Eight weeks ago I started training for a half marathon (13.1 miles or two 10K’s).  I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’ve been running 15 – 20 miles/week and I haven’t lost a single pound.  Nothing, nada, zip, zero, niet.

But I went down a size in pants.

“Huh?” you ask?  Here’s the answer: Fat is less dense than muscle.  When you exchange fat for muscle, you will lose volume, but the weight remains the same. It’s just like having 1 pound (or kilo) of feathers and 1 pound (or kilo) of brick.  You can hold the 1 pound of brick in your hand, whereas the 1 pound of feathers would fill a big bag.

lose weight gain muscle
Exchanging muscle for fat is s slow process.  You can start to see the results in about 4 weeks.  The exchange will continue as long as your calorie intake is less than your energy output and you continue to build and tone muscle with proper regular exercise.  This includes aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, running, rowing, biking etc.) and strength training (lifting weights, sit-ups, push-ups etc.)  You also have to make sure you get enough protein to conserve and build muscle mass.  Average adults need 40-50 g/day (depending on your calorie intake).  If you are trying to eat more plant-based foods, look to foods like beans, tofu, soy yogurt, tempeh, quinoa, and nuts.
Unfortunately, the gains you make will start to reverse starting at 2 weeks of inactivity.  Thus the term “use it or lose it” (the “it” being fitness).

So if you’ve been eating right and exercising properly don’t look to the scale for validation…look in the mirror.

Good luck and stay well!

Categories: diet, exercise, fitness, health, health and fitness, healthy living blogs, weight loss

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12 replies

  1. Thanks for the great reminder and Visual!

  2. This is such a cool article. I love the illustration of that picture. So cool.

  3. And good luck with your half marathon!

  4. I hate the bathroom scale……..The same laws that apply to guns should apply to bathroom scales. A 3 day waiting period before being able to bring one home, a “cooling off” period. 🙂 Perhaps bathroom scales safe’s, just so no innocent person does not accidently steps on one:) you get the idea.

    Signed the Savy Sister’s,

  5. no wonder my weight has gone up since I’ve been exercising…it’s de-motivating but this article was a good reminder of muscle weight.

  6. Too true. We need to focus on what we see in the mirror instead of the readings on the scale.

    • Yes! I am helping my husband try to lose weight and I literally had to remove the battery from the digital scale so he couldn’t get on every day. He would get so depressed if he didn’t lose…even if he felt and looked better.


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