August 21, 2008

You can't trust the scale

Weight is just a number. I have learned that that is really true from my experience this weekend. I had to make a visit to urgent care on Sunday because I woke up with pink eye (I had a really eventful weekend!).

Well, as they always do at the doctor's office they weigh you. If you might recall, I was just at my doctor's office last week and I mentioned that I lost a few pounds from my last doctor's visit, which was a nice little bonus. Well, when I was weighed on Sunday morning (at a different doctor's office since this was urgent care) I was 6 pound less. Now that is great, but it is highly unlikely that I lost 6 pounds in the span of 3 days. Not to mention that it is not healthy to lose weight that quickly. Interestingly, I had weighed myself at home that same morning and my scale has me weighing in the middle of the two scales (3 pounds less than Thursday's weigh in and 3 pounds more than urgent care). It just goes to show you that you can't always trust the scale. Not all scales are created equally.

At some point, we all obsess about weight. There are so many weight loss products on the market and our nation is so focused on weight. This experience helped me realize that weight is just a single number and although it is unhealthy to be overweight and obese, we really should not obsess with the number on the scale.

Weight is not the only health and fitness measure.

Weight is only one number and should not be the only measure of health and fitness especially since we see in my experience how inaccurate it can be depending on the scale you are using (you would think doctors offices would have calibrated scales). There are also many factors that weight does not take into account such as height, gender, and muscle mass. Unfortunately, women have a higher percentage of body fat than men on average, so weight can vary among women and men of the same height. Muscle mass should also be considered. Sometimes when you first begin to exercise, you may gain some weight or remain the same when in fact you are losing fat. Some people often experience their clothes feeling looser but the scale not budging. That can often be discouraging but it is important to realize that you are losing fat and the lack of weight loss may be due to increased muscle mass or water weight.

Weight is not the only gauge of health and fitness and should not be used as the only measure. Other measures include BMI, inches lost, body fat percentage, heart rate, strength, exercise levels, blood pressure, etc. It is so important to look at other measurements of health and fitness as well. We are not one dimensional beings and we shouldn't look at health as a one dimensional factor that is measure by a single number. We are multi-dimensional and so we should look at our health in that same way.

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I have to remind myself about this, time and again.