Ditch the scale; 4 reasons weight alone is a poor predictor of overall health

This post has been inspired by several clients who seem to be a slave to the scale. For many generations people have followed the idea that as long as the numbers on the scale remained within a certain range they were “healthy”.  Although maintaining a healthy weight does have its place among anthropometric to be considered in health, the scale does not tell the whole story! It’s good to use the scale to monitor whether or not you are maintaining a healthy weight range, but if you are someone who uses the scale on a daily basis you must stop. Your body weight can fluctuate by as much as 3-4lb overnight, so weighing yourself daily can defeat the purpose. Instead of encouraging you to remain consistent with healthy eating and regular physical activity you may begin to feel like you are not seeing any changes and therefore this type of monitoring could result in a downward spiral.  Habitual scale users begin to see drastic changes in mood and motivation when they do not witness significant changes on the scale, which over time can result in frustration and in some cases depression. Not only is obsessive scale use an unhealthy behavior, but if you have children who may witness this behavior it could spell unhealthy weight issues for them in the future. Weighing in once a week at the most would be enough to monitor what’s going on. When you weigh yourself try to do it at the same time of day on the same scale  without clothing if possible, to insure consistency.

Remember the number on the scale is an indication of your total body weight, but does not take in to account the percentage of body fat or muscle you are currently carrying. Your body composition (muscle vs. fat) is the true indicator of whether or not you are at risk for chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. If you are carrying access weight in the form of fat your risks greatly increase, as opposed to an athlete who may weigh more on the scale, however their body is comprised in large part of  muscle. There are many individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle and their weight is in a healthy range, however their body fat percentage is on the high side thus increasing their risk for disease. The bottom line is, the scale is a lousy indication of your overall health. In order to maintain a healthy weight that consists of more muscle and less fat, proper nutrition and regular exercise  including strength training, are the only options. Our bodies were designed to move and to process plant and protein based diets for fuel, not the highly processed sugar filled foods that line the shelves in our grocery store today. By getting back to basics you can be well on your way to a long, healthy life and not a slave to your bathroom scale.

The 4 reasons that weight alone is a poor predictor of overall health include…

  • The # on the scale does not tell the whole story
  • obsessing over your weight can have a negative impact on your goals
  • Weight alone is not an indication of your risk for chronic disease
  • An unhealthy relationship with your scale can set a poor example for children
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