Tag Archives: scale

Human Behavior is NOT LINEAR!


If you flip the direction of these arrows to point downward, this is how sustainable weight loss really happens.  Why?  Because success (the human factor) is a wiggly line too.  We are wiggly creatures.

Just as one could feel quite discouraged and unsuccessful at a low point on the wiggly graph above, a person can also feel that weight is not coming off when the scale measures higher than expected – “It’s not working!”   Anyone who has weighed themselves on an “upward wiggle” day knows what I mean!

Remember (I know I sound repetitive) . . . you are weighing more than your fat stores.  Your fat stores are your measure of stored energy.  They do not vary much from day to day.  Your fluid stores are much more “wiggly” and can vary by pounds each day.  They do not store energy.  Water has no calories, so fluctuations mean NOTHING relative to fat storage.

The real problem results from reactions to what we see.  Then behaviors can be dramatically altered.  If the scale is higher than expected, people will often assume it’s not working, so what the heck?! . . . “hey, that cheesecake looks  pretty good . . . it doesn’t matter anyway”.

Good advice:  Watch overall changes (trends) and don’t pay too much attention to little short-term fluctuations.

Body Weight + Water Consumed = Body Weight + Weight of the Water Consumed

It doesn’t matter how many times I say this.  It is not always obvious that the weight of what you put into your body will increase you weight by that same amount.  If you weigh yourself after drinking a 1 pound (16-ounce) bottle of water, guess what?  You will weigh 1 pound more than you did before you drank it.

One of my group members needed to prove this for herself.  At the end of our meeting, after finishing her water bottle, she stepped on the scale and . . . her weight had increased by the weight of the water she drank during our time together.  Even after hearing the logic, she still needed to see it.  When she did, she was still surprised.  We had a good laugh, and it made an impression.

This is important to remember.  It is not that I want everyone to make sure they don’t eat or drink anything for hours before they weigh in.  I just want them to UNDERSTAND what is being weighed on the scale.  Yes, it weighs your fat stores, but it also weighs your fluids, any food that has not yet finished the digestive process, clothes, glasses, watches, . . .

Body weight “wiggles”.  It drives many people crazy.  If you cannot stand the wiggle, please don’t weigh yourself too often.  Even though I have hopefully convinced you that weight does normally wiggle, many people will still be emotionally affected by the number.  It is just so darned . . . hmm . . . factual.  But what is the “fact”?  All it really means is that you weigh that number at that time, with those clothes, after a certain amount of time since you last ate or drank, etc.

There are lots of things that wiggle more than  the weight of your fat stores, and all of those things will make it more difficult to see what your fat stores are actually doing.  Over time the trend will make sense.  If you improve your habits over time, the wiggle will simply wiggle at a lower weight range.

Sorry, black and white thinkers.  I know this is a difficult concept for you!

We make keys – that work!

I saw this sign on a hardware store window today.  I was driving to a presentation, or I would have taken a picture.  It made me laugh at first, and then it reminded me of something that was shared in one of my groups recently.

Let’s get rid of magical thinking!

It was about magic.  Some people think weight loss happens magically.  One day the scale is up, the next it’s down, and the wavering seems to have nothing to do with their effort.  That’s wonderful when 4 or 5 pounds just disappear, as if the Weight Loss Fairy made a sweep with her magic wand, and POOF! . . . the scale goes down so effortlessly.

Unfortunately the magic giveth and the magic taketh away.  The same can – and does – happen in reverse.  How aggravating when you follow all the rules and the scale goes UP! Continue reading