{Nourish} Slave to the scale

November 10, 2012 6:19:26 PM

  -

 

This week marks a very special anniversary. One year ago, upon losing 60 pounds the healthy way, through clean eating and plenty of exercise, I conceived the idea to use my continued weight loss journey to help and inspire others struggling with the same thing, and thus {Nourish} was born.  

 

It started out with a simple Facebook page to post recipes, workout tips, motivation, etc., and then snowballed into {Nourish}, The Commercial Dispatch newspaper column. One year, a gazillion Facebook posts, and 43 columns later, I'm happy to report that I've lost an additional 25 pounds to bring my grand total to 85 pounds.  

 

Now, I know that 25 pounds in a year doesn't seem like very much but you have to understand my body has changed more with these last 25 than it has throughout my entire weight loss journey. Which brings me to my point: The scale doesn't always tell the whole story.  

 

Yes, it is convenient and probably the easiest way to track your progress, but that number on the bathroom scale doesn't account for things like build, fluctuating water retention, muscle mass and where you're storing fat -- visceral fat vs. a little junk in the trunk can be the difference in life or death.  

 

 

 

More to the picture 

 

A scale can't separate your pounds of fat lost and pounds of muscle gained. For example, I bet you anything I've gained at least 15 pounds of muscle since I started lifting weights a year ago. That would mean that I've actually lost 100 pounds of fat instead of the 85 that shows up on the scale. I could kick myself for not getting my body fat measured at my heaviest weight. 

 

Another popular way to measure your weight loss progress is body mass index or BMI. A BMI above 25 means being overweight or even obese. However, the BMI method has its problems. Much like a scale, if you're muscular, it gives you a number that's too high. If you're older, that number could be too low. So for many, it isn't all that accurate. 

 

Lately I've been hearing a lot about the waist-to-hip ratio, or WHR, as an indicator of health. As I mentioned before, visceral fat (fat stored in the abdomen) is pretty scary stuff. Apparently when you carry weight around your middle, as opposed to on your hips and thighs, you could be setting yourself up for some serious health consequences such as an increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes to name a few.  

 

A WHR over 0.8 is considered obese and in the danger zone. So not only is it important to get the number on the scale down into a healthy range and lower your BMI, it's imperative to your health to whittle that waist as well.  

 

It's easy to become a slave to the bathroom scale and get freaked out over an otherwise normal fluctuation or a plateau, but throughout your journey to health remember that there are other ways to measure your progress, even if the scale seems to be stuck -- the way your clothes fit, a smaller waist, and even how great you feel speak volumes and are way more important that hitting that "perfect" number.