Who Gives A Shit How Much You Weigh
When a lot of people decide to start improving their health, one of the first things they set as a goal is to lose weight. Honestly though, who cares how much you weigh?! There are many indicators of what a healthy lifestyle is and the body weight number on the scale isn’t the only one. It is also probably not even the most important one for the majority of folks. Calculating your BMI and body fat percentage can only show you a few measurements of your overall health. These should only be used as indicators or guidelines. They are obviously helpful in assisting you in weight management or to aim for a healthy weight but it is a culmination of several healthy eating habits, physical activity, and lifestyle changes to get you feeling and looking your best.
Is Focusing On Weight Loss A Good Idea?
Many times, your weight can be misleading and one of the pitfalls that many fall into. This is especially true when focusing on weight loss or weight gain. Focusing on the weight on a scale can cause many people to get frustrated and quit their goals and aspirations. This usually happens when you are working out, eating less by reducing your calories (or you at least think you are…) and that number on the scale goes nowhere. Does this mean you have not made progress? Hell no!
While reducing weight can be one indicator of improved wellness, it should not be the only measure on which you should focus. You surely shouldn’t stress about it. This is especially true if you are strength training, which we will get into some detail on that below. What are some good measures to contemplate when improving your health?
- Reducing body fat (not weight)
- Increasing muscle mass
- Feeling more energetic and less lethargic
- Being more productive
- Not feeling drained at the end of your workday
- You are in a better mood
You can experience every one of those things above and still not lose a pound. Seriously!
While using the scale to track progress seems like a logical route to take, this can deter advancement toward your goals. When individuals start their journey toward their new fitness ambitions, most will lose weight, at least for the first few weeks. The reason for this is that you begin exercising (burning calories) and reducing your caloric intake (reducing the junk you shove into their mouth). These actions will make weight loss consistent, for at least a few weeks. As time goes on, this usually slows down, and the thoughts that you hit that proverbial roadblock begin.
You start to get discouraged, your motivation drops, you wonder what you are doing wrong, and decide to change things up. You might even wonder if you need a whole new plan. Unfortunately, this ends the progress you were making and you go back to what you were doing before. Why do it if it seems pointless?
So What Is Happening?
There are a few things you must keep in mind; the first being that when you first start, your body does respond to the changes in increased exercise and reduced caloric intake. You are thrilled as those pounds shed off quickly. To be expected, your body does adjust and as you lose weight, your metabolism will slow slightly. However, there could be more going on and no this does not mean drastic changes are needed.
Continue to be consistent and the strides will continue. If you are lifting weights, you are also likely beginning body recomposition. What is this? It is an increase in muscle mass while at the same time a loss in body fat. In many cases, this means a stagnant or a steady normal weight but you are making progress, DON’T STOP!
So What Is Happening?
Muscle takes up about 1/5 the space of fat while being about 30% denser. This is why you may start to see weight level off. It is also easier to know when this is happening by examining how your clothes fit. At this point, what you want to start keeping an eye on is; how do you feel, are energy levels rising, are clothes starting to fit better (this does not always mean looser), and are you getting stronger? You will also likely see other improvements like sleep, increased libido, better focus during the day, hormonal improvements, and the list goes on.
Do You Want Reduced Weight Or Reduced Body Fat?
When people set out on losing weight, what most people really mean is losing body fat. Who wants to lose weight if that means losing muscle? Do this and you’ll become the dreaded “skinny fat.” What is this? It’s where you have reduced your weight but the reduction came from reduced muscle mass and not fat. What most people are looking for is that “toned” look. All this means is more muscular. If this is what you are after, then you have to at least retain muscle but more likely gain it.
Therefore, there is likely no reason to be worried about it, you will not get huge. Unless you let loose on your nutrition plan, this isn’t going to happen. Getting huge is done by building muscle and gaining fat at the same time. You need to be in a caloric surplus and hit the wieghts hard for this to happen. The fact is, it takes a long time to get huge and likely some performance enhancers to get to the point where you think you should be concerned. For women, about 20-25 pounds of muscle is a ceiling on lifetime muscle gain, naturally.
What Is Huge?
Believe it or not, it takes a whole bunch more muscle than 20 pounds to get huge. It also takes years, not 3 weeks. Look at me for an example. I have been lifting for 30 years and although I don’t lift as I did in my 20’s, I am relatively the same size but leaner. I have gained about ~40 pounds of muscle and I am by no means massive. If you can get huge in 3 weeks, you would have every bodybuilder out there paying for your secrets. So don’t be afraid of lifting some weights!
Go look up some strength training men and women, natural ones, to see what they look like and you might just find that was what you were looking for from the start.
Remember, you are changing your lifestyle not completing a short-term “Once I lose 8 pounds I’m done” challenge. This is your life you are changing, for the better, so don’t let some stupid number on a scale determine your success or tell you if you are hitting milestones or not.
Who gives a shit how much you weigh!