Is The Scale Weighing You Down?

weekly memo

Last week my pilates client said she’s gained 6 pounds.  She feels it’s belly fat and asked if we could do more ab exercises.


In 18 years of teaching pilates I’ve heard this so many times I’ve lost count.  


You can’t spot-treat the body.  It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.  Sit-ups and crunches won’t fix belly fat.  It’s a nutrition issue.


The challenge with weighing yourself is that it doesn’t tell the whole story.  You have no idea how much of the number is lean muscle and how much is body fat.


Time and again I’ve seen women become obsessed with the number on the scale and believe that if they just lose 5 or 10 pounds everything in life will be different.


I worked for a private club that purchased a machine that measures your lean muscle and body fat.  It’s a fantastic tool for really understanding your body composition vs just looking at and obsessing over a number on a scale.


For the past 10 years, I’ve only paid attention to my body composition by using the In Body machine.   I don’t weigh myself.  My body fat has been as low as 22% and as high as 35%.  Two years of gyms being closed in Los Angeles during the pandemic had me trading lean muscle for body fat.


According to the National Institute of Health, women should ideally be between 20-30% body fat and men 12-20% body fat.


Muscle is the fountain of youth.  It’s what will safeguard your independence as you age.  The most common cause of accidental death in people over 65 is a fall-related injury.


I stressed to my client the importance of eating enough protein to help maintain her lean muscle, reducing her stress as much as she can (her husband is going through cancer treatment), and making sure she gets enough sleep.  She takes daily walks and also sees a trainer to incorporate weight training.  


Most of all I asked her to focus less on the number on the scale.  I encouraged her to think more about adding muscle rather than losing weight.


Muscle also helps to balance blood sugar.  It’s where excess glucose can be stored.  If you missed my email about blood sugar you’ll want to go back and read it here.


I hope you’ll think about ditching your scale and instead find out your body composition by either using the In Body machine or getting a DEXA scan which also looks at your bone density.  These tools are far more helpful than a number on the scale.

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