If you want to lose weight, you might think a scale is essential for the journey. How else will you know if you are succeeding? The problem is that it is very easy to become obsessed with the number on the scale. It can be discouraging if the number does not go down quickly enough. If you don’t see a big change, you might be tempted to skip your workouts or go back to unhealthy eating habits. This is why I recommend throwing the scale in the trash.

Remember, there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. Your weight is comprised of three components: water, fat, and muscle. You want to lose fat, not muscle. Muscle is what your body uses to burn fat. This is why big bodybuilders can eat more food! If you lose muscle, you will lose energy, become weak, and eventually start retaining fat.

Water weight fluctuates a lot. If your sodium intake is too high, you may have a lot of water weight. If you eat a carb heavy diet after eating low carb for a while, you may retain a lot of water. It is possible to step on the scale to see you gained 8 pounds in one day. That doesn’t mean you gained 8 pounds of fat. It is all water! As you rehydrate and eat normally, that number will drop. And when it does, it does not mean that you are losing fat, just water.

This is why we cannot trust the scale. You can gain weight from water retention. You can gain weight from building muscle. Remember, your scale does not know the difference between fat gain, water gain or muscle gain. You may be on the correct path but get sidetracked because you put too much trust in the number on the scale.

The best way to track your progress is through measurements and the mirror. You can take progress pictures to help visually track your changes. Take pictures every 7-10 days in the same clothes. Do you look smaller? Can you see new muscles? Then you are on the right track! Do not change anything. Also, assess how you are feeling. How are you sleeping? How are you doing in the gym? If you are struggling, then you need to reassess your diet and exercise program. Maybe you need to make some changes.

If you absolutely must keep the scale. Use it sparingly. Weigh yourself once or twice a month. This can give you a much better idea of how your weight loss journey is going. Write down the numbers and then forget about them. Instead, focus on all the positive changes you have made and keep going!