Throw away those scales, Cumbernauld!
Written by John Allan.
Published at 01:37 GMT on Monday 4th February, 2013.
FITNESS expert John Allan urges Cumbernauld residents fighting to get in shape to throw away the scales, in another blog for Cumbernauld Media. 

As a former fat person my day would be dictated by the number on the scales. We are brainwashed into thinking the scales are the be all and end all.

I was caught up the endless cycle of getting up in the morning, going into the bathroom and using the facilities before standing on the scales. After all,  you have to rid the body of  anything you can before weighing yourself, right?

I was either left shaking my head in disbelief or being extremely smug because I lost a pound.

When my working day was finished I would jump on the scales again, pre-shower, after once again using the facilities.....normally I'd be heavier than in the morning. What was I expecting?

I would even see myself getting up through the night to answer a call of nature only to  once more stand and be insulted by those confounded scales.

Does any of that ring a bell with you? 

I bet it does.

The thing is I have since learned that the scales were misleading me completely. A lot of heartache could've been avoided if only I knew then what I did now.

The scales don't give you the whole story. They only tell you how much your total body weighs. That's bones, muscle, fat, water, blood, organs, what is in your stomach, what has left your stomach and is in get the gist?

I'm sure you've heard of Usain Bolt, the fastest man on two legs. Well according to the recognised yardstick for determining whether a person is the correct weight for their height or not, the Body Mass Index (BMI) would have Mr. Bolt categorised as obese!

The problem is that the BMI only works on total weight giving no thought as to how that weight is composed. The man is pure muscle, with very little fat on his body. He is most definitely NOT unhealthy and is extremely fit.

Did you realise that muscle is the only thing in the human body capable of burning body fat? The more muscle you have the less fat and vice versa.

This is the problem with the bathroom scales, it doesn't allow for body composition. It just gives a total figure.

Let's say you want to lose 'weight'. Now I've put weight in inverted commas because it's really body fat you want lose. So you clean up your diet, and start to exercise. You eat really well and do all the right kind of exercise for fat loss. Jump on the scales and you may find you are exactly the same weight. (I'll tell you next week what the wrong sort of exercise is)

Here's what's happened.

Your fat loss has been matched in muscle gain cancelling each other out. You may feel frustrated, but I can guarantee your body shape will have started to change.

I can hear all the females reading this and saying 'I don't want to build muscle and bulk up.'  Believe me you won't. It is pretty much a full time job to build up your body, become bulky, and it's hard enough for a man to do, who has the correct hormones to do it. That's another article for another day though.

Don't be like I was and lead your life by being dictated to by those pesky scales. Do yourself a favour and throw them out.

Instead, go by how you look and feel. If you eat the correct foods, and by that I'm not talking about going on a 'diet' which frankly, conjures images of restriction, calorie counting and weighing every morsel you will put in your mouth, which is totally needless by the way, you will find your energy levels will soar. 

Tie that together with the correct type of exercise and your body shape will change. In the past when I 'dieted', I would simply become a smaller version of a fat me. I was still fat in the places I was always fat in.

Let me ask you this; if you could have the body of your dreams, I mean the exact body, the exact clothes size, you look and feel amazing you would go for it, wouldn't you?

In a heartbeat!!

What if though, as a side effect, due to the fact you have strengthened and thickened your bones as well as your muscles your weight had increased, you are heavier than you ever were, would the number on the scale make you want to be lighter?

Sure you could be lighter, but your body composition would mean you are a couple of dress sizes away from where you want to be and you don't look and feel confident. In fact you have just become a smaller version of a 'fat you' like I had become. 

How you look and feel is far more important than the reading on the scales. If you lose 5lbs fat and gain 5lbs of muscle you will look as if you have lost 10lbs at least but the scales will not have budged.

Time to put the scales away.

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong.
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