Pound Foolish

I’ve been dieting (low carb) fairly aggressively for the past month.

Lately I’ve been frustrated by my lack of progress as measured by my scale. It reported that I lost about eight pounds fairly quickly, and then stayed within three or four pound of that for the next several weeks.

This morning I got on the scale and it registered a gain of about forty pounds over yesterday’s weight! I laughed and was happy about it. It reminded me of what a mistake it had been to rely on weight to measure my progress. Weight is a very loose proxy for fitness. If I lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 5 pounds of muscle, I’ve done much better than if I lose 15 pounds of fat and also lose 5 pounds of muscle. But, the scale would report that the latter scenario was more successful.

Of course, I knew this already. It’s just that measuring weight is easy, so many of us fall into the trap using weight-loss to measure our fitness success. It’s like looking in the wrong place for a lost item because that’s where the lighting is better.

But, I don’t need fancy equipment to notice that my clothes are fitting more loosly, my energy is increasing, my face looks a little less round, etc. I knew I was making progress, but I still let that stupid number frustrate me.

Of course, I’m still going to get a new scale. But, I won’t use it as the primary indicator of my fitness.


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