By: Anthony Campo
When measuring success of your weight loss plan it is pivotal to know where you are on the sliding scale of your weight. For example, let’s say you started at 200 lbs. That means that based on just hydration alone you most likely fluctuate from 197-203 without even trying. Let’s say you slept well, woke up and took a nice long pee, and then weighed in at 198. Then you drink few glasses of water and are now up to 200 lbs. Then you eat some carbs that day which fill up you glycogen stores and now you are at 202 lbs. For dinner you have a high sodium meal so during the night and into the morning you retain a little more fluid. You wake up and weigh yourself at 201 lbs. You gained 3 lbs. in one day!? Well no, not really. Your water and glycogen levels have just been manipulated.
So let’s now say you have been dieting now for a couple months and now weigh in at 194 lbs. on a given morning. That same morning you have a good bowel movement, and then your friends invites you to go play basketball. It’s 95 degrees outside, and you play your heart out for 2 hours. You get home and barely have time to make it to work so you skip lunch. You come home from work and are so exhausted that you can barely manage a few bites of food and pass out. You wake up the next morning and jump on the scale. You weigh in at 190, holy cow down 4 lbs.! Did you lose 4 lbs. of fat in one day? Nope, you are just completely depleted, and you need to get some nutrients and hydration in your system. So you spend all day eating and drinking, and then come home at night to jump on the scale to see where you are at. It says 195lbs. So you can safely say that most likely your weight is on a sliding scale between 190 and 195 lbs. It is important to note that true fat loss is this quantity takes place over a much longer period of time than a couple days. Therefore, if you experience a few pound weight fluctuation in a 24-48 hour period, this is just weight manipulation NOT fat loss.
So now, if you look at the big picture, your weight has gone down from 197-203 to 190-195. If you compare your high number to high number, and low number to low number you can make the accurate assessment that you have lost about 7-8 lbs. of actual weight in that time period. However, if you did not understand this concept you might be remembering that you weighed 198 that one morning, and 195 after eating and drinking all day a couple months later and make the assessment that you have only lost 3 lbs. overall. You must be smart enough to compare high to highs, and low to lows in order to accurately determine success when trying to positively change your body composition for the long run.
In Part III of his article I will discuss how you can just use the knowledge and understanding of the sliding scale concept in order to properly maintain healthy body weight. By learning the principles of the sliding scale you will be able to engage in “cheat meals” and other activities that are not so conducive to weight loss, yet still maintain your current body composition that you have worked so hard to achieve.