A Weighty Issue
Just about everyone I know has wanted to lose weight at some stage. Weight loss is ingrained in our culture and everyone wants to lose a few kilos before the wedding, to fit in the new dress or to look great for the school reunion. 9 out of every 10 people who see us have weight loss as their number 1 goal. Weight loss is a billion dollar industry and a favourite conversation topic. It is this exposure and emphasis that leads to it being such a popular goal amongst clients. So this begs the question, just how important is a person’s weight?
The simple answer is that it’s not important when taken on its own. The main problem with measuring your weight is that it doesn’t take into account the body composition of the individual. Jumping on the scales doesn’t determine your distribution of body fat, bone and muscle mass. I have seen many people revolutionise their bodies and only lose a minimal amount of weight.
Why does this happen? Well in any good exercise program there should be a combination of cardiovascular and weight training (this includes bodyweight movements such as squats and push-ups). This weight training will lead to an increase in muscle mass, which is essential for boosting your metabolism and reducing your fat mass. Muscles are much denser than fat and can therefore weigh more whilst taking up 1/3 the space. Many footballers with rippling abs and bulging muscles are actually defined as overweight when using some weight guidelines.
If you are seeking to determine the effectiveness of your exercise routine, make sure that you take your body fat % (either from body fat scales or skinfolds), weight and girths. Notice how the latest government health campaign focuses on waist and hip girths rather than weight! In fact, many of our clients are aware of their success when their clothes no longer fit them.
So do not obsess with those damn scales! You might be enhancing your health dramatically with reduced fat mass, decreased waist and hip girths and improved aerobic capacity but not reducing your body weight and that is great!