Your Scale is Not an Instant Read Thermometer

That brownie you ate last night is not what caused the extra two pounds on the scale this morning. I promise you that the brownie did not actually WEIGH two pounds, nor did it transform its calorie load into two pounds of fat in some sort of marathon fat-creating session overnight. Nope. Those two pounds could have come from a whole host of things, but the brownie was not one of them.

If I had a dollar for every client who said to me, “Well, I was up a pound this morning but if I hadn’t had that candy bar last night I’m sure I would be fine,” I’d be a wealthy, wealthy woman. For some reason, our girl brains want to create a direct cause and effect between what we ate an hour ago and what the scale says right now. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Gaining a pound of fat requires you to consume 3500 calories more than you’ve burned. That’s about ten brownies, for perspective. I generally tell people to weigh themselves no more than once a week…and to look for trends in their body weight. A very normal week to week fluctuation might be +1, -2, +2, -1. Note this pattern actually maintains your weight over the course of the month. Conversely, if you start to see plus signs on your chart for too many weeks in a row, it’s time to examine what you are eating and make some changes. What the scale says the morning after an indulgence is far less important that the pattern you observe over time.

So please, don’t jump on the scale each morning looking for your reward or punishment for yesterday’s food choices – you won’t really see the effects show up for about 3 days when those calories have either been burned or converted into stored fat. It’s a scale, not an instant-read thermometer. And remember that what scales like most of all is balance…so look for yours!

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