Why The Scale Isn’t The Best Measurement For Health

Have you fully committed to your health journey only to feel like your hard work hasn’t been reflected by the number on your scale?

Does that number cause you anxiety or a sense of defeat?

You’re not alone.

It’s been ingrained in our brains from an early age that the number on the scale is a direct reflection of our health. And thanks to social media, movies, and the other endless sources of beauty standards, we’ve been taught to think that the lower the number on the scale, the better.

But the scale, including the BMI scale, is NOT an accurate measurement for our health.

Here’s why.


The BMI Scale

The BMI scale was originally created by a mathematician and was used to measure obesity in the general European population. Therefore, it was not meant to take into consideration the individual.

For example, a study in 2004 showed that Asian people have a higher cardiovascular disease risk in the “normal” category of the BMI scale and a 2020 study by Stanford University showed that the “healthy” standard for Black women was higher than the chart predicts.

This clearly shows that the BMI is not a one size fits all approach and misses the mark when dealing with ethnicity, sex, race and even fat distribution such as visceral fat vs butt and thigh fat.

Unlike butt and thigh fat, visceral fat (belly fat) has been associated with cardiovascular disease.


Your weight fluctuates and that’s completely normal in a healthy person

Your weight can fluctuate daily due to a handful of reasons.

Drink eight 8oz glasses of water and the number on the scale goes up. Forget to drink water and the number goes down.

We all know that dehydration is not healthy. In fact, your body may try to retain water when it becomes dehydrated.

Another way the scale can fluctuate is through our digestive processes. If you’re constipated, you may see the number on the scale increase and try to take supplements to remedy the situation. But your body is telling you something when you aren’t going to the washroom regularly. You may not be eating enough fiber or drinking enough water OR it may be an issue with your thyroid.

Slapping a band-aid on constipation to help the number on the scale could put you at risk for more serious problems down the road.


Muscle is more dense than fat

When you start a new workout routine or you begin more weight training- you may see the number go up on the scale rather than down. This is normal because muscle tissue is denser than fat.

So, if you’ve noticed your weight increasing while training your body and eating healthily, chances are you’re gaining muscle. Welcome it!

The number on the scale doesn’t mean healthy

There are a lot of fad diets out there that focus on calorie consumption instead of nutrient consumption.

And while this may lead to weight loss, it doesn’t lead to better health.

In fact, up to 95% of diets fail, meaning most people gain back all or more of the weight they lost while restricting themselves.

Food is not your enemy, it’s fuel. Shift your mindset and allow yourself to eat a balanced diet that incorporates all of the nutrients and macros you need – like protein, carbs, and healthy fats. You’ll feel better, stronger, and will kiss diets goodbye forever.

So, what are other options for measuring health besides the scale?


Track your progress with a measuring tape

 If you’re still interested in keeping an eye on your progress, use a measuring tape to track the difference in your body composition. You may not be losing pounds, but if you’re exercising and eating a healthy, balanced diet, chances are you’ll be losing inches around areas like your waist. Weight loss in the abdomen can drastically reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Notice how your clothes fit

 There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling good in your clothes again. Use an old pair of jeans to determine your progress.

Feel the difference in your body

 The point of healthy living all comes down to how great it makes you feel. Do you feel stronger? Do you have more energy? Less heartburn and fatigue?

If you’re consciously working towards a healthy lifestyle and can feel some of these changes in your body, forget what the scale says. You’re doing great.

Check your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and triglycerides

 At the end of the day, the outside isn’t always a direct reflection of the inside. Even if the number on the scale makes you happy- it doesn’t automatically mean that you are healthy.

Make sure you are going for your annual physical and checking the above measurements to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.


Finally, remember your self-worth isn’t tied to a number on a scale

You are so much more than your weight. Don’t forget that.

If you need to lose weight based on your risk of disease- focus on eating healthy, exercising and community and use the alternative examples above to measure your progress.

Too many times women get caught up on a number on the scale. But that number doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to real health.


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