The scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy. That number seems to define women and it can be a stigmatizing experience to see a number you do not like or have not seen in a while. You never ask a woman what she weighs and with good reason as most do not like the number they see and do not wish to share it with anybody (even their best friend). But are all these weigh-ins worth the aggravation? Is weight a true measure of how you look, feel or how fit you are? The answer is no.

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What Your Weight Really Means?

Your weight is a combination of many different things—muscle, fat, bones, skin, etc. So that number you see is a reflection of all of those things put together. What the scale does not tell you is how much of that grand total is muscle, fat, bones and skin. A six foot woman who weighs 130 pounds obviously does not have a lot of fat, but it would be safe to say that she probably does not have much muscle either. If you look at many professional female athletes, they have bigger scale numbers, but much of it is muscle and not fat. So when you see that number on the scale, you need to realize that it does not necessarily mean you are overweight.

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Muscle vs. Fat

You no doubt have heard that muscle weighs more than fat but there is more to it than that. Muscle is more dense (18% more) than fat so it takes up less space on your body than fat. That density means it will weigh a bit more if you compare the same amount of muscle to the same amount of fat. Ideally, you want to lose body fat while gaining lean muscle mass.

Weight Will Vary

Have you ever weighed yourself multiple times in one day and discovered that each time you did, the weight was always different? It is common to have your weight go up and down a few pounds from day to day and even in the same day. Many factors affect your weight including what you ate and/or drank (some foods and drinks will make you retain water and/or leave you bloated), hormonal fluctuations (your monthly visitor can be a weigh-in nightmare), too much salt in your diet, too many carbohydrates or highly processed foods, and the time of day you weigh yourself.

All of these will have an impact on what the scale says. However, it is normal to have your weight go up and down two to three pounds so there is no need to drive yourself crazy if you see those numbers moving a bit. As long as you do not see it going drastically up or down, there is no need to worry.

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Tips on Weigh-Ins

The first thing you should do is not weigh yourself every day. This often leads to obsessing over a number that does not give you all the information when it comes to your health. If you do feel the need to weigh yourself daily, always make sure you do it the same time every day—preferably first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. You will at least have consistency when it comes to your weight. Since most of us weigh more in the evening, it does not make sense to weigh yourself on some mornings, some evenings, etc.

Finally, rather than looking to the scale, try going by how your clothes fit. Are your pants looser? Do you have more bicep coming out of your cap sleeves? Does your halter top make your delts pop more? These are true indicators of weight with regards to losing fat and gaining muscle. Your focus should be less on a trivial number and more about how you look and feel. If you know you are sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly, then there is no need to fret over the scale. In fact, if you tossed it out the window, you may be better off entirely by giving yourself one less thing to worry about each day.