You get on the scale and UUGGHH!, Up five pounds!!! What? How?
Your mind quickly goes back in time to scan for possible slip ups. Could it have been that cookie? Was it that day I only took 2000 steps? Ugh, I’m so stupid! Why did I do that?!
Then your brain jumps to the future and formulates a plan. I’m going to eat only vegetables and protein today and get on that exercise bike for an hour, twice today. Time to get back on track!
But wait! Before you race off to burn more calories than you take in, stop for a minute and consider what else the scale might be telling you.
Remember the scale measures everything. It will never give you an accurate measure of your success with what you want from weight loss. It is a general guide, best used for a big picture look at if your body weight is trending upward or downward.
The day to day fluctuation in weight are more likely showing your levels of inflammation; the level of fluid in your body. This is still valuable information, but only if you can calm your brain long enough to consider what has been going on recently that could be causing inflammation.
- Pain: Are your muscles sore? Have you had an injury lately? Pain is inflammation. Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a ‘good sore‘ from exercise. Soreness simply means you have made more work than your body can handle right now, and it is letting you know. There is no gain from pain caused by over-exercising. (except weight gain that is!).
- Sleep: Sleep is when your body heals and repairs and clears inflammation. If you are low on quality sleep your body is not getting enough time for this important task.
- Stress: Whether it is from external stressors, such as a family illness or busy time at work or internal stress like self-criticism and self-doubt, your body responds to real or potential threats by getting ready for a possible injury, and that raises inflammation
- Illness: You could be fighting off an illness or are you just recovering from one. Consider your energy level and other symptoms that may be telling you your immune system is working overtime.
Inflammation plays an essential role in healing and injury repair. It is there to keep your body safe and healthy. When it goes up, it is a sign your body needs more attention. Exercise is a great anti-inflammatory, in the right dose. Excessive exercise could actually make matters worse by giving your body more to recover from rather than helping it with healing and repair. Listen to your body to know how much is enough to reduce inflammation. Several short bouts of exercise at a light intensity spread out throughout your day, done in a way that lowers stress and helps you sleep can be a great tool for helping your body heal and repair.
When your weight is up, pause and consider all the possible reasons and then give your body what it needs to be healthy and well.
Keep Moving, Be Well