The bathroom scale is one of the best tools you can use to lose weight. There are numerous studies that show daily weighing supports weight loss.  Unfortunately, it can also be one of the worst tools too, because the scale LIES. I’ll explain to you why and how the scale lies in this article. You can use Luuze to get the truth out of your bathroom scale.

Unfortunately, the scale lies. It can also tell the truth.

One of the most important things to do to achieve your weight loss goal is to pick a reasonable weight-loss rate. For many people, a reasonable rate is about a pound a week. This is approximately 0.15 pounds a day, or 0.06 kg/day. A pretty small number, but it adds up over time.

How the Scale Lies

The average person eats around three to five pounds a day of food. They also drink around two to three pounds worth of fluid. The average weight a person poops a day (or keeps in their body before they poop) is about a pound. On top of that, the average body can retain approximately five pounds of water weight. This means that there can be upwards of 11-14 pounds of temporary weight that the body can retain! At a weight loss rate of a pound a week, you are looking for a 0.15 pound weight difference from the day before. That number can be totally hidden behind the up to 14 pounds of temporary or transitory weight you have in your body. The variation on the scale (the noise) can literally be 100x greater than the thing you’re trying to measure (fat loss, or the signal)!

I want to repeat this because it’s important: what you are trying to measure (fat loss) is often a lot smaller than the day-to-day weight variation that comes and goes due to water retention, food/fluids in the body, etc. This doesn’t even take into account that if you have a crappy scale, sometimes it will give you a different number even if you step on it again a few seconds later!

The Impact of a Lying Scale

the scale lies - image of scale

Imagine this scenario: Jane starts off the month looking to lose a pound a week. She kicks butt and loses weight at a rate of two pounds a week, 8 pounds for the month. Near the end of the month, she goes to a buffet. She indulges on some salty and carbohydrate-rich foods, which makes her drink additional fluids. She’s also at the point of her menstrual period where she’s retaining a ton of water weight in her body.

Because of the water retention and the food she hasn’t digested, she has accumulated 10 pounds of temporary weight. She weighs herself and sees that she has gained two pounds for the month! She’s worked so hard to lose weight all month, but the scale tells her she’s gained weight. What’s the point of all of this hard work?! She then gives up on weight loss, going back to her old lifestyle, gaining back the weight.

But it’s a lie! It’s 8 pounds or real weight loss, and 10 pounds of temporary weight.

The reality is that if she didn’t give up, the temporary weight would have gone away. A few days later when she weighs herself again, the scale will show her progress.

A Real-Life Example of How the Scale Lies

Although the above scenario is fictitious with exaggerated (but still possible) numbers to drive the point, I saw this on a regular basis during my weight loss journey. I’ll share some real numbers in a chart below:

Andrew's Las Vegas Trip weight tracking chart
A screenshot from the Luuze. Green and red lines are the measurements from the scale. Luuze does math to find the truth through the lies, and gives you a smoothed out “trend weight,” shown with the blue line, that is a more accurate representation of your progress.

In 2016 my scale told me that I weighed 200.6 pounds on November 2. I kept at it and my scale told me that I weighed 194.0 pounds on January 1. A loss of 6.6 pounds for two months is decent progress. On January 2 I then went to Las Vegas for a few days and indulged. On January 6, the scale told me I was 200.8 pounds. This was even higher than the weight I was two months earlier! I would be devastated if I didn’t realize that was largely temporary weight. A four-day trip ruined two months of work?? Thankfully I kept at it and within 10 days I was back at 194.1 pounds. Ten days getting back on track compensated for four days of indulgence. Those four days of indulgence definitely did not set me back two months. A single day of eating rarely does.

The Scale Lies But Also Tells the Truth

There is a smoother blue line that Luuze calculates: your trend weight. Trend weight filters out the noise so you can see your true progress.

weight loss tracking chart showing true progress
The same chart above, but with a focus on the trend weight, calculated by Luuze. You can see that this line is more indicative of the true progress I made.

This smoother blue line showed my true progress throughout November and December. It also didn’t let me off the hook. It did go up at the beginning of January, showing me that I did overeat during my trip to Vegas. The blue trend weight line showed that my trip only led to a real weight gain of around a pound. This was likely a lot closer to reality. It was definitely closer to reality than a gain of seven pounds that my bathroom scale implied. Thinking that I actually gained 7 real pounds of weight during my trip may have led me to the false conclusion that I ruined two months of weight loss progress in four days. The scale lies!

This is why the scale can be your best friend but also your worst enemy. If you use the Luuze to calculate the trend weight instead of reading the scale measurement that can fluctuate like crazy, you’ll be able to use the numbers to give you powerful feedback. This feedback loop will let you know if you are doing great or if you need to adjust.

Luuze can Help Turn Lies to Truth

woman holding a scale

Next time you step on the scale and see a number that is higher than you expect, recognize that if you have been working hard on losing weight, it is likely temporary weight. Better yet, use Luuze and have it calculate your trend weight so you can turn the scale from a machine that lies and frustrates you into a powerful ally in your weight loss journey! Not only can Luuze calculate your trend weight, but it can coach you through the weight fluctuations that inevitably happen throughout everyone’s weight loss journey.

4 thoughts on “The Scale Lies: Don’t Give Up!”

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