The Scale Of Things

How much do you weigh, and why?

For too many people, scale weight means so much more. Our emotions get involved. Certain numbers make us happy, others make us feel awful.

The scale is so misunderstood that the device itself becomes another source for our emotional and psychological struggles with our transformation goals. The numbers the scale reports turn into another reason why we have a hard time sticking to a plan. Why? Because we trust in the scale so much that it blinds us from success and can lead us down a trail of endless frustration.

It shouldn’t be this way—and not just because it’s unhealthy and counterproductive. Obsessing over weight is foolish because we are being fooled by the number itself.When people attempt to change their physique and don’t see kilograms dropping on the scale each week, they tend to get discouraged, even if they get positive feedback from friends, colleagues, or see progress during workouts, a drop in clothing size or a leaner image in the mirror.

This discouragement is based on the flaw of thinking that they must be losing weight in order to change their body composition.

Most people starting out on a body transformation are often not aware of, or  forget about the fact that muscle, fat, bone, and water all play an important part in that number they see on the scale each week.

The weight you see on the scale is so much more than just fat.

What Is Body Composition?

Based on your fitness level, your weight comes from:

  • Muscle: 30-55% of body weight
  • Fat: 10-30% of body weight
  • Water (not in muscle or fat): 10-25%
  • Bone: 15% of body weight
  • Organs, other tissues: 10-15%


The more you know about different variables (for example, how much water you’re retaining, and how big your muscles are), the more accurately you can determine the amount of excess fat you have hanging around.

Having your body fat % assessed is a more reliable way of determining your progress – especially since you can do it without a scale


Muscle weighs more than fat.

Although the above statement is not an accurate way of putting it, muscle is denser than fat in volume.

A lean person with more muscle might weight more than somebody who’s not so lean, because muscle is denser than fat (like iron is denser than water).

Your muscle accounts for about 30-55% of your body weight and a kilogram of muscle will be about 4 times smaller than a kilogram of fat.

Make sure never to confuse “weight loss” with “fat loss” if you’re building muscle at the same time. This is “re-composition,” and requires slightly more complicated measurements to accurately assess your fitness (like body fat %).

Water Weight

“Water weight” is a buzz phrase thrown around any time body weight is mentioned. Your body is made of about 50-65% water, so water certainly does account for a large portion of your weight. Certain food allergens can cause water retention that would affect your weigh and the way you look and feel.

You can drop a few kilograms quickly by losing water weight. In order to make a lasting impact on the water weight your body is retaining unnecessarily, reduce the amount of salt in your diet and increase your water intake so that your body is more likely to release its excess fluid.

 Also Read: Foods That Cause Inflammation & 13 Ways To Lose Water Weight

 How fat affects Your Overall Weight

The amount of body fat on an individual can vary drastically from person to person. One individual may have a body fat percentage of 8%, while another may find themselves over 50%.

Body fat has less density than muscle and bone. It also burns fewer calories at rest than muscle does. A kilograms of muscle burns around 12 calories per day, whereas a kilo grams of fat only burns about 4 calories per day.

Muscle burns fat while you’re doing nothing, think about that!

If you want to lose weight quickly, by all means focus on a fat burning program.

If you want to set your body up to have a higher resting metabolism and burn passively on a regular basis, condition your body for strength training, and exercise regularly.

There are many ways to build muscle without weights, but at some point, if you really want to focus on building muscle, you will need to add extra resistance or get creative.

One of the best ways to get in shape is to join a gym and hire a personal trainer; they have the knowledge and experience to help you attain your fitness and body transformation goals.

Does Bone Play A Role In Body Weight?

Your bones account for about 15% of your total body weight. If you carry a lot of weight on your frame, odds are that your bones are bigger and stronger than someone with less weight and a smaller frame.

Strong bones are a good thing. They help prevent osteoporosis and enable you to move through your daily activities without difficulties. They are also great tools to help pack on muscle and keep off excess fat!

Also Read: Other Factors That Influence Scale Weight

The Fallacy of Measuring Body Weight Only

As you can see, body weight is affected by many factors. If you eat too much salt one day, your body weight the next day could be off; if you gain muscle and lose fat over the course of a month, you may see your body weight rise, even though you look better in the mirror.

Tracking body weight is a useful measure only if someone knows how their weight is being affected.

For example, measure your body fat percentage and weight each week over the course of a month. You might notice that, although your body fat percentage has stayed the same, your weight has gone up. If you aren’t bloated with water weight, this is a good general indicator that you are building muscle.

If you aren’t able to consistently monitor things like your body fat percentage, it may be helpful to pay attention to specifically measurable aspects of your workouts. Record the amount of time it takes you to run a certain distance or do a certain amount of repetitions of an exercise. The next time you do that workout, attempt to beat your previous bests. If you can do this, you have concrete evidence of fitness progress regardless of the number on the scale.

Focus on consistently making progress, whether it’s with your body fat percentage, workout time, or quantity of reps of an exercise. As long as you maintain a regular practice and have accurate tracking, you’ll have clarity about how much you’ve achieved, and exactly what you’ll need to do to reach your goals.

About the author: Brian Kitching
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