Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Broke Up with my Scale (and you should too)

I have a confession to make. I used to be addicted. I had to do it everyday. It took a while to finally break away from it, but when I did I felt so much better. And you should, too.

I broke up with my bathroom scale. It wasn't easy. I kept a close tab on the numbers- monitored my weight.It made me feel in control, but in reality I was truly a prisoner of the number. And while I go into the bathroom now and have to stare down the scale- trying to entice me, "Come on- step on me" - I know I made the right decision. My scale is now a shelf for all my reading materials at the moment- and it will probably remain that way for a long time. You see, I finally have a reality check with my body image. I realized that it's not your weight that is indicative of your health - it's your body fat percentage and how your jeans fit.

It's time to focus on the real numbers:

The truth behind health and fitness is not revealed in the number on the scale. This may give you a general idea of how large you are- but that's all it really is. An idea. It has added up everything in your body - organs, muscle, fat and all the water and food within your digestive system at that moment. 

If you really want to know if you're making strides in increasing muscle ( lean body mass), and losing fat, then the best method is to measure your body fat. And the best part is you don't have to do this everyday. If you don't believe me, I recommend searching online for fitness models and athletes (women whose body is around 8-15% body fat) and examine their weight and height. If they were non-athletic, we would say their weight was too high - but in reality, muscle is much more dense than fat, and therefore causes the scale to - in my terms- LIE. (By lie, I mean - lead us to believe our BMI is in the overweight to obese range). 

Taking your body fat measurements can be a fairly simple process. The options include, and are not limited to- having a personal trainer at a local gym test you, getting a BodPod done (these are a little costly, but very accurate), purchasing a caliper and/or BIA handheld device and do it yourself at home. There is a warning for trying to measure yourself at home- while the cheapest method, it can easily be done wrong. If you choose to go this route, be sure to PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Read up on how to accurately test yourself, and use the caliper on the same sites multiple times to get the most accurate reading. 

Here's a great link to help you calculate body fat based on several body sites:


Checking your own body fat can be confusing, and sometimes expensive. You can measure your own body fat in the comfor of your home, safely and accurately, and at a not-so-bad price.

I use the Accumeasure pinch caliper and measuring tape, below, along with the Omron BIA fat loss monitor on both myself and clients. I have been using these tools for other 3 years now, and still swear by them.

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Hi! I 'm Karlene Murphy. A lover of food (especially if it's gluten and dairy free!), getting outdoors, lifting weights, travel, writing, and snuggling with my two puppies. My addictions include chocolate, coffee, cookies, and sharing my love of being HAPPY and HEALTHY! My passion is educating others - whether at my full time job as a high school Psychology teacher, or with YOU my readers. I have been in the fitness wold for almost 10 years, and currently am an Online Fitness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Pilates and Yoga and Aerial Yoga Instructor in Southern New Hampshire. Contact Me if you need help with designing your own fitness and nutrition program.

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