Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 38

It was an odd day yesterday. I wasn't hungry at all early and then really hungry all afternoon. I didn't get hungry until about 11:30 and had a cheeseburger bowl. I was hungry again about 2:30. I had several big bites of pemmican and a colby/jack cheese stick. Dinner was late again and I was hungry about 5:00, so had a handful of pork rinds. Dinner was at 7:30 and was two big slices of ham, with cheese slices on them. I was really full after that.

I had hoped to flush out the salt from the weekend but, between the ham and pork rinds, that didn't happen. In fact, I was up .8 pounds, to 187.4, this morning, probably due to the big, salty dinner late.

I can't say I didn't think "Darn" when I saw the number go up but I am still amazed at how people obsess over the scale numbers. The scale can't tell you what is going on inside. .6 pounds is roughly a half pint of water, which isn't much. I have seen people fret over a .2 gain and change up what they are doing based on that.

I think it's a bit silly because there are so many different variables. For one thing, digital scales aren't perfect. Digital scales use electronic sensors to measure weight. These kind of sensors have accuracy ratings that they are guaranteed for, with the very best rated at +/- .1%. The cheaper ones are rated at +/- 1%. This means that if you weigh 200 pounds and have a cheaper scale, your weight could vary as much as 4 pounds with no change in your actual weight (+/- 2 pounds) and .4 pounds for a good one (+/- .2 pounds).

I am going by the sensor ratings because the scale manufacturers don't seem to like to disclose their scales' accuracy ratings. Most scales use multiple sensors and there are techniques to improve consistency so these aren't hard and fast numbers. The point is that there is some small variability and freaking out about tiny changes isn't warranted.

Water weight is one of the biggest variables in day-to-day weight. There are a lot of reasons that the body will hold water - carb intake, hormones, salt intake, inflammation and digestion, just to name a few common ones. Since a pint of water weighs a pound, it doesn't take much water to affect the body's weight. That .2 pounds is 6.4 tablespoons of water.

The amount of food currently undergoing digestion is your intestines is highly variable, too, and can affect day-to-day weight. I have read that the average person can have up to 20 pounds of matter in their intestines at a time (I believe that zero carbers would have considerable less because they aren't all bound up with fiber).

All of this points out why it's silly to obsess over day to day fluctuations or even the number itself. I've already posted several times on this blog about the lies the scale will tell. The last time that I measured myself while doing zero carb, I compared my measurements to when I was pretty much the same weight last fall when I had lost weight calorie counting. I was significantly smaller this time at the same weight, which shows that I lost more fat and retained more lean this time.

I post my weight every day but it isn't that important to me. My measurements and pictures that I take on Saturday every week have been showing a consistent fat loss while my scale numbers have been all over the place. What most overweight people should focus on is losing fat, not getting smaller numbers on a scale (yes, there is a difference). Zero carb allows most people to lose fat while retaining (or even gaining) muscle and other lean tissue. The measuring tape, the mirror and your clothes tell the true story.


Jude said...

Thanks for this post, Arc...that makes me feel a LOT better about my minute bounces. I'll try to keep that in mind in the future. But I still HATE the bounces UP. I'd much rather see lots of DOWN. LOL

Ryan said...

I would, too, unless it meant that I was losing muscle.