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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The scales don't matter

Bathroom scales are one of the reasons ladies never get better bodies. Chocolate-fuelled Sex in the City marathons are another.

Unfortunately I cannot think of a good enough article to stop you fantasizing about the lives of four American city-dwelling man-hunters. (Actually I can – it will be out soon)

The truth is every lady in the history of modern society has had minor (or major) heart palpitations at the sight of the small red hand whizzing up and around the bathroom scales.

It seems that to many this is the only thing that matters in life. Now I am not about to tell you that I believe the human mind is actually the most important thing and that true beauty is on the inside.

Whilst this may be true to a large degree, it won’t help you attract men in a bar.

The truth is that focusing on your weight can be a fast-track way to making your body look and feel even worse than it does now, no matter what state you’re in.

When you step on the scales, what you see is how much your body weighs. But consider the following:

- How often has a man come up to you in a bar and asked how much you weigh? They don't. They look at your face, your bum and various other parts!
- When you look in the mirror, are you thinking "Oh dear I weigh 2 stones too much" or are you thinking "I look fat".
- When you see a great looking model waltzing around the red carpet outside the Batman premiere, do you think "Oooh she weighs about 8 stones" or do you think " I wish I looked like her" or " I wish I had a bum like that!"

You should be seeing a recurring theme here. The word 'look'. How much you weigh should not be the focus.

It's all about how you look. For many, health and fitness is about how they FEEL. Looking great usually makes you feel great too.

The point is that what the scales say is a small, often irrelevant chapter in a much bigger story.

I am a man who likes ladies. I am attracted to ladies with good bodies (plus intelligence, humour and personal drive before I get the feminist brigade on my back!).

I am attracted to girls who weigh 7 stones and girls who weigh 10 stones. I couldn't care less about how much they weigh as there are many 'weighs' to look sexy and attractive.

Let's be honest here. If you are concerned about your body image it is because you want to be more attractive to the opposite sex (or same sex in some cases).

Your key concerns in improving your body image should not be the scales as an absolute end but your body fat levels, muscle tone and circumferences (waist, hips, upper arms etc)

It is possible to lose weight and look worse. Similarly you can lose only a little weight but look so much better.

Let's say you weigh 60kg and have a body fat percentage of 35%. This means you have a lean body mass (muscle, bone etc) of 39kg and fat stores of 21kg.

You crash diet, do lots of boring cardio and your weight drops to 55kg. Job done, yes?


If you have been starving yourself and performing lots of cardio and no weight training you will have lost mainly muscle and water. So if out of the 5kg you lost, 4kg is muscle and 1kg is fat, your numbers will now look like this.

Lean body mass of 35kg. Body fat 20kg. This means your body fat percentage is now 36.4%.

So you have lost weight according to your scales but you are actually fatter than before! Not only will you look slightly fatter and feel flabbier but, because you have lost muscle, your metabolism will have slowed down.

This means you have to work harder and harder to lose more weight. So you do more cardio. You lose more muscle. Your metabolism slows down further.

You get the picture.

The girls with the great bums and tight arms and stomachs have sculpted those using weight training and sensible eating. There is no other way.

Cardio has its place but not long, boring runs. Short, sharp interval training will help you burn fat without losing muscle and you'll have a much better shape.

If this means your weight hasn't gone down much but your body fat is 10% lower allowing your newly toned muscles to pop into view, what's the problem?

If you believe eating less and exercising for longer each time is getting you a better body you're wrong.

People are probably commenting that you look stick-thin. Either that or you still look like you did a year ago but your metabolism is slower.

We all know the lady in the office who does every diet, talks about it, starves herself and ends up looking fatter 6 months later.

You can choose to be next by focussing on your weight or you can get smart, eat properly, train in short, sharp bursts using cardio and weights together.

I know which one will get more attention from the lads!


Train hard, eat clean.


charord said...

great article Jon; off to twitter to dig it : )

Charliewall said...

great article, well written..