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Scale Woes

Hi, it's Dr. Angela!

We think the scale is the best way to measure weight loss. However, the scale can be your worst enemy! In this podcast, we explore why it is important to put the scale away, and focus on the correct metrics for tracking your weight.

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
10:01 Pay attention to these three truths about weight
13:19 There are times when there is weight loss, but fat gain!
17:21 If you can eat enough calories to cover your basal metabolic rate, you'll lose fat without losing muscle.
20:08 Body Composition Rule of Thumb

--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---

Introduction (00:00):
You are listening to the, keep the weight off podcast with Dr. Angela episode number nine!

Announcer (00:07):
Welcome to the Keep The Weight Off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discovered not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann, MD.

Dr. Angela (00:28):
All right. Hello everybody. It's so good to be here. Marchelle and I are just having such a great time creating these podcasts for you, by the way, say, hi, Marchelle. She's here today. So I really didn't have any idea how much fun this was going to be. And we love reading comments, people are posting. So thanks for doing that and keep them coming and just make sure that you get on there and rate the podcast. And let everybody you know about this because I don't think we're talking about weight loss in the way most people talk about weight loss, right? Marchelle, would you agree with that or not totally agree with that. So, so today what I wanted to do is I wanted to talk a little bit about the scale, and I'm not talking about the food scale and just talking about your not so friendly bathroom scale, right.

Dr. Angela (01:21):
And we all kind of have a relationship with our bathroom scale. So I wanted to talk about that because if you are in the process of trying to lose weight, I'm going to suggest that you put that thing away. And I want to explain why, like, just for now, while you're in the weight loss process, it would be a really good idea to put it up on a very high shelf in a room that you never go in or put it in your garage or in an attic, just, just, don't put it where it's easy to get to now. Marchelle. Why do you think I make this recommendation? I would say, because numbers do not reflect fat and muscle. True. Very true. But I also, that's absolutely right. And I also know how much it messes with our minds. It really does. And so I have patients who will come in and they'll say like, I'm not losing any weight at all.

Dr. Angela (02:24):
I'm not losing any weight. I'm getting really, really discouraged. And I will ask them, well, how do you know you're not losing weight? And they're like, well, I'm weighing myself. And I'm like, there, therein lies your problem. Right? So the scale is one, oops, sorry to add. One thing that I have seen many, many times is when people have their home scales, they get up first thing in the morning. They weigh naked on the scale. And then by the time that they come in to get on the scale for their

Marchelle (03:00):
Visit, they will have gone up three pounds from where their scale said. And you try to explain to them, do not weigh at home and then come in way later on in the day, because for one you're wearing clothes. And so maybe you eat and you can fluctuate through throughout the day. So when those three pounds show up, when they come to the clinic, they're automatically disappointed because they think that they have gained weight from the first thing in the morning to when they, they came in. And I just tell them, don't do that because you're just always going to be disappointed. And it is not, it's not correct because your genes, I know weigh two pounds. Yeah. So it's, yeah, it's better to not, to not weigh at home

Dr. Angela (03:48):
When you're so, so when people come into our clinic and they weigh themselves once a month, Marchelle or Tanya, our other medical assistant is usually the one that's going to weigh them in. And so like, what is that process like for people? You know, you mentioned how, if they've weighed themselves in the morning and they can weigh more in the afternoon, but like what kinds of things do you see people saying to themselves to you?

Marchelle (04:16):
Well, it really depends on if they felt that they've had a successful month or if they have not had a successful month because sometimes people are excited to get on the scale. And I always encourage people to do the body composition over the scale. Every time they come in, because I have seen people get on the scale and say, I did everything right. And I'm not gaining, or I'm not losing any weight and they get frustrated. But then when I have them hop on the body composition, then they see that they have dumped fat and they built muscle and their visceral fat has gone down and then they leave happy because it's broken down. They realize that they have done well, and it is showing. And I've seen that over and over and over again. So yeah. So the, the just the regular scale does, doesn't tell you anything, but what gravity is doing to your body, I know it is not helpful.

Dr. Angela (05:15):
Oh, true. So I want to talk about the body composition, but before I do that, I want to talk about there's, there's three things that kind of happen to people. Like, let's say that you're, you're not paying attention to what I'm saying here, which I hope you will, but, but let's say you're a podcast listener and you're like, I can't get rid of my scale. I just can't. It's it's I mean, I just depend on that thing. And so you get on the scale and let's say you had a weekend where you did really, really well. Like you killed it this weekend, you ate healthy food all weekend long, and you didn't go out and splurge on Friday margaritas and you didn't drink wine and you, you just did great and you get on the scale on Monday morning, you were like, I know I lost weight this weekend.

Dr. Angela (06:01):
And the scale is up two pounds. So what do you do? Oh, I guess this isn't working. Why am I depriving myself of all of that stuff? And you forget about the fact that all of that stuff is actually very toxic for you. And all you can think about is you're depriving yourself. And so then you just give up and you go, you go back to eating crap again. So that's one thing that can happen. And that happens a lot. The other thing that can happen is you could have a whole weekend where you just really splurged and you did have the margaritas and you did have the wine and you did have desserts and you did have a lot of stuff. And you get on the scale on Monday morning and your weights down. And then you're like, this is your addiction brain, right. Going, Oh, that was fine. You didn't have any problem with that. You can handle it. And so then the addiction brain is going to get in there and say, go for it. Then you're off track. It's like, it just, it doesn't matter what happens with the scale. Like your brain is going to find a way to tell you to keep eating crap.

Marchelle (07:05):
That's exactly what happens to me is that I become so obsessed with the scale that if I had a bad weekend, like you said, and I didn't gain any weight. That's, that's the thing that my brain says, Oh, okay, well, you can probably get away with it again.

Dr. Angela (07:24):
Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah. Or if I have like a goal weight. Yeah.

Marchelle (07:29):
The first thing my brain says is, okay, well now you can go have a little bit of this and a little bit of that because you're doing so well,

Dr. Angela (07:36):
Go buy a donut. Yeah. That's it

Marchelle (07:39):
Exactly. That's exactly what I want to do.

Dr. Angela (07:41):
Go to Twister.

Marchelle (07:45):
Exactly. I think that I, that actually happened to me. I think that we discussed that when I was going through the detox, when I started losing the weight, that's the first thing that I said is, Oh man, I could start getting away with having this or having that. And that is not, that's not a good way of thinking, because the minute you do have a, this or that, then that addictive part of your brain starts giving you cravings. And then it's really hard to get back on track. So yeah, don't pay attention to,

Dr. Angela (08:19):
I have done this myself in the past. I struggled with food, thoughts, weight, thoughts, all that stuff for a long, long time for, I finally got this figured out, I'd get up in the morning. I'd pee. I weigh myself and then I go eat breakfast. And then I go weigh myself after breakfast is to find out how much fat did that. Cause just like this craziness, how much weight did I gain from breakfast? And, and I'm assuming that the weight gain is fat is fat gain. Right. And then I, I go weigh myself again before lunch, and then I would find out how much I weighed after lunch. I mean, it was just like this obsession with what do I weigh? And it can, it can get really, really toxic. And when you're in the weight loss process it's just, it's so important that you give all of that up.

Marchelle (09:12):
I see people a lot. That will, the first thing they do when they come in is of course they use the restroom because they want to, get everything out and they also will not eat for the entire day. Yes. Because they have a way in, so they're giving up what they're supposed to be doing, just because they are afraid of what's going to happen when they weigh in, because they think that I, so many people think that if they went up on the scale, that we are going to be disappointed in them.

Dr. Angela (09:46):
Yeah. Yeah. And

Marchelle (09:48):
It all comes down to, these, these numbers and it's, we have just really is not important.

Dr. Angela (09:55):
Yeah. Yeah. It's just like, Oh my gosh. So that is so true. So, so what I want people to understand is that you need to just get rid of your scale because it's, first of all, it's not going to give you any accurate information whatsoever. It's not going to tell you how much fat you've lost. There are actually three different elements to your weight. There's the fat weight. And that's going to go down. If you're eating correctly, there's the muscle mass. And that's hopefully going to go up if you're eating correctly and then there's water weight and that your kidneys are in charge of you have no control over how much water your body decides to hold onto at any moment in time. I mean, I suppose, you have control over how much salt you eat and salt can cause water retention. But for the most part, you want to just let your kidneys do their job.

Dr. Angela (10:52):
Your kidneys have to manage your sodium levels, your potassium levels, your blood pressure. There are hormonal shifts that occur every month that cause water retention for women. There's just a lot going on. And we have to just respect our kidneys. We just do. And so that is the beauty of the body composition testing. And so I use a scale called the in-body scale and it gives us an exact number for body fat. It gives us an exact number for body water. And then all the rest of the weight is what's called dry lean mass because it's not fat and it's not water, it's dry lean. And that's where we see the muscle changes occurring. And I have had it happen so many times where somebody comes in and they're like, I've just been killing it. My nutrition is spot on. I feel great. I'm in smaller clothes. Things are going amazingly. And the weight is either like exactly the same or it might even have gone up. And then I'm like, Oh, we got to get a body composition and find out what's going on because we can see it. And so we get the body composition and we discover there was like four or five pounds of fat loss that month. And there was a pound of muscle gain. And then for whatever reason, the kidneys just decided that they needed hold onto some water that day. And so

Marchelle (12:17):
Is that a lot, especially for all of us women retain water during certain times of the month. And so some of the patients will come in and they'll get on the scale and they jumped up four pounds and I say, you know what? Let's get back on the body comp and water weight that they've just been retaining some water. So it's not that big of a deal.

Dr. Angela (12:41):
It's just not, yeah. And retaining water isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't, I'm not even sure if retaining is the right word, because it's just that sometimes your body just needs more fluid on board than other times. And so all day long, your breathing your, I mean, we all, we're all wearing masks these days. So we know that our breath has water in it because we're seeing the moisture buildup in the masks. You're sweating all day. You don't even know it, but there's water coming off of your skin all day. Even if you're not working out you're drinking or peeing or pooping, like there's just water in and out all day. And so it's just not a big deal. I do see times where people have had weight loss and I discover that they actually had fat gain with weight loss. And usually that happens when somebody has been super stressed out and they're not sleeping and they're not eating properly.

Dr. Angela (13:44):
And when they are eating, they, because they're in a situation that's really, really stressful when they are eating, it's usually processed something processed because they don't have the time to eat wholesome real food, or at least that's what they're telling themselves. There will be weight loss and fat gain. So I do see that as well. This is a, a big plug for stress management, of course, because, and making sure you're getting your rest and making sure that you're drinking your fluids and all of that stuff that goes into good self care. So,

Marchelle (14:16):
Right. And I do see that it's very important, especially for the newer patients, because when they're just learning how to eat differently and properly, they sometimes are not getting enough protein in and they don't even realize that they think they are. And so it's a good way to monitor whether or not your body is responding to the protein that you're getting in there to dumping fat and holding onto muscle. So I think especially during when you're brand new Intuit, it's so important to make sure that the doctor take a look at it and she will be able to tell you that you need to bump up your protein, that you're not getting enough because you're losing too much you're, you're losing weight, but you're losing too much muscle along with fat. So yeah. So it's a great indicator of that. I love, I love the InBody machine, so

Dr. Angela (15:07):
I know. Yeah. So for, for our podcast listeners who are not seeing us as patients, and there are a lot of you out there, here's how you can get a body composition test done, go to InBody If you're in the United States, otherwise just go to And there is a tab there that says locations, and you just click on the tab and your computer is going to know where you are, and it will just show you different facilities where they have an InBody machine, where you can get the tests done. And there'll be a, there'll be a fee for it. And I'm not sure, every place has different terms of what they charge, but it's worth doing once a month to get the accurate information that you need. And if you keep a really careful food journal, so you can know that you're getting the protein that you need, and you can know that you were being super careful with your carbs and sugar.

Dr. Angela (16:10):
Then you can get the data that you need to be able to make decisions about what is best for your body. Like I discover some people need way more protein in order to save their muscle mass while they're going through this, they need like a hundred questions and they're working out. Yeah, yeah. And then other people don't necessarily need quite so much. Everybody's so different. And you don't want to compare yourself with anybody else. You have a unique physiology, a very unique body, so never compare yourself with anyone else, and you don't want to gun it for quick weight loss. The other thing that the body composition machine will tell you is what your basal metabolic rate is. And that's going to give you a good sense of how many calories you should be eating. If you can get the right amount of calories, like you don't want to be dropping yourself down to a thousand calories a day and starving your body.

Dr. Angela (17:01):
That's a really good way to put it into famine. We talked about this in I think it was podcast episode two, where we talked about diets and how, we put our bodies in a famine state when we drop our calories down to a thousand or 800, sometimes even lower than that. I am so against doing that because what I've discovered is that if you can eat enough calories to cover, in other words, to equal out what your basal metabolic rate is, then you're going to lose fat and you're not going to lose muscle while you're at it. And you're not going to be starving herself. Patients

Marchelle (17:38):
I do tell patients is that we're not just trying to lose weight. You're trying to lose fat and you're trying to keep your muscle. Yes. So much more important, much more important.

Dr. Angela (17:50):
So again, I hope that helps. And I hope that you will take my advice and put the dang scale away. Okay. At least while you're in the weight loss process. Now I will say, once you have hit a good stable weight loss plateau, and you're in your ideal body, it is a good idea to weigh yourself. The research shows that if you weigh yourself like once a week, you can sometimes catch weight gain early. Cause remember our brains, they want us to eat crap. And we might get into a phase where we're eating crap and we'll be able to catch ourselves if we are weighing ourselves once a week. And we start seeing it start to creep up. But if you're at a good stable plateau weight, and you weigh yourself once a week, you're going to discover there's a range. There's a two or three or four pound range.

Dr. Angela (18:41):
That's just sort of normal for you, where your clothes feel good. You feel good. Everything's great. If you start to get up above that range, then you'll know, Oh, I might want to just check. Might want to do some food journaling and see if there's some stuff sneaking in that. Some old habits are starting to creep back in and usually you'll, you'll be able to figure out exactly what's happening, but that's the only time that it's a good idea to have a scale and to weigh yourself. And that's based on research among people who have lost weight and kept it off that they do weigh themselves regularly just to sort of keep it top of mind and to keep themselves on track. But while you're in the weight loss process, I strongly discourage weighing at all. And I do encourage if you weigh weigh once a month at the most, and if you can get a body composition test done, that's the way to go.

Marchelle (19:35):
Oh, can I throw in a quick question about that? So I have seen that there are a lot of body composition machines at gyms, for instance. So how would one get an interpretation if they do not know what the results mean?

Dr. Angela (19:50):
Oh, there are different types of body composition scales. I like the InBody one. That's just the one that I'm used to dealing with. And I would just say, look at your body fat mass and look at your dry lean mass and use those numbers. Like you don't really need to know anything else about it. Just look at body fat, see what changes are there and look at dry lean mass and see what changes are there. And hopefully what's happening is you're losing fat and you're not losing any more than one pound of dry lean mass for every 10 pounds of fat. That is my rule of thumb and the other body composition scales that are out there. You'll have to ask the staff how to interpret it because I'm not familiar with all of them. I don't know all that.

Marchelle (20:34):
I'm wondering if you could just go to the website, perhaps like ours is the InBody and maybe you can go to the website and it might explain what each number means.

Dr. Angela (20:48):
Exactly. Yeah. Great. All right. Well, I think that the most important thing to remember here is that you want to really ditch all the scale craziness we have in the past release I have in the past, use the scale as a way to judge myself for my behavior. And we get so focused on that number. And it's just, it's not a friendly tool to have when you're trying to lose body fat and get healthy again, as long as you know that you're not eating a bunch of processed crap, junk food, you're paying attention to your water intake. You're getting the sleep that you need. And you're making sure that you're not eating your way through your emotions, that you're allowing yourself to feel your emotions and you're not eating your way through them. Then you're doing the right things in order to get yourself healthy.

Dr. Angela (21:33):
Again, there's just so much more about this journey that is so much more important than that freaking number on the scale. It just is. And so I really want to encourage everyone to just stay focused on what's important and don't use the scale as a way to judge yourself. And I also want to mention that the journey beyond weight loss course that I have online is going to be opening up again in may. That's just a few weeks from now really we're more towards the end of March now. And so keep your eyes on your email for that. If you want a quick course on how to lose weight, go to journey beyond weight free course, and you can learn how to lose weight the right way. Marchelle, do you have any last minute comments? I just have one thing that I'd like to say to you before we end is one thing I'm going to start doing with patients before they get on the scale. Especially patients that really dread getting on the scale is I'm just going to have them take some deep breaths and use a mantra. It says the scale will not change the way I feel about myself and just keep repeating it until you believe it. That's so good. That's so good.

Dr. Angela (22:51):
I love that. Yeah. So you can use that mantra at home guys or when you're getting on the InBody at whatever facility you can find it at. So, yeah. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. All right, everybody. That's all for this week. We will see you next week in the meantime have fun getting healthy again. We'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Closing (23:13):
Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way, just head over to to sign up also, it would be awesome. If you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes. Thanks.

And we'll see you in Journey Beyond Weight Loss.

InBody link:

Dr. Angela



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