Whatever You Do, Don’t Put Your Faith in Your Bathroom Scale!

When most people try to manage their weight, they’ll slavishly follow the bathroom scale. That’s a mistake.

Most people think they want to lose weight. The fact is, when your scale “suddenly” shows you’re a few pounds lighter, it’s NOT UNLIKE a magician’s sleight of hand.

Imagine if you went seven whole days without consuming a single calorie. At the end of that time, you stepped on your bathroom scale to see that you had gained ten pounds!

Would that shake your confidence or what?

That’s precisely what happened to theoretical physicist and weight-loss scientist Carl Johnson in 2016 when he put himself on a total fast for one week.

Based on his knowledge of human body fat and his metabolism, he fully expected to lose precisely 4 pounds of fat at the end of the week. When he stepped on the scale seven days later, he was 10 pounds heavier!

So what the heck happened?

Instead of eating for those seven days – and to keep his stomach from growling – Johnson drank zero-calorie iced tea with lemon … and lots of it.

In fact, he drank 4.5 pints of tea a day, or 32 pints throughout his seven-day fast, and since each pint of tea weighed a pound, he drank a grand total of 32 pounds of tea.

Here’s the thing: our bodies are about 60% water. When Johnson began his fast, he carried about 120 pounds of water weight. Naturally, our bodies have several ways of disposing of water, primarily urination, sweating and exhaling water vapour in our breath, which is precisely what happened to 22 of the 32 pounds of tea Johnson drank. That left him with an extra 10 pounds of water at the end of the week.

But then the most interesting thing happened.

In the weeks following the experiment, Johnson’s brain and metabolism gradually disposed of those ten new pounds of water, and his scale actually did drop. Not only did he return to his original weight, but he shed four additional pounds, which was precisely what was supposed to happen. Don’t forget; this extra four pounds was pure “fat loss,” not water weight loss. 

Not only did Johnson lose four pounds of fat, but he experienced all the desired biological effects of 4 pounds of body fat reduction.

That’s a pretty powerful example of the dramatic difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss.

Johnson witnessed an almost immediate reduction in his systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which only stands to reason. Every pound of additional fat we carry forces the heart to pump blood to an extra 7 miles of blood vessels.

But the take-home message is really this; when you know what you’re doing and understand your body and the science of weight loss, you will stay on course rather than throw up your hands in frustration because the bathroom scale is in a “frisky mood.”

Your timetable and nature’s timetable may not necessarily line up. That’s why weight and health mastery are critically crucial to long-term success.

That’s a pretty powerful example of the dramatic difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss.

If you’re trying to shed some excess fat, that’s great, but give yourself every opportunity to succeed. It begins by understanding that you cannot track your progress using a weigh scale alone because if you do, you’ll get so confused and disheartened you’ll probably give up.

I weigh myself out of habit every day. When I do, I always feel a momentary shot of joy if it’s down from the day before. Conversely, I’m always disappointed if I’m a few pounds heavier, and it’s a natural reaction. I have to constantly remind myself that the only thing that matters is body composition.

As for weight and what the scale declares from day to day … who cares?