Even if you say you don’t, you are always collecting data on your body. How thorough you are with this process can make or break your success when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
When I was in bodybuilding, I bucked the system as much as I could. Consider me a lifelong rule breaker—just enough so that I push things slightly over the edge.
I couldn’t stand weighing and measuring my food. It felt like a chore, and I wanted to avoid feeling food-obsessed.
Here’s the deal. Even if you are eyeballing your food or using arbitrary measures like a deck of cards for a meat portion and a thumb-size for your fats … you’re still collecting data.
Not accurately. But you are.
That’s what I did. My coach set my macros and in the first week I dropped three pounds. I was already close to stage weight and had a hard time keeping on muscle, so dropping weight that early in the game wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t a goal at all.
I begrudgingly got out my food scale and started weighing my food. My eyeballs told me one thing, while the scale had a completely different story.
My meat portions were about 2 ounces under the recommendation from my coach.
Ooops. I was undereating by a fair amount. Hence the rapid weight drop.
Imagine baking a cake without measuring. Certain cooking allows room for experimentation. When it comes to baking being slightly off can screw up your whole cake.
Apply that same principle to your body. We all THINK we know what we are doing. But if you go it without a body scale or a food scale, you’re just guessing.
And there’s really no point in having macros or calories at all.
When I work with clients, I tell them I can’t set your macros if I don’t know your real weight, and I can’t adjust your macros if you aren’t collecting data by the gram.
Why grams? A lot of fitness coaches (including the ones I used to work with that charged me a hefty penny) use ounces, cups, teaspoons, etc.
But your macros are prescribed in grams. And grams are a far more accurate measurement than ounces. We can only adjust ounces in fractional amounts, but a gram is a gram. If you try tracking your macros in ounces and cups, then you probably are always over or under shooting in some category.
The best bakers only measure in grams, not cups or tablespoons.
In order to successfully follow a fat loss/muscle-building program we have to change our story about both the food and body scale. We attach so much meaning to those numbers.
You have to learn to look at them objectively like small pieces of the puzzle to the overall picture of your health. They don’t paint the whole story and they aren’t going to make or break your fitness success.
I get on the scale every morning. I look at the number objectively. I want to see the same number every day. It doesn’t really matter what the number is, but when it changed I know something is off with my chemistry.
Maybe I’m dehydrated, ate too many preservatives, or am bloated from a food irritant. Seeing the scale allows me to evaluate my food and lifestyle choices better.
If I attached to the number, the 30 pounds I’ve gained since my first bodybuilding show would leave me sobbing in the corner. But I don’t see it as 30 pounds. I see it as years of hard work, dedication, and refinement of my goals.
I know people who haven’t gotten on the scale for years. I know people who haven’t had regular physicals, blood work, or pelvic exams in years.
If that sounds like you, what are you afraid of? What story are you holding onto about this valuable data that gives you a solid glimpse into your health?
Is that story still serving you? Is not knowing the truth about your body causing good or harm?
I’ve met countless people who’ve ignored health signs and refused to gather data, only to later find out the scale was actually 15 pounds heavier than they believed, or the nagging cough was cancer.
This isn’t to say everyone should weigh their food all the time. But if you aren’t reaching your fitness goals, ask yourself if you’re collecting the most accurate data so that you and your coach (if you have one) can correctly assess and adjust your plan.
And if you’ve been avoiding the scale, the doctor, or necessary tests for fear of data, make it a goal this year to get in for those exams.
P.S. I dug out one of my fav ebooks from the archives called The Five Nutrition Truths That Will Set You Free. If you don't already have a copy, you can snag a free one here.
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