Throw The Scales Away, Get A Tape Measure!


Picture the following situation – you meet friends, whom you haven’t seen in a long time. And they go: “Wow, you look great, you’ve lost a lot of weight!“ Do they know how much weight you’ve lost? They don’t, but they can see that your waist is thinner, your bottom is smaller and your hips are slimmer. They can see your measures. But they have no clue how much you weigh.

You wake up. You check your weight. Terrible – it’s 1.5 kg more since yesterday! You’ve put on weight! As much as 1.5 kilo in a single day! Your whole world crumbles down. You keep a plan, you work out a lot, but bottom line – you’ve put on weight.

Well, at least you could have eaten at will, so putting up weight would have been only natural. You put a pair of trousers on but you pay no attention that it’s not tight at all. You won’t eat anything today and you’ll work out a lot or better still – you’ll gorge yourself, the whole thing is pointless anyway. You have no idea what to do as you are so upset by the scales.

I am very glad when I teach people to mistrust the scales! But how does it happen that there is a difference of 3 kg for a single day? Yes, it’s possible. If you’ve been on a diet and you eat a little more over the holiday spell (without going to extremes, just not keeping your nutrition plan) you will increase your body water right away. And as I know that this is the way things happen, I give you this piece of advice – drink more water so that your body can throw the stored water away faster.

There is this period though when water will stay in your body, so you swell. If you check your weight in such a moment, this would be the end of the world! 24 hours later water will be thrown away, because you drink water and your body has no reason to store it.

So, dramatic changes can happen. When you increase the amount of food, the amount of water in the body increases too. Measure your thighs and hip with a tape measure, so that you can see if you’ve really put on weight. Your waist might have become bigger, which doesn’t mean that you’ve put on weight because of your stomach swelling.

What to do when the scales show more weight? You can measure your thighs and hip and if they are with the right size, then it’s all right.

When can the scales lie to you?
The scales are pointless with women who simply want to get fit, because while they are working out they are also building muscles, that is, they put on weight. At the same time they reduce the quantity of fat, i.e. they lose weight and when you draw the line, the effect is nil. Your weight won’t change. You might also end up with reduced measures, you might look slender, but weigh more.

This is so because of the training and muscle building. There is no way that you work out and you keep the size of muscles the same.

If you want to “shape up”, that is get fit, don’t watch the scales but your measures. Take down the measures of your waist, hip, left and right thigh, left and right calf, arm (relaxed bicep size). If you have a clearly defined waist, measure the smallest measurement.

There are people whose waist is not clearly obvious and in such cases we don’t take the smallest measure (this is usually the case with men with beer bellies and with overweight women). Hip, thighs, calves, arms – measure several times and take down the biggest number.

The idea is that from this moment on, these measures will only go down. That’s why you check for the biggest measurement and don’t try to measure one and the same spot every time, as this is highly subjective. You can watch just one of the thighs, because if either one gets slimmer, the other one gets slimmer too. Also, it’s only natural that there are different measures for your left and right leg.

Measure your body parts with a measuring tape once a week, in the morning, before breakfast, after you’ve been to the toilet and before your training. After workout your muscles will be filled with blood so their measures will stay bigger than usual for several hours. You can expect that your trousers are tight at the thighs.

You can also expect the same result after you’ve eaten. Do this: hold your jeans by the button, pull them to the front and you will feel them tight at the thighs. This means that after you’ve eaten and drunk some water your stomach has swollen and as a result it stretches your jeans at the thighs too. You haven’t put on weight, it’s just your stomach making your trousers tighter.

If you want to lose as much as 10 kg, the scales can be of help. Take this piece of advice though – don’t check your weight on a daily basis, but less often (e.g. once a week). All in all, do have in mind that your weight can vary by several kilograms (pounds), but I don’t know if this is relevant information. This is relevant for obese people.

For example, for women who weigh more than 80 kg and are only 160 cm high, I would not recommend jumping until they have reduced their weight, because their joints and ligaments will suffer. As muscles of beginners are still weak, their nervous systems have not been trained yet, and their aerobic capacity is still insufficient, these people will try to make up for it in any way possible so chances are high that trauma will occur.

This means than with overweight people the scales give me the opportunity to provide the right piece of advice, such as when a certain type of training should begin, and how it is best to apply physical exercises. Because it is one thing if you do squats when you weigh 55 kg and completely another if you weigh 80 or 90 kg.

If you want to shape up, throw the scales away and get a measuring tape!


  1. aditi 19 March, 2013 at 10:40 Reply

    great piece of advice. fully agree to you.

    yes, building muscles does increase your weight but you have a lean and toned look.

    thanks to you Rumi, i have lost 2 inches off my waist and hips.

    keep inspiring us with your awesome routines and motivating words:)

  2. Katerina 20 March, 2013 at 03:27 Reply

    What you have described is totally true! I know it from experience. I used to weigh 51 kg, and I am 168 cm tall. At that time, I worked out using an elliptical bike (an hour every day) and I did some yoga. I didn’t really watch what I eat and I sincerely believed that my genetics doesn’t allow me to have abs! I used weight for the first time while I was doing one of your older videos, and suddenly it heat me – I was weak! I was so proud of my weight, but I realized that I don’t look fit and I certainly didn’t feel like that.
    More than two years have passed since than, and now I weigh 55 kg, even though I eat so much healthier than before. Everybody tells me how great I look, but the most important thing is that I am so much more self-confident. I have visible abs now, my legs are strong and the best part – I can do push-ups 😉

    • Rumi 20 March, 2013 at 03:33 Reply

      Katerina, I totaly relate to your comment. When I started recording workout videoa I was 51-52 kilos, now I am 53-54 kg (163 cm) and I have less fat and more muscles. It was my dream to look athletic with visible abs.

  3. Erin 20 March, 2013 at 04:32 Reply

    Keep doing all the great things you do! I love your workouts! Will there be more?
    I am in the middle of a 250 hour Yoga Teacher certification. I must practice daily but still fit in one of your shorter workouts 3-4 times per week. I am leaner than I have been – even in my distance running days ten years ago. I am a fit, 52 years young, thanks, in part to Rumi workouts!

  4. Graziella 20 March, 2013 at 08:05 Reply

    hi rumi,

    i am in the same exact situation as in your article… people say that i am looking thinner but when i go on the scales the same weight appears.

    I will try to get your advice and use more the measuring tape….

    thank you

      • Graziella 20 March, 2013 at 08:51 Reply

        thanks for your reply rumi!

        Eating healthy and making exercise is a real every day struggle & commitment… i am 164cm and weigh 85 kgs, approximately size 16 (uk)… i need to shed down more kgs… in my best times i can get to 83kgs… but it gets tough and strict to shed those 10-15kgs more!

        i need to detox myself from extra carbs esp bread! but your exercises are magnificently good! well done keep it up & thank you

        • Rumi 20 March, 2013 at 09:04 Reply

          Grazziella, you can’t lose fat without cutting food! Exercise doesn’t burn that much energy/fat. For example to burn 3-4 pieces of bread, you must workout 30 minutes. It is easier to not eat them, than to burn them!

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