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Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself?

Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself?

Scale Addicts

Over the years, I’ve dealt with my fair share of weigh-a-holics. That is, people who step on the scales far too often. Some do it every day of their lives. Morning and night. Some step on and off five times in ten seconds in the hope that a lower figure might magically appear between their feet. Then they do it again thirty seconds later. Sound familiar?

No, not crazy at all.

Some people give away their personal power to the ‘almighty scales’. Sadly, their morning weigh-in will either make or break their day. And their mental and emotional states. Some people think that if they step lightly onto the scales the figure might be lower. And some think that leaving part of their foot off the plate will yield a better result.

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Good grief.

An Unhealthy Relationship?

Overall, I’m not a big fan of scales. Sure, they have a place in the world of health and fitness and sure they can be a useful resource but far too often they become a source of anxiety, stress and frustration. Of course, weight is a relevant issue in the getting-fitter-healthier-and-sexier process but many (many, many) people have an unhealthy relationship with their scales. You might know such a person?

Very well, perhaps?

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Heavy Ain’t Always Bad

Before I share the following ‘How to weigh yourself sensibly’ tips, keep in mind that – in terms of health – body composition is much more important than bodyweight. Some heavy people are relatively lean (like me) and some light(er) people have a high body-fat percentage – which puts them at greater risk. According to a typical height-weight chart, I am currently obese and approximately 13 kilos (29lbs) overweight. In reality, I am heavy-ish (92 kgs, 202lbs) but not fat at all. My current body-fat percentage is about twelve. In fact, I don’t want to be any lighter because, for me, that would mean losing muscle. See? Weight is an issue but not always the issue.

So, with all that in mind, when should you avoid the scales?

1. Most Days. In most instances, weighing yourself every day is unnecessary and unhealthy. And often leads to obsessive thinking and behaviour. Weekly weigh-ins are adequate for most people in most situations.

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2. When you’re at someone else’s place. It’s best to weigh yourself on the same scales each time. That way – even if the scales are not perfectly calibrated – you will get a more accurate indication of what’s actually happening with your weight.

3. When the scales cost ten bucks. As a rule, the cheaper the scales, the less accurate they are. It’s my experience that most domestic bathroom scales are inaccurate – usually on the light side. For the last twenty years, I’ve listened to people complaining about how ‘heavy’ the scales are at my gym. Sadly for those clients, the scales are very accurate.

4. When it’s 8pm and you’ve eaten a cow for dinner. Under normal conditions, we’re all heavier at the end of the day. Not fatter, heavier. Natural variability means that somebody like me can easily weigh 3-4 kilos (6.6-8.8lbs) more at night time. Which is why it’s best for us to step on the scales at the same time of day each time. Preferably, first thing in the morning.

5. When you’re wearing hiking boots. Clothes can weigh as much as 4 kilos (8.8 pounds), so weighing yourself in the buff is the preferred option for accuracy. If that’s not possible, wear as little clothing as possible and wear the same clothing each time.

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6. After you’ve just completed a strenuous workout – unless you’re measuring pre and post-workout hydration levels. It’s easy to shed more than a kilo (2.2lbs) of water weight during a one-hour sweat session, so don’t delude yourself with a temporarily low reading on the scales. Water ain’t fat. By the way, one litre of H2O (or sweat) = one kilo. Exactly.

7. When the scales are sitting on carpet. Make sure the scales are on a solid surface (tiles, timber, concrete), otherwise your reading could be inaccurate.

8. Certain days of the month (you can skip this one boys). I know you girls don’t need me to spell it out for you but, yes, for menstruating women there will typically be somewhere between two and seven days per month when your weight is temporarily inflated due to increased water retention. Probably best to avoid the scales during this time.

9. When the thought of weighing yourself puts you in a state of anxiety. Stepping on the scales means whatever you decide it means. If you think and believe it will be a stressful experience, it will be. Weighing yourself can be a simple data-gathering exercise or it can be a traumatic event. If you can’t master your fear of the scales then you might want to use another evaluation tool for a while. Weekly girth measurements, monthly body-composition testing and monthly fitness testing are all reasonable alternatives.

10. When you’re happy with how you look, feel and function. If you look good, feel good and are in good health, who cares about a stupid number?

Are you a gym rat, or are you happy with your current weight? Tell us in the comments below!

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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