I happen to have 2 scales at home. One just reads your weight, the other, weight, BMI and body fat. One day, I decided to weigh myself on both scales and noticed that they gave me different results. I then went to the gym and weighed myself there. I got different results again.
Funnily enough, I was having this conversation with one of my clients who said she went through exactly the same thing. She was used to measuring her progress using the scales. Some weeks she wouldn’t see any change and it was demotivating.
When she shifted her focus to some “non scale victories”, as she put it, she noticed that actually she was making progress, and when she saw 2 different readings on the scales, she finally decided the scales don’t really matter!
This is why people say, don’t use scales, or don’t rely on scales alone to measure your weight loss. It can be very disheartening to step on the scales every week and not see any difference. But your weight can fluctuate on a daily basis! And what the scales usually don’t take into account is a change in your body composition. That is your body’s fat, muscle and water mass. These can change quite a bit, but could still result in your total weight staying the same.
So, how else should you track your weight loss? How else can you find out exactly how much you have lost? Well, there are other ways to measure your progress, but they won’t ever tell you exactly how much weight you have lost.
The number on the scales shouldn’t matter and doesn’t define you. Weight loss is about so much more than the number on the scales. It’s about your mindset, how you feel and doing something to make you healthier in the long run.
Most of us have a measuring tape lying around at home that we don’t use.
Instead of stepping on the scales every week, why not take some measurements every few weeks? You lose an inch on your chest or your waist that the scales will probably not pick up! But if you are someone who is driven by numbers, this could be a great way to measure your progress. As with the scales, it’s important not to get obsessed with the numbers.
Places to measure are your: chest, waist, hips, arms and legs.
How do your clothes feel? Loose or tight? Using your clothes can be great way to measure how you’re getting on. My client that I spoke of above says she has a pair of jeans that she is using as a gauge to see how she is progressing. I think that’s a great way to see how your weight loss is going. Your clothes shouldn’t change shape, but if you can fit into something that you know you haven’t been able to for a while, then that should be seen as progress!
3. Progress Pictures
I encourage my clients to take pictures of themselves every 4 weeks or so if their main goal is weight loss. Pictures give you a 360 view of your body that a mirror won’t. Also putting pictures side by side really shows you what changes have happened in your body that you might not be able to see every day.
Some tips when taking your pictures:
- Always take them in the similar clothes and similar time of day
- Take pictures from the front, side and back
4. Friends and Family
Unless you have really honest friends or family, most people will not tell you that you have put on weight. You might not want to be told even if you do know them.
But when you lose weight, people will usually mention it! It takes a lot longer for you to see the results in the mirror but other people will always notice it before you do. It doesn’t always show in the obvious places either. It can show in your face, your arms or your neck.
5. How you feel
Do you have more energy? Do you feel less bloated? Do you feel happier? These feelings can come as a result of exercise and eating well that cannot be measured on a scale. Exercising and eating well should be so much more than just a way to lose weight.
It can improve your mood and mental health. It can change your relationship with food and your body. It can make you feel amazing when you have done a tough workout that you didn’t think you could.
It’s important to remember that weight loss isn’t just about the amount the scales say you have lost or gained. Do you feel and look healthier, have made some permanent lifestyle changes or even changed your relationship with food? These are all bigger gains than whatever the scales tell!
So next time you want to step on the scales, think of these ways to track your progress! You are so much more than the number on it!
Feature image: © adrian_ilie825 via Adobe Stock Images