For most women, the scale is considered the holy grail of weight loss. They measure their progress by how quickly they can get that number on the scale moving down.
But when it comes to measuring weight loss, the numbers game can be deceiving ending with frustration with the scales not budging, despite all your hard work in the gym and sticking to their meal plan.
But weight doesn't tell the entire story.
Instead of obsessing over the scale, take the well-rounded approach by implementing these four other ways to track your progress.
1. Take Progress Photos
We look at ourselves every day in the mirror so it’s hard for us to see the small changes we are making to our bodies every day. That doesn't mean it isn't changing in the meantime though.
The best way for you to physically see the difference to your body is by taking before and after pictures. We recommend taking photos every four or 6 weeks, in the same outfit, location, and poses so it’s easy to compare.
What to wear:
As little as possible! Underwear, a bikini or pair of boxers are ideal, even if you don’t feel comfortable half naked yet. You could choose shorts and a sports bra, or if you choose to be fully clothed, be sure that your clothes are form fitting, not baggy or tight.
Keep the area behind you simple by standing in front of a plain wall or a door.
You never know where your results are going to come from. Cover all of your bases by snapping 4 photos, keeping you feet shoulder with apart and hands down to your sides for each stance:
Standing with your feet exactly the same distance apart in each picture shows you your most accurate leg and hip progress.
Full length shots are the best, so either ask a friend to take the pics for you or set up the timer on your camera using a tripod or high surface.
2. Use A Tape Measure
It's not all about the numbers on the scale. If your wanting a smaller waist, hips and thighs then that's what you need to take measurement of, keeping track of the inches lost.
Again, we recommend you take measurements every four or six weeks for comparison.
Use a tape measure (the kind you find in a sewing kit) to measure the following parts of your body:
3. Keep score
Instead of relying solely on reducing numbers, try increasing them—in the form of weights, that is. When you start a new fitness plan, note down your initial strength benchmarks. How many pushups can you complete in a row? How long does it take you to complete 2k or 5k on the treadmill or outdoors?
Each time you complete a workout, note down your reps and any weights used, and use this info to improve your personal best the next time round. You’ll be amazed how quickly your fitness levels and strength can improve!
4. Measure Your Body Fat
Bear in mind that exercise and strength training increases muscle. So the weight loss showing on the scale could be a combination of increased muscle mass and fat loss. Add on 2lbs of increased muscle to your 2lbs fat loss and the scales aren’t showing any movement.
Thats where skinfold measurements come in. With just a little pinch of your skin with a set of callipers (its not painful whatsoever, don’t worry) you can estimate body fat percentage based on the amount of fat you have lying right underneath the skin.
We’ve seen lots of women lose just a few pounds of weight in 6 weeks… but drop 5% bodyfat. Thats HUGE! Combine this result with the physical differences you can see in your progress pictures, inches lost on the chart, and proof on paper that you’ve halved your 5k time… that tells you so much more than just one number on the scale ever could.