You might have heard me talk about how I’m NOT a fan of the scale. There are so many ways to measure progress that are both measurable and non-measurable. The scale tells one story, but there are many factors that come into play when you see that number. Some of these include: Water retention, hormones, inflammation, digestion and volume of previous food and liquid consumption. These are all large factors in scale weight that can make the number deceiving. Read on for ideas how to measure progress OFF the scale!
How to Measure Progress OFF the Scale
Water retention alone can be affected by sodium intake, carbohydrate intake, workout intensity/recovery status, sleep, stress levels, hormonal fluctuations, and hydration. This can cause the scale to fluctuate a few pounds up or down from day-to-day. For some people, it might be best to weigh-in just once per week or LESS often. I personally recommend weighing yourself once at month on the same day of the month for a more accurate gauge of progress.
Body composition and measurements are great ways to check in on your progress. Are you losing fat while maintaining or even gaining muscle? This may not show up as progress on the scale number, but it will show up in how your clothes fit with your size and measurements typically decreasing. Try taking measurements using a tape measure and recording these numbers to keep track of progress. If you have a scale that reads body composition. You can also use this number as a reference point during your weekly weigh-in to see how your body composition is changing.
When it comes to progress in performance, there are plenty of ways to tell if you are fueling yourself better for performance. If you are into strength training and your numbers are improving, this is an indicator that you are fueling for performance and creating denser muscle tissue. You may also notice that body weight resistance movements (such as push-ups) and endurance-style movements (such as running or biking) are becoming easier to perform and you are becoming faster. Both of these are great signs that you are eating to fuel for performance and your muscles are getting stronger!
Why Progress Photos Are So Important
Pictures tell all! Before and after pictures along with bi-weekly photos are true signs of body composition changes. (Have you taken your “before” photos yet? If not, make sure you do it ASAP!) Try to keep the lighting, camera angle, and clothing the same across all the photos for consistency and to be able to easily compare. While the scale can sometimes stall or plateau, photos may show composition changes that are very motivating to see. This happens ALL the time with our nutrition clients! I personally think the “magic” happens about 3-5 months after implementing macros into your life. I can’t stress this enough: Photos are super important when it comes to how to measure progress OFF the scale!
Other things to note as you continue your journey are your sleep patterns, mood, energy levels, and hunger. Hopefully, you are also seeing improvements in these markers with more restful sleep, less mood swings, improved clarity, and higher energy levels throughout the day. These are all signs that you are improving the way you fuel your body. I hope this post helped you make sense of how to measure progress OFF the scale. Plus, why it’s so important to your fat loss journey!
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P.S. Another blog post that might interest you: Why The Scale Fluctuates And Why It Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Making Progress!