Ways to track your progress besides the scales

When deciding upon a goal, fitness, nutrition or life it goes without saying that it has to be something measurable that you can track overtime otherwise how would you know if you were improving? So for weight loss it seems only natural to want to weigh yourself and see progress that way right?

When i first started getting into health and fitness, I was obsessed with tracking my weight. Sometime I would even do it daily and down to the point of obsessive weighing out my food so i would know down to the calorie what i was eating ... obsessive or what!? and honestly who has the time!!

Yes it's good to be mindful of what you're eating but really, who has time to weigh and track every single morsel of food and oh well you're stuffed if you go to a restaurant because then you really have no idea how much each portion is. I know it now seems like the new fad to "ditch the scales" but this is one fad that i think should stick. I mean don't get me wrong, weighing yourself every now and then is good just to get a baseline of how you're going and for accountability (say to yourself ok every 6 weeks i will weigh my self and check in and then not think about it for the next 6 weeks) but don't focus on it as there are so many other indicators that you can use to track how your health is going.

1. The way clothes fit - This is one of the best indicators of fat loss and of changing body shape. I always tell my clients who want to lose weight what is one piece of clothing that used to fit but doesn't or is a bit tight that you want to get back into and have that as a benchmark.

2. Having a fitness or lifestyle goal - Set yourself a goal be it a distance or time that you want to run or cycle for or a certain weight or reps that you want to lift at the gym. Seeing how much you can improve on goals like this in such a short time will give you that extra motivation and drive to keep going and if your goal is weight loss then as your exercise increases and you get fitter and stronger, weight loss will just be a nice side effect of that.

3. Getting your body fat percentage and lean muscle mass measured - This is crucial for weight loss and one which i tell my clients it is more important to see this going down than the number on the scales. Your body fat percentage is exactly that, the amount of your body that is fat be it visceral fat (fat around the organs) or subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin that prevents the 6 pack that everyone naturally has from being shown haha). The number on the scales may be staying the same but that could be because your lean muscle mass (basically the amount of your body that is muscle) may be increasing (due to going to the gym) and your body fat could be coming down which would thus make the number stay the same. This is my biggest reason for making sure you are getting body fat and lean muscle mass measured as well if you are weighing yourself as this will truly tell you what that number on the scales is made of.

4. Taking progress photos - Now i used to not be such a big fan of these and you see all those 5 second transformation photos on Instagram and in the media proving that anyone can have a good transformation. BUT I think sometimes it is hard to visually see progress when we are looking at ourselves everyday. The progress may be there but you just may not think you have progressed as much as you actually have (nice surprise). Being able to put 2 photos side by side will allow you to physically see the changes in your body that you may not have noticed before.

5. Waist and Hip measurements - Are so important for measuring your overall health and risk for certain diseases and conditions. Having a bigger waist than hips puts you at greater risk for heart and cardiovascular conditions and not to mention all the other issues that come with being overweight such as diabetes, arthritis, joint pain.

Image credit - Evgeny Karandaev - https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dumbells-tape-measure-healthy-food-notepad-copy-space-fitness-health-image47481934

2018 by The Nutritional Trainer © 

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