Track Your Weight Loss Without Stepping On The Scales
The only way to see if you’ve lost weight is to weigh yourself – duh!
When you’re finally over your fear of getting on the scales, they can be a useful tool to track your progress.
But sometimes, even if using averages, the scales may be a little reluctant to move in the direction you want, leaving you frustrated at seemingly slow or stunted progress.
You see, the scales only measure weight - not changes in body fat, muscle or water weight - and all of these things can change week-to-week or even day-to-day.
You could be dropping fat, but it may be covered up by other goings on under your skin.
The good news is, there are other, easy ways to keep tabs on how your body is changing, so if the scales aren’t telling you what you want to hear, it may be worth getting a second opinion.
Does Weight Matter at All?
Weight does matter.
At higher body weights we are more likely to suffer with certain diseases and illnesses.
Plus, show me someone weighing in at 30 stone who wouldn’t feel better at 14.
But to some degree, weight doesn’t matter at all; it’s just a number we all think of as the point at which we think we will be happy.
Sometime’s that number may be absolutely right.
But when you buy clothes, the way they fit and make you feel is all about centimeters and inches and not lbs.
If you ever try on a wedding dress or fitted shirt, the fitter won’t plonk you on the scales. He or she will measure you up with tape.
Strange Things Going On
Your body is a fantastic machine, but it can play weird tricks on you – especially when you are trying to diet.
If you are exercising - especially weight training - you may build small amounts of muscle.
Compared to fat, the same weight in muscle takes up much less space on your body so you can quite easily lose inches around your waist while toning up your legs, but weigh the same.
And let’s not forget that levels of hydration, the food you’ve eaten - even the time of day - can affect your weight.
If you’re a woman, you may also have to contend with the menstrual cycle.
It’s Time to Measure Up
Taking the above into consideration, one way to get a clearer picture of your progress is to measure your body every couple of weeks and compare with any scale weight changes.
You’ll get a far clearer picture of what is happening with your body composition (posh term for the ratio of fat to lean muscle tissue) than one or the other.
The most frustrating thing about a diet is not seeing progress.
But you can get a crazy confidence boost from seeing half a centimeter disappear from your belly - even if the scales are refusing to budge.
Which Bits to Measure
Unfortunately, you can’t choose where body fat comes off first. With ladies, it’s usually the hips and thighs that are last in the queue, and for men, lower abs, and back fat.
But by measuring sites on the upper and lower body, you’ll be able to see if what you’re doing is working.
You can measure any part of your body, but here are four common sites and how to measure them.
- Chest: Place the measuring tape just under your breasts/pecs and measure around your torso while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
- Waist: Place the measuring tape about a finger’s width above your belly button (at the narrowest part of your waist) to measure around your torso. When measuring your waist, exhale, and measure before inhaling again.
- Hips: Place the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips/buttocks and measure all the way around while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.
- Thigh: Measure around the largest part of each thigh.
Do It Right
Now you know what and how to measure, here are some general tips to make sure you’re not wasting your time.
- Stand tall with your muscles relaxed and your feet together
- Ensure the tape doesn’t sag or lose position.
- Use a flexible measuring tape, such as plastic or cloth.
- Do it naked or wearing the same clothes each time.
- Measure yourself in front of a mirror to position the tape correctly or get someone to help.
- Use a birth mark or freckle as a reference point (they never move).
About the author: Ronny Terry is a personal trainer at Kiss Gyms Swindon. You can view his profile HERE