One of the best ways to set yourself up for weight loss failure is to only track your weight. Sure jumping on the scale and seeing the numbers go down is an accurate way of seeing if your body weight is lower.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re losing fat. It only means that your body weighs less or more than the previous weighing. Remember, muscle takes up less space than fat.
How Should You Track Weight Loss
There are many ways to track your weight loss, but since not everybody has lots of money to spare on expensive medical procedures, I’ll stick to the basics.
A Simple Tape Measure
I love using a tape measure to track my weight loss, it only takes a couple of minutes and the results are outstanding. I’m sure you’ve had those weeks where you did awesome with your workouts and healthy eating, but the scale just didn’t budge. That can be really discouraging, like why even bother if it’s not working.
They also have fancy digital tape measure out there, I’m sure those results are much more accurate than standard tape measure. Probably much easier too.
But it’s not always about weight. When we think about weight loss, what we’re really shooting for is to lose fat, shrink our bodies and possibly even increase our muscle a little. So stop relying on the scale.
You might have had a kick ass week, yet not lost a pound…but how much did you shrink your body? Did you turn some of your fat into muscle? How many inches did you lower your circumference?
See, that’s why you need to keep track of other things beside the actual numbers. The scale can be a lying ass clown, but your body won’t lie.
How often to do it: weekly
This only works with clothes that have not been worn while you gained weight. Clothes stretch out overtime and are no longer the same size they were.
As an example, I had dropped 60 pounds and bought 3 of the cutest tank tops ever in a large. I loved them and alternated between the 3 of them 6 days a week. So almost every single day, these were being worn…even while I gained back all my weight. One of them ended up getting ruined, so I jumped online and ordered another one in the same “large” size since they all still fit me—even though I gained 60 pounds (and a couple more) back. When I went to wear the top, I couldn’t even get it on. Yeah, it was that bad and utterly embarrassing.
The point of that story was to convince you to only use new clothes for an accurate measurement of weight loss.
Go to the store and try on enough variety to get an average size for your starting point.
Buy a few pairs of pants and tops you’re dying to wear in multiple smaller sizes and use those as reference points. Although I’m always hesitant to purchase clothing in smaller sizes because you never really know what shape your body will take on as it loses weight. To each their own though.
How often to do it: monthly
You know how some parents would make lines at the top of children’s heads when they stood against the wall to track their growth? You can do the same with a twist.
If you have a someone to help: they could just outline your entire body, your torso, your hips and waist or whatever else would give you a reference in pencil on a wall.
If you want to do it privately: grab two pencils and mark what you can without moving. Moving will distort the proportions and not net accurate results.
Now, once a month just redo the markings and see the results get smaller. Easy and a great visual.
Some ideas for where to do the markings if you’re trying to be inconspicious:
- The wall inside your closet (just remove the clothing first)
- Behind doors (like a bathroom, closet or bedroom door- when open, it just disappears)
- Garage wall or storage unit door
- Behind a dresser or bookshelf (this takes more work)
How often to do it: monthly
Before, During & After Photos
Everybody loves these, but not too many fat people like having their photo taken. What kind of sick people want pictures of fat people anyway? Just kidding. Sort of.
If you have a camera with a timer, you could take the photos yourself. Just set it up at the same distance and aim it for the same exact spot every time. Make sure that you are standing in the same place each time as well.
Digital is the way to go here, that way you don’t have to drop film off and then come back to get your pictures that you KNOW everybody saw. I would just die!
A really awesome thing to do with the photos, would be to do it every single day without fail and than you can create a video showing you drop the weight. You don’t have to put it online or anything, but it would be awesome to have as a personal reference and motivational tool.
How often to do it: daily, weekly or monthly
Last and Least- The Scale
Yeah, I meant to say last and least…opposed to “last but not least” on purpose. The scale only tells your weight and not what’s really going on in your body.
Sure they have fancy super scales out there that will tell your body fat, water weight and much else. But who really knows how accurate those are. The one below has over 2,000 reviews and is over 4 stars…but still I hesitate. Maybe I’ll get it one of these days instead of keeping it on my wishlist. Has anybody tried this? Love? Hate? Mixed feelings?
Use the scale in the beginning to get your start weight, once a month to track any reduction in weight and that’s sufficient. The scale should be used as more of a long-term measurement than anything else.
IF you’re not prone to discouragement, then you could weight yourself once a week…but NO MORE than that. Our weight naturally fluctuates throughout the day, each day and during each month (especially if you’re a chick).
These things can be discouraging when you’re busting your ass every day and not seeing the results you’ve earned. So chill out on the scale and focus on the above means of measurement for your primary results.
How often to do it: monthly or weekly if you can avoid discouragement
The bottom line: Scales are shifty buggers and there are many other valid and accurate ways to measure your weight loss success. Use as many of these as you can to keep yourself motivated, focused and on track to successful weight loss.
What’s your favorite way to track your weight loss results?
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