Measuring Your Progress – are you a slave to the scales?

NEWSFLASH: becoming a slave to the scales will not help in your quest to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If you are one of these people who steps on the scales every morning, and I have been there, then it is best you break that habit early on.  There will be days when the scale does not move even when you are doing all your workouts and sticking to your diet 100%.  In fact, when you initally embark on a weight lifting routine, you may even see the scale go up as you start to build some muscle.  Don’t panic.

I know most people would like to see the scales going down as they want to lose some weight and if the scales do not move or move in the supposed wrong direction it can be very disheartening.  But remember this, (I believe) you are not exercising and eating healthy to be a certain weight, you want to lose fat and look better.  If you put on muscle, not only does muscle take up less space than fat and so you appear slimmer at the same weight but muscle is more metabolicly active so you need more calories to maintain your weight.  In this case the scales are not always the best way to measure your progress.    There are other ways you can measure your success, in conjunction with the scales, and I would advise trying at least one of these:

Before and After Photos:

Take a set of photos from the front, side and rear in swim wear, best if it’s a bikini.  But if you cant face that at less try some tight fitting clothes.  Photos do not lie and it will be rewarding to see how you body is changing.  Try to take a set of progress photos every 2 weeks and compare them – sometimes if nothing else is changing you will see some improvement in posture or shape.

Tape Measurements:

Using a measuring tape and noting the size of some key areas can be a good way of measuring success.  I would suggest chest, waist, umbilical, hips, bum, thighs and top of arms.  If the scales do not move but you have lost an inch on your bum I would doubt you’ll be unhappy.

Clothing:

I would think a lot of us have a piece of clothing we would either like to get back into or have bought in the hope of being able to wear, well now is the time to put that item to work.  One point I would make is that if you are a size 12 and the item is a size 6 that might not be the best item to select, try for an item one size smaller than you are now.  Try it on once a fortnight and you may be pleasantly surprised.  I find that hanging a lovely piece of clothing in plain view everyday that I can’t wear yet is an excellent motivator.

So there you have it 4 ways (scales, tape, photos and clothing) to measure your success.  It does take time for the body to adjust to a new lifestyle so be patient and don’t give up