When people start a fat loss program, their usual way of measuring their progress is by stepping on the scale to see if the program is working.
But if you have ever been on a fat loss program, this way of measuring your progress can be VERY frustrating.
I’ve written about this before, THE SCALE LIES!!!
And even though you might not be losing pounds on the scale, does not mean your not making progress.
I very rarely weigh myself.
Because I know that stepping on the scale is more than likely not going to show me my progress.
So how exactly do I measure fat loss progress if I’m not stepping on the scale?
Here are 5 ways I track my progress when I am working towards losing fat.
- Before and After pics
Pictures NEVER lie and that is what I love about them. You see yourself everyday so it can be very hard to notice changes in your body, especially if they are small changes. By taking before and after pictures, you can compare and really see the progress you are making.I always take a before picture before I start any fat loss program just so I can really see the results when I am done. I like to take pictures every 2 weeks. Gives me enough time to actually see progress without it becoming an obsession. But you can take them as much or as little as you would like.Just be consistent the pictures.Make sure you wear the same type of outfit every time. I prefer shorts and a sports bra, but it is up to you.
And make sure that the poses are the same. So if you take a front, side and back for the “before” shots, make sure you do the same for all “after” shots so you can compare.
- Taking Measurements
Besides taking before and after pictures, this is my second “go to” way to show progress while on a program. One of the most common answers I get when I ask women what their goal is for a fat loss program is they want to “tighten up” or “tone up”.Basically, they want to not jiggle.Hey, I get it…I’m right there with you!The best way to show progress of your body “tightening up” or losing the “jiggle” is by taking measurements. The scale is not going to show this and if you are building muscle, you might see an increase on the scale before you see a decrease. This can lead to becoming very frustrating and quitting all together. DON’T!!! Take measurements, it will show you the progress you are looking for.
Make sure you take measurements from the same spots every time. On each body part make mental notes of “landmarks”, if you will, when you take the measurements. For example, with the stomach, I like to go right through the belly button. This way I know I am hitting the same spot every time and the numbers won’t be skewed.
- Body Fat Percentage
If your goal is to lose body fat, then one of the ways you should be measuring progress is by measuring your body fat percentage.We’ve all heard of the term “skinny fat”. Basically you can be categorized as “skinny” but your body fat percentage is high, and not only is this not something a lot of women want but it can be seriously dangerous to your health.By taking your body fat percentage, and keeping up with it as you go through your program, you can make sure you are actually losing fat and not just water and/or muscle. Both which are very easy to do and can show as a loss or “progress” if you just step on the scale.You can measure body fat percentage many different ways, the most common nowadays being on the scale. LOL…yes the one thing I am telling you to stay away from is the easiest way to measure. But if you step on knowing that the goal is to measure the BF percentage and NOT the scale weight, you should be fine. Most scales nowadays measure body fat, amongst other things.
You can also have someone use body fat calipers to measure. You want to make sure that whomever is taking the measurements knows how to use them and take the measurements properly. They can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing.
These are the easiest ways to track body fat percentages and to track progress. If you are looking for more in depth ways, you can find places, usually universities, that have very high-tech methods.
- How your clothes are fitting
One of the easiest ways to measure fat loss progress is by looking at how your clothes fit. Clothes that you wear every day or even clothes that you dream of fitting back into.Most of us have that one pair of jeans or piece of clothing that you dream about fitting into again. Besides looking at how your day-to-days clothes are fitting, which is a great way to track progress, I also like to have my clients measure with a piece of clothing they have been dying to get back into.For example, let’s say you have a pair of jeans that are 1-2 sizes too small (maybe even more), every week try them on. Then ask yourself, “Am I able to pull them up higher than last week?” If you can pull them all the way on but not button them yet, are you getting closer to buttoning them? If you can button them but they are extremely tight, are they getting loser?I had a client of mine do this with a pair of jeans she had been wanting to get back into. She started off only being able to get them just above her knees. Within 12 weeks she was able to get them all the way over her hips and was close to buttoning them. This did more for her motivation to keep going than anything a scale would ever do. She is now working towards getting those jeans buttoned!You can also combine #1 of before/after pictures with this one. Take pictures every time you try on those jeans or clothing.
Again, just another great way to track progress.
- Increase in Self-Image and Confidence
I would say this is probably the MOST important way of tracking progress.I’ve had, and still do have sometimes, trouble with my confidence and self-image. But one way I know I can track my progress, and I see it in my clients as well, is when my confidence increases. It’s amazing how just a little progress can make you feel that way and it’s awesome to see.Think about it.You see a difference in pictures, measurements, body fat or maybe you’re able to wear those sexy jeans again. Your confidence sky rockets and before you know it your seeing even more progress.
That positive outlook on everything going on is huge and can help contribute to even more progress.
As you can see there are many ways you can track progress instead of just stepping on the scale and maybe seeing the number you want to see.
Go ahead and try one, or maybe more, of these to track your progress. I think you will see the progress you want to see faster than you ever have!
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