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Better ways to track progress than the scales!

Joe Wicks calls it the sad step and I have to agree with him. The scales aren’t really your friend.

Yes, they can be a good starting point and if weight really is an issue for you then by all means use them to track your progress against. BUT, don’t do it excessively. I had a client who in our first session showed me her weight recordings – she’d done it once a week for the past 4 years! We worked on changing her mindset, so that those recording only happened at set points about 12 weeks apart.

Why weighing yourself really isn't the best option: your body weight is affected by so many factors and it’s simply impossible to keep the exact same conditions every time you weigh yourself. So you’ll see yourself fluctuate on a daily, hourly basis. It depends on what you’ve eaten the day before, what your bowel movements have been, how much water you’ve drunk, how much sleep you’ve had… and the list goes on. Yes, you can do the measurement at the same time each morning, before breakfast and after going to the toilet, but there are still going to be ups and downs. This number on the scale is therefore going to pay a toll on your mental wellbeing. One day you’ll be ecstatic that you’ve lost a lb and the next, depressed that you’ve gained 2lb. Please don’t get caught up on a lb rise and fall – it’s such a minuscule amount it’s not worth bothering about.

So what could you track? Well, some options could be:

  • Take progress photos – get someone to take front, side and back photos of you in your underwear/swimsuit at the start of your journey and then periodically along the way – this will depend on what exercise/nutritional changes you’ve made and how quickly you feel you’re progressing but maybe aim for every 8 weeks.

  • Do tape measurements – measure at key points such as round your belly button, hip bones, widest part of your bum, each thigh, each upper arm. Then again do these measurements periodically. There are some online calculators that you can key your measurements into and they’ll give you an indication of your body fat percentage.

  • Head to a Boots or your doctor’s surgery where they have bio-impedance scales that measure your body fat.

  • Find a pair of jeans or a dress that you really want to get back into and try it on every now and again and see how close you’re getting.

  • Simply base it on how you feel. Not scientific I know, but if you’re doing the right thing then you’ll begin to feel more energetic and you’ll feel your muscles/skin tone and strengthen up. Just this will lift your mood and make you feel like you’re on the right track.

You may well have other goals other than your fat loss/ ability to fit in smaller clothes, so don’t forget about other things you could measure such as your strength, endurance or your flexibility. In these circumstances, monitoring your progress by weight lifted, reps done, time spent doing certain activity or how far away you are from your toes, will be worthwhile.

Let me know how you measure your progress and if you need any help working out what you should be doing then just get in touch.


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