When it comes to weight loss, the scale is usually the first thing that people use to measure their success.
I won’t deny that the scale is a good tool to use as a starting point, as well as later down the road. But I believe the majority of us put too much emphasis on what the number on the scale says, myself included.
There are many ways to track progress. The scale is one of them but it’s NOT the only one. I hear too often from clients that they’re becoming discouraged with their progress because the number on the scale isn’t budging. And yes, that absolutely is discouraging BUT there are other ways to track progress. The scale is not all knowing and it doesn’t paint the full picture of someone’s fitness journey whether it be fat loss, muscle gain, or general health and well-being.
So here are a few ways to measure your fitness progress that don’t require a scale and will provide more encouragement than the scale ever could.
1. Fit of Clothing
How your clothes fit you is an indicator of your progress and also a great non-scale victory.
When you start to notice the waistband in your pants isn’t as tight or a shirt that was quite form fitting is now loose through the midsection, it’s a really great feeling. Or if you’re trying to gain size, noticing that you’re filling out your shirts more.
If clothing is fitting better or how you’d like it to, I’d say that’s a good reason for celebration and recognition that your hard work in the gym is paying off!
2. Body Measurements
When starting with a new client, I always do body measurements,, and re-measure every 6-8 weeks.
Why? Because even though they may not notice the changes day to day, over 6-8 weeks of working out and crushing their nutrition, there’s going to be a difference. And body measurements is a great way to show the difference and changes that are occurring to their body.
Being able to see a number (that’s not the scale), like losing an inch or 2 at the waist is a huge success! It’s a tangible measurement that is far more rewarding than watching the scale every day.
3. Before + After Photos
Before + After photos are probably my favorite way of tracking progress. A lot of clients that I ask to do before and after photos don’t exactly like the idea because they’re at a point where they aren’t confident in themselves or their body. But it’s such an awesome way to see progress.
We see ourselves every day, so it’s hard for us to truly notice the difference in our bodies each day or even every couple of weeks. So being able to look at a picture from the day that you started your fitness journey to 3 months later or ever 1 year later, you’ll notice a large difference. Which is inspirational, confidence boosting, and a reason to be proud of yourself!
4. Feeling Stronger + Better Endurance
This is another one that I think most people don’t think about too much as being a sign of weight loss success, but it is!
- are using more weight than you did when you first started, you’re making progress!
- can walk at a faster pace than before, that’s progress!
- are able to take less breaks in between your sets, that’s progress!
- can carry in all your groceries at once, that’s progress!
There are so many different ways to gauge your progress through strength gain and building your endurance.
5. Feeling Great!
Another great non-scale victory in your fitness journey is how you feel.
I’d say more than 50% of Americans (this is just a guess) actually feel like sh*t in their day to day lives due to lack of sleep, poor nutrition, little exercise/daily movement, stress factors, etc. But they don’t realize it because they think it’s normal to feel that way…but it’s not.
So when we introduce exercise and proper nutrition habits, you’ll start to notice that…
- Your sleep improves
- You don’t experience an afternoon crash
- Your energy levels and mood improve
- Your body doesn’t ache like it used to
- Your confidence and self-talk improves
- You don’t have as many cravings
- & so much more!
The next time you step on the scale and feel discouraged because of whatever the number may be, please remind yourself of the other measurables that are listed here.
Remind yourself that you’re on this journey for you and not for whatever the scale says. Look at before and after photos, take new measurements, go buy new clothes that fit the body that you’re in now!
Celebrate yourself and all the progress that you’ve made.