Wellness Wednesday: Measuring Progress Off the Scale
Written by Kelsey Bowman, Program Intern
So you’ve been going to the gym consistently for a couple months and sticking to a healthy diet, but you haven’t stepped on the scale because you’re too nervous to see what that dreaded number will say. So you decide that you’re going to weigh in and see if all your hard work, dedication, and commitment to changing your lifestyle is paying off. You step on and wait for the blinking to stop and the number pops up and it’s not what you expected. Thoughts and questions start racing through your head…how could this be? I’ve been working out and eating a healthy and clean diet for months? The scale has to be wrong? I am so disappointed, should I just throw in the towel? What’s the point if my body is not changing? I am sure we all have had these thoughts race through our mind when we don’t see the number we want to see on the scale. So, in addition to weighing yourself, you should measure other indicators of progress. Here’s 4 to get you started:
Tips that you can use to help judge your progress other than the scale:
- Take progress pictures. You are your own worst critic when it comes to your body and you see it every day. You may not see change from a day-to-day basis, but if you take pictures from the beginning then you can go back and actually see the change. I suggest you take 4 pictures. Front view, both side views, and a back shot. Also try and wear the same outfit so you can truly compare.
- Every single one of us has one pair of pants in the back of our closet that is just a little too tight. After a solid couple months of exercising and resistance training whip those out and try them on. You’d be amazed on how they fit. If for some reason they don’t fit the way you want them to don’t go straight to a negative mindset, but flip it into a positive by working even harder. I call this method the “Barometer Pants Method.”
- Find a scale that has biological impedance. This determines the electrical impedance or opposition to the flow of an electric current through the body tissues which can calculate an estimate of total body water. Total body water can estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight and body fat. So if you step on the scale and it says you’ve gained 2 lbs check and see if your body fat percentage has gone down, if so you’re gaining muscle and losing fat!!
- Keep a journal and write down how you feel each day before and after exercising. Having a journal may sound dumb to some, but writing down your thoughts and feelings can really help people during their weight loss journey especially when they have good or bad days so there is always a reference to look back on and to see how far you’ve come!
So the next time you step onto that scale, think about all this and these tips and don’t let it define who you are or how hard you’ve worked. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you can change your mindset you’ve overcome what so many people struggle with every single day.