Measuring Weight Loss Progress
We all know how exciting it is to see the numbers on a scale decline as we make progress towards our weight loss goals. And we all know the stress and anguish caused when that number seems to get “stuck” on the scale for a period of time, or worse yet – goes back up!
Because of this roller coaster type ride of emotions, a lot of people will tell you to avoid the scale at all costs, that you should measure your success based on things like how your clothes fit, how you feel, etc. But even then, you’re going to have up and down periods that can have you jumping for joy one day and screaming in frustration the next.
So what’s the right way? Is there one? Well, the quick answer is yes – it’s both. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
As long as you can keep yourself from obsessing… I believe using both the numbers on the scale as well as other “non-scale” indicators can help keep you motivated along with helping you gauge your progress. The trick is to never take things at face value, but rather look at them in the context of your daily accomplishments.
There are going to be times along your weight loss journey, no matter what you do, where the numbers are going to stall… it could be a few days… it could be a few weeks. But it will happen. The human body is great at adapting. If your eating and exercise habits have been consistent, this can be a sign it’s time to change something up. This is where your health coach can help you decide on how to help you take the next step.
It could be as simple as adding a nutrition packed snack between meals, or maybe after checking some measurements you’ll find that your weight may not have changed on the scale, but it’s not because you have stopped losing fat – it could be from additional muscle gain. This is where the combination of scale and non-scale indicators play off each other. The numbers on the scale may not change, but maybe that pair of jeans that was snug a couple weeks ago is feeling a bit loose around the hips or thighs.
The opposite can be true as well. If you’ve been doing a lot of bike riding all summer, you may have built up enough muscle to make that pair of jeans just a bit more snug.
And maybe the unthinkable does happen – the number on that scale creeps up a bit. It’s not the end of the world. Instead, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax for a moment. Then it’s time to go back and take an honest look at your eating and exercise routine for the last few weeks. have you maybe been grazing more than you really care to admit? Are you not getting to the gym as often as you were? If you haven’t been keeping a food journal, it’s time to do so again. That in itself may keep you “honest” enough to get yourself back on the losing track again.
The bottom line is to realize it’s not the end of the world, things like this are speed bumps, not road blocks. And talk to your health coach, we’re here to help you through the rough spots, so we can celebrate the victories together.