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Beyond the Scale:  How to Measure Progress

In part one of this series, we established that muscle and fat weigh the same.  We also learned how and why it is possible to weigh more but be more physically fit than someone who weighs less and appears to be overweight.  If you recall, it’s all about body composition and the density of muscle versus that of fat.

So, you’ve started exercising religiously and cleaning up your nutrition as well.  The scale isn’t budging, and you’re exasperated because you’re not getting results.  Sound familiar?  I promise you that anyone who has ever gone on a weight loss plan is vigorously shaking his/her head in the affirmative right now.  The problem isn’t with what you’re doing or not doing to lose weight, it’s with your choice of methodology to measure your progress.  The problem is the dreaded scale!


There are so many other ways to measure your progress that more accurately depict your true progress.  For starters, take before (or goodbye pictures as I like to call them because you’re saying goodbye to the person in that picture).  I know, this can be hard to do.  The last thing any of us wants to do is take pictures of ourselves in skimpy workout clothes when we’re feeling less than confident or comfortable in our own skin.  Am I right?  Like I always tell my clients though, not only will you want these pictures to see how far you’ve come, but this is one of the best ways to actually SEE your progress.  In this case, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.


Another option for gauging your progress is by taking your measurements.  Document your chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, and arm measurements at the start ofyour journey and at least monthly going forward.  To ensure the accuracy of your measurements, have the same person take your pre and post measurements.  The scale may stay the same or (gasp) even go up, but those inches could be going down!  That means you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.  SCORE!!


Goal Clothes

Finally, use your clothes to help you determine if you’re moving in the right direction.  I have a pair of jeans that do not lie to me when I’ve been slacking in the exercise and/or food department.  When they get snug, I know it’s time to dial it in and make some changes.  You can buy a pair of “goal jeans” and try them on monthly to see how they are fitting.



I have a running joke among my challengers.  We call the scale an evil, lying b*tch.  It will play mind games with you if you allow it.  It will discourage you from continuing your healthy lifestyle when, in all actuality, you are headed in the right direction.  I implore you to DITCH THE SCALE!!  Continue to fuel up for a fit life and do something active daily, and you will get results. 




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