It may seem that the only way to measure actual weight loss is with a scale (it’s literally made to measure weight). The problem with weighing yourself regularly, however, is that the number on the scale may not always be the most accurate to your actual progress. Big meals from the day before can tip the scale, even if they were 100% clean and low-calorie. Water retention and digestion are also factors in your total body weight.
So how can you be sure you’re making progress? Good news: these four methods are effective ways to measure how much weight you’re losing that are clearer and more effective than a scale.
1. Loss in Inches
One of the best ways to judge your weight loss progress is by keeping track of your waist, hip, thigh, and arm measurements. By taking down your measurements before your weight loss plan and tracking your progress weekly, you are much more likely to see visible results consistently. Weight fluctuates based on food density, water intake, etc. By ditching the scale for measuring tape, you can see results without worrying if water retention or digestive issues are responsible for a spike in your weight that day.
2. Body Fat Percentage
The weight on the scale can be deceptive—sometimes an increase in weight can actually be a good thing. If you like what you’re seeing in the mirror but the scale suggests you’re heavier, you may be gaining muscle but losing fat. Keeping track of your body fat percentage is a much more effective method of managing the weight on your body that is strictly from fat, and working on losing it. (Even if that means gaining weight in muscle). There are several ways to measure, like using a caliper or getting measured at a doctor’s office.
That pair of jeans in the back of your closet from a few years ago may be the only tool you need to track your weight loss. Taking a photo in your “goal” piece of clothing (whether you can button it up all the way or not) and keeping an eye on how it fits once a week is perfect motivation to keep slimming down. Once they fit (even if you had a big salad that day that would probably tip the scale), mission accomplished. The best part: you can go out to celebrate that they fit and show them off.
4. Physical Endurance
If you’ve been losing weight with a thorough exercise plan, a good way to measure its effectiveness is to keep track of your physical health stats. A healthy resting heart rate (between 40 and 80 beats per minute), strong mile time, and increased weight lifting ability are all examples of physical improvements resultant of successful workouts and increased fitness. While extreme dieting, starvation, and fad detoxes may lead to a lower number on the scale, they all are unhealthy methods of achieving results. By hitting long-term fitness goals, you can develop weight loss habits that are more sustainable and permanent. Push yourself harder by trying out fitness challenges that keep you on your toes.
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