Feel like you are having a never-ending battle with your bathroom scale? Every time you step on it, it seems like you are getting absolutely nowhere, and your clean eating efforts and hours spent at the gym are a waste of time, as they are not getting you any closer to your goals. If the idea of weighing yourself on the bathroom scale causes you anxiety, then you might want to consider ditching it altogether. Here is why…
Your weight on the scale is just a number, and it doesn’t mean much more than that. The stress and anxiety most people face from anticipating what numbers will show up on the scale, can play a huge factor in whether your body stores or burns fat, as well as your self worth. There are many factors that influence your weight on the daily basis. When the numbers shows up higher than expected, the feeling of disappointment can be demotivating, and completely put you off from pursuing our body goals.
The number we see on our scales don’t actually give you an accurate picture of whether you are progressing or not for 4 reasons:
- Our body weight, especially for females, can seesaw on a daily basis depending on hormone levels. This makes monitoring progress numerically difficult and ineffective as a day-to-day measuring method.
- What we eat, drink and how much we work out during the day will affect the number that shows up on our scales.
- A new fitness regime including more weight training could potentially result in an initial weight gain, as muscle weighs more than fat.
- We can’t measure muscle tone or definition on a weight scale, instead we have to look at how our clothes fit us, and how we look without clothes on.
Here are 5 different ways that are much more reliable and will take away the stress and guesswork.
GET A DEXA SCAN
If you are a numbers’ gal, getting a DEXA scan is an accurate way of measuring body fat percentage, bone density, and lean muscle mass. These scans will also show you where you carry most of your body fat and give you and your trainer a good idea of how to structure your workout to get you better results. Track your progress by getting one at the beginning, and again at the end of your program.
TAKE A SELFIE
Taking a selfie with your smartphone is actually a great way of tracking the difference when undertaking any sort of body transformation.
Stand in front of a mirror and take a few snaps of yourself in underwear, a bikini or even just a crop top and shorts. Make a note of how you take the photos, in particular the angle of the shot. If you stand with the phone in front of your chest and the camera directed towards the mirror, you want to replicate that pose the next time so you can more effectively notice the progress you’re making.
In a 12-week program you should be taking a photo at the beginning, and then once every 3 weeks until the end of the 12 weeks. Each time wear the same outfit, and look forward to noticing the subtle (or sometimes more dramatic) changes that you don’t see while wearing your everyday clothing. The most significant changes happen around week 7 and 8.
You can use your clothes to mark your progress, especially jeans and work pants. They don’t lie! It will give you that extra boost when you look and feel great wearing something that was feeling a bit snug just a few weeks before.
Select a piece of clothing, try it on at the beginning of your journey and take a selfie. Try it on half-way through your program and then again at the end, taking a snap each time, and compare the results to the first photo.
Track your health instead of your weight by noticing your resting heart rate, your working heart rate how you feel, how you sleep, and how energised you feel.
You can download from a range of health tracker apps on your phone, or purchase a more expensive tracker like Garmin’s Vivofit. Slightly more advanced, these trackers can show your shifting health statistics and you get the added bonus of watching your heart rate change and sleeping patterns stabilise.
If you like to see results in black and white, you can always use the good old tape measure. Always remember the golden rule of measure twice cut once and this will help you avoid any mistakes.
Before you begin keep in mind to:
- Use a non-stretchable tape
- Make sure the tape measure is level around your body and parallel to the floor
- Keep tape close to your skin
Taking your measurements:
- Bust: Measure all the way around your bust and back on the line of your nipples.
- Chest: Measure directly under your breasts, as high up as possible.
- Waist: Measure at its narrowest point width-wise, usually just above the navel.
- Hips: Measure around the widest part of the hip bones.
- Thighs: Measure around fullest part of upper leg while standing
- Upper arm: Measure above your elbows – around fullest part.
I recommend retaking your measurements every two weeks and recording them in a diary or your phone. Don’t be discouraged to see your measurements at the beginning of the program, because when you begin to see results, you will feel pride and a sense of achievement.