The slightly irritating thing about weight loss is that you, as the primary person affected, can’t really watch it happening. Most of us will need some external input to let us know how fabulous we’re starting to look! But hey, what beats the string of compliments that come when you’ve really started to make progress? There’s a running joke in my family where they poke me or hug me and accuse me of wasting away; they’re all extremely proud of my effort and my progress and are all very supportive. You need support sometimes to carry through the cravings and other obstacles you might hit: like that darned plateau we talked about the other week.
MaggieMay pointed out that I haven’t discussed the art of measuring yet, which is lax of me because it’s important. In a short light-hearted comment string off the back of The Boring Plateau, MaggieMay and I talked about how it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. The big picture here being: your weight loss. There’s a lot of ways to keep track of your weight loss, but clearly most of us tend to favour the weighing scale.
Time to let you in on a little secret: the scales are the least reliable means of tracking your weight loss.
“So basically you’re saying I’ve been wasting my time and tearing my hair out for nothing?!”
Well, no, not exactly. As part of tracking your weight loss it should certainly be one of the tools you’re using. Just don’t forget that the scales literally only measure weight: they can’t differentiate between muscle weight and fat weight, and they certainly can’t tell if your shape is changing as you’re losing those extra pounds. What can help you keep track of those things is you and a measuring tape.
You’re going to want to take regular measurements – I do monthly ones, at the start of every month – of your waist, neck, and hips. I also measure my bust, because well…I hate bras that don’t fit comfortably. This isn’t just for the ladies, by the way; guys, you should be measuring yourselves too – no, that bit won’t be affected, trust me, you’ll be fine, – and measure your chest too! As you progress with your weight loss, you should be noticing that your clothes are getting loser and loser and aren’t sitting quite the same way they were before. That’s awesome: progress right there, no need for the scales!
Now, you can either keep track of this all by hand – and it’s always good to have a notebook with this stuff in it anyways, – but I like to use a little app called ‘BMI Calculator’. This app is awesome because not only does it calculate your Body Mass Index number for you according to height, weight, gender and age, it also helps you keep track of your measurements and calculates things like your Body Fat Percentage, Weight-to-Height Ratio and Basal Metabolic Rate. I use this app right alongside MyFitnessPal and this way I get a pretty good ballpark of where I’m at and where I need to go.
That’s the big picture: a combination of information that gives you a better overview of where you’re at and where you’re headed. If you keep track of that you won’t get so bogged down with the idea that you haven’t lost any ‘weight’ this week. Like MaggieMay said in her earlier comment, weight loss is weight loss, whether it’s 100g or 1kg, as long as it’s going down you’re doing fine. Just remember to keep looking at the big picture.