How Do We Track Progress without the Scale?
by Karen Kondor
Common question. And, a reasonable one, given that society has us believing that the number on the scale is the be-all-end-all, and is tied strongly to our worth as human beings.
I have some clients who weigh themselves daily, and others who rarely weigh themselves. Sometimes that’s their choice - because they know the scale triggers them, or they know that the number is not a daily necessity for progress to occur. Sometimes it’s because I tell a client that they are not allowed to weigh themselves unless I ask for it - because it’s a trigger for them and completely messes with their mind, only serving to be counterproductive in the coaching process. I’ve gone so far as to tell clients to get the scale out of their house!
I weigh myself (almost) daily, but only for the purposes of collecting data. I’ve noticed such things as how my body reacts to Advil (up 2lb the next day), a take-out meal (up a few pounds, and takes several days to come back down), less movement (up a couple of pounds until I get regular movement in again), high stress (up a few pounds before sllloowwwllly returning to normal), a tough workout (up 1-2 pounds for a day or so), less than decent poop the night before (scale is up), car or air travel (see “less movement” above).
Moral of the story: there are eleventy billion reasons why the scale is an asshole. So, you do NOT need to use the scale as a benchmark for progress.
Other ways to note progress in your body composition goals:
Quality of Life
Do you spend less time thinking about food? Are you overeating/restricting food less frequently? Do you have more energy to play with your human for fur kids? Are you able to concentrate better throughout your work day? Are you able to go further on your daily walk? Do you have a better libido? Are you sleeping better? Do you have fewer mid-afternoon energy crashes?
How your Clothes Fit
And, don’t just judge this by the clothes you wear now. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to pull out that pair of jeans, that dress shirt, or little black dress that you haven’t worn in a while, and see how those feel on your body. Maybe you’re looking to gain muscle, and your clothes fitting more tightly is a celebration and proof of progress! Maybe you’re looking to lose inches, so clothes fitting more comfortably is your celebration and proof of progress.
(Pro Tip: if your coach is not regularly asking you to track these, find a new coach): How much sleep do you get each night, and what is the quality of your sleep like? Are you less hungry between meals? Are you recovering better between workouts? What is your overall energy level like? Do you experience fewer digestive issues? Are you coping better with stress?
Finally, be aware
If you have been eating in a chronic caloric deficit, and/or on-again-off-again dieting, it might be wise to create some stability and a foundation to work from by reversing out of that deficit for a bit. Attempting more fat loss might need to be put on hold until things stabilize. And, if you go this route, that may result in the number on the scale doing things you don’t like. It’s temporary…and all the more reason why we need to focus on all of the other things besides the number on the scale.
The coaches at Motivateandbfit are here to help you shift your focus to see and understand the myriad of benefits that working on your health and wellness can create for you. Reach out any time!
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