Many of us regard the weighing scale as the holy grail of fat loss. More often than not, the scale becomes an important item in our sacred fitness ritual that starts off with us muttering a few prayers before hopping on the weighing scale, and depending on the numbers that appear, it’s a toss between jumping off the weighing scale with glee or slumping your dejected self onto the couch with a new container of Pringles to go with your favourite Netflix show.
When it comes to weight loss, many of us depend on just the weighing scale to measure and keep track of our progress by monitoring how quickly the numbers on the scale change. While it may be a good indicator of where you rank in your quest for weight loss, placing your entire faith on these scales may not be the best of ideas. The digits or analogue pointers on your scale merely make up half the equation and does not reflect your true progress or reveal the entire story, simply because it neglects other external factors such as lean mass gains or fluctuations in water weight.
When trying to keep track of your weight loss progress, the number game can be rather misleading. Instead of fixating over what the scale tells you, try improving the accuracy your fitness tracker by implementing some of these well-rounded tips and approaches.
Snap Progress Photos
Snapping a couple of photos can be a horrifying experience for some, especially when you are out of shape, downright chubby and schlubby or simply because you hate the sight of a less than stellar regular you. However, as painful as the experience may be, having a visual of where and how you started is highly imperative. Because you see yourself in the mirror countless times a day, all day and every day, it is almost impossible for your dreamy eyes to notice the minute changes your body is going through. Furthermore, if you take into consideration other factors such as your bodyweight distribution, mass gains in the form of lean muscles and water weight, banking on a pair of flashing numbers to determine if you are on the right track towards your fitness goals appear to be highly arbitrary.
Cue the still-shots of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ you! By starting your journey with snapshots of your front, side and back view, these photos will provide you with the much-needed degree of contrast, allowing you to sit back and visually review your progress a couple of weeks down the road. Keep taking a couple more shots every week or two to track and further motivate yourself into staying on the path of glory. For better tracking accuracy, avoid tucking in your stomach or pushing your gut out. Just maintain a relaxed position when taking these photos and most importantly, keep to the conditions in order to achieve the most accurate visual reflection of your progress over time. This entails snapping your photos at the same time of day, donning the same outfit as well as utilising the same exact lighting and angles.
Deploy A Measuring Tape
While the plummeting number on your weighing scale may be a sign of progress, it is important to note that not all weight loss equates to fat loss. Sometimes, a tool as simple as the measuring tape can be effective in determining if you are leaning out or packing those muscles. You may want to consider keeping tabs of the inches of certain body parts such as your biceps, thighs, hips, shoulders and chest, among others.
Moreover, being fully aware of your measurements can do more than just helping you sculpt a proportionate physique — it can serve as a warning notice for certain complications so often associated with obesity, such as stroke, diabetes and heart disease. A clinic study published in the European Heart Journal reported that both waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were closely linked to heart disease risk. The report indicated that women with a waist-to-hip ratio of more than 0.85, and men with one crossing the threshold of 0.9, are at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Stack ‘Em Weights
Rather than obsessing over getting the numbers on your scale to drop, why not try increasing them? In the form of weights, that is. Upon kickstarting your fitness journey, don’t forget to set some time aside to jot down your strength benchmarks. How much can you squat? How heavy can you deadlift? By establishing a ballpark baseline of your strength, you can go on to set a realistic number to achieve in terms of strength gains.
Put on Your Old Clothes
After living the fit life for a while, there comes a time when you feel as though your body has plateaued and your progress appears to have come to an abrupt halt. Draw open your wardrobe and try on some of your old clothing to help you regain perspective and remind yourself why you started in the first place. By redefining progress and expanding your perception beyond the numbers, you have practically prime yourself up for success — even when the numbers on your favourite bathroom scale begin to waver.