When working hard to lose weight and get in shape, it can be frustrating when the number on the scale doesn’t go down every single day. But did you know that progress is actually general downward TREND… AND you can’t always track your progress by the scale?
The number on the scale won’t always go down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off track. There are many factors that can cause your weight to fluctuate a few pounds here and there. So if you’re working out hard and eating right, but it’s not showing on the scale, don’t fret or give up! Your progress can show in more ways than one.
Reasons for Weight Fluctuation
There are SO many things that can affect your weight and make the scale go up or down a few pounds, even when you’re staying on track with a healthy diet and consistent workouts. Here are just a few reasons:
- The amount of sodium in your diet
- What you ate the night before
- The time of month
- When you go to the bathroom
- Starting a new workout program, especially strength training
All of these things affect your weight. You can even fluctuate up to 2-5 pounds in ONE day depending on when you weigh yourself. So, moral of the story: quit weighing yourself every day and turning into a stress ball when you’re up a pound or two for no apparent reason. If you KNOW you’ve been working out and eating right, there’s no reason to let this get to you. But to keep your sanity, make sure you track your progress in a few different ways.
How to Track Your Progress
Since you really can’t always trust the scale, here are a few things I recommend doing to really track your progress…
1.) Rules for Weighing Yourself – DON’T do it every day! You’ll drive yourself crazy with the one and two pound weight fluctuations that occur day-to-day based on the things listed above. Do it once a week at the same time (preferably first thing in the morning). Write down this number in a notepad where you will consistently track your progress.
2.) Get Your Body Fat Tested – You can do this with calipers at most gyms or get a more accurate reading in a dunk tank at a dunk tank facility. This is really the best way to measure your progress because ultimately, you want to lose fat, not lean muscle tissue. A body fat test will show if that’s what you’re actually doing.
3.) Take Measurements – While the scale may not always show your progress, your measurements will. In addition to weekly weigh-ins, take weekly measurements in the following areas and write your numbers down along with your weight:
- Waist: smallest part
- Hips: widest part
- Chest: at nipple line
- Arms: 6 inches from tip of the shoulder
- Legs: 6 inches from the inseam
3.) Take a Picture – A picture really is worth a thousand words. If you’re working hard, your progress will show. Taking a weekly picture can also motivate you to keep at it, especially when you start to see a difference. So when you take your measurements each week, snap a quick pic. For the best measure, take your picture in the same place with the same lighting and in a similar outfit.
Progress is a General Downward Trend
I learned this from my boss and mentor, celebrity fitness trainer Chalene Johnson, and it’s so true. We all have days when we overindulge or situations that throw us off track. Life happens. The important thing is that we get back on track. We have to remember the scale doesn’t have to go DOWN every single day to be making progress (and that’s why it’s important to track your progress). What matters most is forming healthy habits and consistently practicing them. You will get there – just keep at it!
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