HOW TO MEASURE PROGRESS WITH NON SCALE WINS
It’s been two weeks and you’ve successfully planned some meals, started lifting some weights, and stopped drinking so much of your favorite beer. You’ve made some big lifestyle changes, flipped your world upside down, and somehow get the soul crushing news that the scale hasn’t budged. I know how devastating this can be to your motivation - if you let it. Before you give it all up, know that the scale is not the devil. It’s just one of many tools to help gauge progress. When it isn’t telling you what you want to hear, its a great opportunity to look somewhere else to help keep your momentum. Here’s a couple non scale tools that can help redirect what progress actually means.
Are you getting stronger? Faster? Recovering quickly? These are all non scale wins that should be celebrated. You’re building lean muscle, strengthening your cardiovascular system, and becoming more efficient with recovery. These are all insanely beneficial attributes to a healthier life and the scale isn’t going to show this deeper foundation that you’re building. Be proud of each step forward when it comes to lifting more weight, covering more distance, and feeling more confident about your abilities to train. Journaling is a great way to see your training adaptations and progress over time.
Taking photos of yourself throughout your program is a great way to see progress and true body recomposition. Sometimes it is hard to see how far you have come without seeing where you started. This visual representation of progress is a great way to start seeing lower body fat and inches lost. Remember to try and take photos at the same time of day, lighting, and in the same attire. Every 3-4 weeks retake your photos and check out your progress.
Taking body circumference measurements is a great indicator of total fat loss. This can be measured in a number of different sites on the body (neck, chest, arms, waist, hips, thigh, calves). It is common to see inches lost in different areas with your weight remaining close to the same.
Even easier than wrapping yourself in measuring tape, go by how your clothes feel. There is no truer indicator of dropping body mass than your clothes hanging right off you. This can also be completely independent from the scale.
Seeing progress from a doctor visit should be a huge motivator. Even if you’re not seeing large jumps on the scale, the health benefits associated with your lifestyle change can be huge. Lowering cholesterol and combating high blood pressure are a couple easily measured tests that directly effect your risk for diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. It’s always a good idea to keep the doc happy.
Stop focusing on the one thing that may not be moving as fast as you wanted or expected, and start focusing on all the positive changes. Are you getting better sleep? Reaching step goals? Planning and prepping for the week? All the small things that you are starting to put into place are progress. Everything you do on a daily basis that is improving your health is progress. Taking a daily and even weekly audit of the things you’re actively doing is a great way to visually see the changes your making.
Before you let one metric derail what is often steady progress, take a look at some other ways to build momentum and measure success aside from the scale. There are so many places to find wins and things that you’re currently doing to be proud of. The key will always be adherence and consistency over time. Creating habits that will sustain a healthy and active lifestyle will always bring progress. These are just some ways to show how your persistence and patience pays off.