We get so obsessed with the numbers on the scales but they only provide a small piece of the overall picture of your health, wellness and progress. Your weight alone doesn't tell you anything about how your body composition e.g body fat and muscle is changing. It just shows that you are gaining or losing 'something', but what?
This beautiful friend of mine who started as a client on my 6 week Body Transformation Plan, weighs exactly the same in both photos! Surprised? ….
It is indeed possible to drop body fat, but build lean muscle, so although your body shape changes dramatically, the number on the scales may not budge much at all.
As you work out, you are building lean muscle which weighs exactly the same as fat but is leaner. If your clothes are looser but the scale is the same, this is because of the lean muscle you have built.
Building lean muscle has lots of benefits. Did you know building muscle will help boost your metabolism so you can burn fat even whilst you rest? Hooray! A must for us all, but particularly for women in their 40s and 50s when our metabolism can significantly slow down during the menopause stages.
So, how should you track your progress?
Firstly, take weekly progress photos. Decreasing numbers can be motivating, but ultimately nothing makes you spring out of bed into your gym clothes more than when you see your reflection in the mirror changing positively. So, even if you really do not like how you look right now, take a 'before' photo and hold onto it. A few weeks and months down the line, you will be thrilled that you did when you compare the difference! Here are mine at the start then week 6 and then week 12 and of Sean's 12 week journey too. Quite powerful, hey?!
Some tips for taking your progress photos:
Take them weekly at the same time, preferably in the morning, after you have been to the loo and before eating or drinking.
Take a photo of you front, side and back.
Show as much skin as you feel comfortable with. A bikini for the gals and shorts for the guys works best.
Use a good camera, and if it's your phone camera then make sure you have cleaned the lens and check lighting and ensure the background is clear and uncluttered.
Save these pics onto a folder on your phone or computer, so you can find them and scroll though them easily to check your progress regularly.
You can also take weekly body measurements. The size of your waist it is a reliable indicator of fat loss or gain. Take measurements around your bare tummy, across your navel, making sure the tape is not slanting and is snug against your skin but isn't pulled too tightly that you can see the skin indenting. Exhale as you take this measurement. Do not hold your breath or suck in!
You can also measure your hips, by measuring around the widest point between the bottom of your buttocks and your hip bone- normally in line with the top of your pubic bone.
You may also want to measure your thighs, and your flexed arm around the peak of your bicep muscle when tensed. You may need some help with this!
Make sure you take the measurements in the same spot each week.
Use clothing as a gauge
I also think a measuring piece of clothing is a great idea to try once a week. So, grab a pair of trousers or skirt etc that you would love to get back into. You perhaps can not get them past your hips when you start, but then after a few weeks, they slide up, but you cannot zip them up, and then the glorious day arrives when you can do them up too! Wooohoooo!!! VICTORY!!!!!
How to weigh properly
If you are unyielding in giving up the scales, then I suggest you weigh daily, first thing in the morning, after going to the loo and before eating and drinking. You then take the average by adding all the figures together and deviding by 7. You then record this figure. Why? Because this gives a more accurate reflection as our weight changes daily due to our hydration levels, hormone changes, fluid retention after eating salty food and whatever you have in or has come out of our digestive tract! Averaging our weight change across the whole week gives a better reflection, than just one snap shot on one particular morning.
I appreciate this can all sound like a bit of a palaver, but if you don't tack your progress, you are unlikely to succeed at your weight loss, or muscle increase goals. Instead, you are likely to get very demotivated and give up. Tracking is in fact a very satisfying and rewarding part of the journey. It's so exciting and motivating to see real numbers changing for the better and to review earlier photos to see just how far you have come and how worth while all that hard work and consistency has paid off!
Do message me if you would like any further help with your weight loss of body composition change.
And finally, a shout out to my friend Anna! Doesn’t she look incredible! What a journey!