People often consider a scale as the holy grail of weight loss. They jump on it, look at the number, and then measure their daily, weekly, or monthly progress based on how quickly that number changes.

While it's nice to have an idea of where you are, just relying on the scale is a mistake. From water weight fluctuations to lean mass gains, weight does not tell the whole story. Instead of being obsessed with balance, take a balanced approach by implementing these five other ways to track your progress.

1. Take pictures of progress
As uncomfortable as it may be to take a picture when you feel chubby, or downright enormous, knowing where you started is essential. It's easy to let the scale be the queen, but when you consider things like water weight, lean mass gains, and body weight distribution, count on a single figure to decide if you're in the good direction seems arbitrary. Since you see yourself every day in the mirror, the changes can be almost imperceptible.

The photos give you the degree of separation needed, which allows you to step back and think weeks later. When you start your fitness journey, start by taking pictures of your front, side and back. Every few weeks, take extra photos. If you are looking for accuracy, there is no need to enter your intestine or push your stomach out. Just stay relaxed and keep the same conditions to best reflect your visual progress over time. It means wearing the same outfit, taking pictures at the same time and using the same angles and lighting.

2. Testing the maximums
Instead of relying solely on reducing numbers, try to increase them - in the form of weights, that is to say. When you start your journey, take the time to test your strength benchmarks. How much can you lift? What do your squat numbers look like? By having a rough idea of your basic level of strength, you would know what numbers are achievable.

You will also be able to set progressive goals that will help you stay on track. Applications like BodySpace make it easy to connect the weight used for a specific number of repetitions and sets. Following your progress assures you that you are going in the right direction.

Bonus: If you take notes, looking back where you started can give you the motivation to increase your numbers once again.

3. Uses a tape measure
You could take numbers on the scale as an indication of progress, but not all weight loss is fat loss. To see if you are leaning up, a tape measure can be a more effective tool. Some areas to follow on your body are your chest, hips, waist, thighs, biceps and shoulders.

Knowing your measurements could do more than just help you build a proportionate physique. Where you store the majority of your fat can also serve as a warning sign for complications related to obesity, including diabetes, stroke and heart disease. A study in the European Heart Journal, for example, found that the waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference were positively associated with the risk of heart disease. [1] Women with a waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.85 and men with a ratio greater than 0.90 are at higher risk.

4. Measure your body fat level

Just a little pinch can tell you a little about your weight loss progression. Skin fold measurements estimate the percentage of body fat based on the amount of fat that you have located just under the skin. While the results can be up to 6% out, using the same method every time and watching the trend of percentage loss - rather than just the number - can help you track your fat loss progression. [2]

5. Try your old clothes
When you have lived life in shape for a while, but you feel like you have reached a plateau, trying old clothes can help you find a new point of view. Maybe you have not reached your goal of weight loss of 40kg in a year, but you swim in your "big jeans". It's progress!

By redefining progress and broadening your vision beyond numbers, you prepare for success, even if the numbers on the scale change.Les références

  1. De Koning, L., Merchant, A. T., Pogue, J., & Anand, S. S. (2007). Waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio as predictors of cardiovascular events: meta-regression analysis of prospective studies. European Heart Journal, 28(7), 850-856.
  2. Peterson, M. J., Czerwinski, S. A., & Siervogel, R. M. (2003). Development and validation of skinfold-thickness prediction equations with a 4-compartment model. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(5), 1186-1191.

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