5 Non-Scale Ways to Track Weight Loss Progress

5 Non-Scale Ways to Track Weight Loss Progress

People often consider the scale as the holy grail of weight loss and depending on what number they see, it can often make or break their day.

But did you know that many things can make our weight fluctuate? Here are some reasons why you might be seeing a higher weight on the scale than usual:

  • You’re constipated
  • You ate more saltier foods than usual
  • You just drank a lot of water
  • You’re on certain medications that cause your body to retain water, increase your appetite, or change your metabolism
  • You’re on your period
  • You weighed yourself at different times
  • Etc!

Instead of focusing solely on the scale, adopt a well-rounded strategy by using these five other techniques to monitor your progress: 

  1. Take Progress Photos. It’s selfie time! There is a reason why before-and-after photos are so popular on social media. It’s an easy way to see the progress you’re making overtime. Once a week, take a picture at the same time of day in similar lighting conditions and clothes. Review the pictures once a month and see if you can notice any changes!
  2. Notice How Your Clothes Fit. Certain clothes, (especially your pants) may let you know your weight is changing before the scale does. If your clothes are feeling more comfortable than they used to, or even feeling loose, your efforts are very likely paying off! No longer having to do ‘the dance’ to zip up your pants for the first time in years is a sign of progress.
  3. Use a Tape Measure. Although this method may be considered old-fashioned, using a tape measure is a more accurate way to see which individual parts of your body have slimmed down. Some areas you might want to track and record in a journal include your chest, hips, waist, thighs, and biceps. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see changes right away, this method may take longer to show dramatic changes! I recommend recording your measurements every month.
  4. Measure Your Body Fat Percentage. You’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat, which is true! So if you’re building muscle, you might notice that your weight on the scale has hit a plateau or even went up. There are home methods to estimate body fat, such as smart scales, however, accuracy varies for these products. One of the easiest and most accessible ways to measure your body fat is to seek out a certified personal trainer or registered dietitian, who will use body calipers to pinch the skin at various sites around your body, including the triceps, abdomen and thigh.
  5. Consider How You Feel. Regardless of what the number on the scale says, if you’re eating better, working out more, sleeping better, and managing your stress, you’ll feel it. Maybe you’ve noticed that you have more energy throughout the day or are in a better mood overall. Don’t overlook the power of feeling amazing!

Tracking weight loss is not only about the number you see on the scale. You can use some (or all) of the methods above to gain more insight on all of the progress you’ve made.

Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant