If you’re on a mission to lose weight this summer – stop right now! Stop before you reach for the scales which, let’s be honest, not many people like doing, think about how you might react to the result.
Will the number you see totally consume you? Will you worry what your trainer or others might think? Or – like many – will it lead to an emotional roller-coaster because weight loss results are not always straight forward?
Miriam Jones, training, mentoring and regional manager of Barre Body, said it’s better to avoid the scales all together.
“Scales can be so deceptive,” she told The New Daily.
“If you’ve had a lot of liquid, you’ll be heavier. If you’ve lost muscle tone, you’ll be lighter. Scales don’t tell an appropriate story and can be just another tool that makes people feel as if they’re not good enough.”
What’s more, your weight fluctuates with food intake, fluid retention and even your bowel motions, not to mention the fact that scales weigh everything from your bones to your organs, skin, body fat and muscle.
So, instead of weighing in, here are five other ways to scale your weight loss.
1. How do your clothes fit?
If your favourite clothes are starting to feel loose or baggy, it’s a sure sign you are dropping some kilograms. However, rather than focusing on coming down a clothing size, Miriam suggested using one piece of clothing as a benchmark. “Perhaps it’s a pair of jeans that have been feeling a little tight. Try those jeans on every few weeks as a better way to track your weight loss progress,” she said.
2. Have you noticed a change in your energy levels?
Pia Therese, personal trainer and founder of Melbourne Fitness and Wellbeing said weight loss for most people means more exercise and less calories.
“This can make some people initially feel lower in energy,” she said. “However, if you make room for exercise in your schedule and also ensure there is sufficient down time and rest, as well as more nutritious foods, you can often experience increased energy levels.”
3. Are you sleeping better at night?
One of the biggest benefits of exercising and losing weight is improved sleep quality. Research shows people who exercise at least 150 minutes a week, sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those who don’t exercise much.
4. Why not use a tape measure?
Using a tape measure to track your progress every four weeks is an accurate way to review your weight, Pia said. Key areas to focus on include your:
- Arms: measure the circumference of your arm, 15cm down from your shoulder;
- Stomach: measure your abdominal girth just over your belly button;
- Glutes: measure around the middle of your butt; and
- Thighs: measure the circumference of your thigh, 25cm down from your hip on each leg.
5. Has your endurance and strength improved?
Having the ability to exercise longer and feel stronger is one of the ultimate benefits of weight loss. Put simply, the less weight you carry, the easier it is to move and the better your endurance becomes.
“Once you are happy with your weight, you can focus on building muscle, then – in time – your strength will increase too,” Pia concluded.