Monday, June 17, 2013

The Dos and Don’ts of Tracking Your Progress

In my opinion, the number on the scale is far from the only thing that matters when you are following a weight-loss or exercise plan. In fact, if your goal is to look better, feel better, or improve your health, the scale really is a poor indicator. Still, most of us can’t help but take a peek to see the progress we are making. I know that for me, personally, I rely on the scale, as well as measurements I’ve taken, and progress pictures to try to get the full picture of how far I’ve come. I highly recommend doing the same.

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts that I (try to) follow:

Before/After Pictures

- Take multiple shots (of various angles). It helps track your progress best.
- Take your progress photos using the same poses as the “before” pictures.
- If possible, wear the same outfits (or a similar outfit) each time.

- Say “Oh, I’ll wait until I’m thinner” to take that first photo. You want to be able to see your FULL progress!
- Use a maternity photo as your “before” picture. I know this is a touchy subject, and yes, there are exceptions, but…in general, this isn’t the best
type of picture to use. You’re carrying water weight, your face may be bloated, and we can’t see what your waist really looks like. Don’t sell yourself short!
- Forget about your face! It loses weight too!

Taking Measurements

- Take measurements! Please! Sometimes you are getting smaller, even if the scale is painting a different picture.
- Measure several areas of your body. Arms, chest, waist, hips, and thighs are all good ideas. Some people do more, some do less.
- Make a plan of when to check your progress. Retake your measurements once a month, or for every 10 pounds lost, for example. Ever week isn’t necessary.


- Become too obsessed.
- Set unrealistic goals. Not everyone can have a 25-inch waist.

Weighing Yourself

- Weigh yourself NO MORE THAN once per week. Anything else is obsessive (I admit that I don’t always follow this advice.)
- Keep in mind that weight fluctuates. The scale can’t tell if you’re retaining water, gaining muscle, or PMSing. Don’t panic about small gains, especially if you are eating well. You’re making progress!
- Consider taking breaks from the scale. If you’re eating well and it’s just not moving, put it away for a few weeks. Rely on your measurements, and how your clothes are fitting. You’ll feel better. I promise.

- Let the scale define you. You are more than just the number it tells you.
- Try to lose too much weight too quickly.
- Weight yourself at night. Save it for the morning – AFTER you’ve gone to the bathroom.

I am not an expert, and these are just my thoughts. But nonetheless, I hope this tidbits can help you with your own journey.

Want a “Dos and Don’ts” list for a different area of life? Let me know J

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