Three Easy Methods of Tracking Progress


Physiological it takes time to rid yourself of unwanted fat, and consequently psychologically that time factor can be difficult to deal with.

In a world where everything is at your fingertips and readily accessible, understandably I guess that’s why people turn to fad diets with the promise of faster weight loss, and a toned stomach inside the month, no not month, week usually. The reason you generally see a large drop in weight in some of those extreme/fad diets is that weight tends to be a manipulation of water weight along with simply less bulk in your digestive system.

If there’s one thing to bear in mind, it’s this… There is a maximum amount of fat your body can burn on a daily basis, certainly without losing muscle tissue, even if you completely starve yourself.

All this means is that choosing a more sustainable method will see your long term goals more achievable and without tracking certain parameters you'll never get a good picture of how things are working (or not working).

There's nothing more motivational than actually seeing results and knowing you're on the right course. With these three methods you'll get some pretty good feedback of what, if anything, you need to change.

The Scales

First up, it's everyone's favourite, the regular bathroom scales, that thing you step on roughly every two hours when you’re ‘dieting’. It does what it says on the tin, in that it gives you a number, and that number can be useful. If you’re quite overweight, or heavily overweight, seeing this number coming down is ultimately what you want to see over time, use it but try to use it in conjunction with the other methods and don’t get too obsessed by it.

For those of you in the enviable position of already being pretty lean and are training then the number on the scales is of less importance for several reasons, we might delve into that in a later article but used in conjunction with the following will give you a better idea of what's happening.

Tape Measurements

Ok so what we’re essentially trying to do is to build a bigger picture of what’s happening with your progress and tape measurements can do this in conjunction with the scales.

This should be pretty straight forward and if you don’t have one, they’re cheap to pick up. Simply wrap the tape around the body parts that you want to record, or ideally have someone else do it.

We recommend taking the following...
Arm (halfway between shoulder and elbow)
Chest (at nipple line)
Waist (at belly button)
Hips (at widest point)
Thighs (halfway between hip and knee joints)

Now here’s something to consider, if you’re in the obese category, some of these can actually look like they’re increasing, for example, if you have a substantial amount of fat in your mid-section and you’re losing fat, this can actually move further down, giving the illusion that your waist is increasing, have faith though because you’re also going to use…

Clothing Fit

Most people, both male or female if you’re overweight will always have an item/items of clothing you’ll gauge your current shape by. Be it jeans, a top or a dress, aside from shrinking in the wash these can be a pretty good guide at what’s happening.

As with regards having a lot of weight to lose and a few of the measurements going up, progress should be seen in the clothing fit, if measurements are going up, and clothes are not feeling looser then something needs to be re-assessed.

How regular?

So, let’s revert to the opening passage of this article, fat loss is slow, usually faster to start with but then slow, so very slow. If you measure too often you won’t see a lot of progress and mentally you’ll start to panic. Try once every two weeks and that should be enough to plot a trend.

A word about women.

I don’t see a lot of people talk about this but expect it to become a little more ‘common knowledge’ in the next few years I suspect. Wait for this now, it’ll blow your mind…Women are different to men.

Women have a few different complications that we men simply don’t have to deal with, men’s hormones tend to be pretty stable and as we get older simply just change on a slight downward trend.

Women, in complete contrast have hormonal changes weekly, and at a certain point in life simply stop, with plenty of roadblocks and side-effects along the way. Add to that things like birth control and it all becomes a little more complicated to say the least.

So if you take nothing more from this article please realise that changes in scale weight and/or measurements don’t always reflect fat loss. It’s quite possible that your nutrition plan is working fine but that water retention can be masking its effects. In tracking your measurements, try to ultimately compare at the same time in your cycle each month.

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