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Why you should use multiple methods to track your weight loss

Young woman with loose fitting pants
Young woman with loose fitting pantsPetr Kratochvil - Wikimedia Commons

The simple bathroom scale. They cannot talk to us yet they speak volumes every time we step on them. They are often the first thing we interact with in the morning, and they can make or break our entire day. Yes, the simple bathroom scales have untold amounts of power over us. The scales judge us every time we step on them, and they can make even the most optimistic person shake with fear. It is important to understand that bathroom scales are not the be all and end all while going through your lifestyle change, in fact over using the scales can actually derail you, but it is still possible to have a healthy relationship with your scales.

A lifestyle change is about more than just weight loss

Before I started my weight loss journey I could not understand the obsession with bathroom scales, but soon after embarking on my own journey I discovered the thrill and the excitement the bathroom scales brought me when I found out that I had lost weight.

There is no doubt that seeing the numbers on the scale tumble can be very motivating, so much so that we can become dependent on it to start our day. When I decided to lose weight I started out weighing myself once every two weeks, and then once per week, but the psychological high that came from weighing-in made me increase my check-in sessions to twice per week, then three times per week, until I found myself weighing myself every single day, some days I would check my weight multiple times.

I quickly found out that weighing-in every day was not the way to go. I found myself worrying about my next weigh in all the time, obsessing about it after every bite of food I took. Weighing in every day can quickly become a major problem, especially when you weigh in one morning only to discover that you have gained a quarter, a half, or a full pound over the previous day.

Weighing yourself every day simply does more harm than good. You will find that you can quickly become deflated, and depressed at the sight of those numbers going back up, even if you know you can’t really gain a full pound in just one day. The all powerful bathroom scales you have can easily make you judge your self-worth, and can make you question the point of your lifestyle change, after all, you ate healthy meals all day yesterday but you still gained weight. The scales can quickly turn you into a defeatist, and you will start to think that you should have just eaten that Big Mac after all. Weighing in every day definitely creates a lose-lose situation.

Alternative ways to measure your progress

You definitely should not use a set of scales as the only way to measure the progress that you are making as you continue down the road to a healthier you. In fact they are probably the worst thing you can use.

There are many numbers that are far more important than your current weight. If you know your exact weight at any given time (except for the one day you do weight yourself), then you are worrying about your weight and the scales too much, and as we know this can be quite unhealthy.

Your lifestyle change covers so many different areas, and your overall weight is just one metric that can be used to help you judge how well you are doing. While losing weight might be your ultimate goal, there are many other metrics you can track to help understand the progress you are making in your lifestyle change. Just because the scales say you are not doing well, it doesn't mean that you are not. When it comes to making a complete lifestyle change, your overall happiness, how you feel on the inside, how your clothes are fitting, and just knowing that you truly are living a healthy life can go a long way when it comes to being happy.

As you continue on your journey, changes in your appearance will become more apparent as you progress, even if the numbers on the scales do not move. Take a look in the mirror and you will likely see muscle definition that you never had before, the clothes that you have been wearing for a while will no longer fit because of your shrinking body, and the ones that you previously could not wear will now likely fit you perfectly.

Instead of measuring your weight you should try tracking other measurements. The easiest way to do this is to grab a piece of paper and write down your current waist measurement, thigh, biceps, and chest measurements. As you continue to eat healthy foods and workout, all of these measurements will change over time. Ideally you should re-assess these measurements once per month.

Another great way to measure progress is to think about your overall fitness levels. When you very first started on your lifestyle journey, you probably struggled a lot more during exercise than you do now. If you have been exercising and are constantly beating the goals you have set yourself, or you no longer have to stop to catch your breath as frequently during your workouts, you know that you are making progress, so forget about those evil bathroom scales and those crazy numbers.

Everything has its place

At the end of the day all of the things listed here can be used to measure your overall progress. The bathroom scales definitely have their place, and they can play an important role in your lifestyle change, but do not measure your success solely off of what the scales tell you.

Stay away from the scales as much as possible. Remember that your weight is just one thing you can measure to judge your success. Weigh in once every 2 weeks (or less), use a mirror and your clothes to judge how you are changing on the outside, use your head to make good healthy choices, and use your heart to judge how you are changing on the inside.

If you are truly doing everything you can to change to a healthy lifestyle you will soon realize that you do not need the scales to judge how well you are doing. You can be your own judge, and you will likely get more accurate results.