The numbers on the scale do NOT tell the whole story.
Make sure you have more than ONE way to measure your progress. I don’t own a scale, and my results & focus have never been better. For many women, the scale serves as a de-motivator: if they aren’t seeing the numbers they want (despite other evidence of change), they become apathetic, sabotaging, less enthusiastic and feel hopeless. Nothing kills results faster than those 4 bubble bursters.
Scales aren’t all bad, but they are also NOT the end all, be all of fitness & results. Other ways you can & SHOULD measure your progress include;
- Fitness level (can you do more pushups, squats, lift heavier etc). Even if you go from 1 rep to 3, that’s 300% progress.
- Inches & measurements. Have you lost inches? Do your clothes fit better? A pair of ‘tester’ jeans might be a better indicator than a scale.
- Body fat percentage. Probably the biggest indicator that you’ve made significant change. More so than weight.
- Skill. Are you getting better at something? That”s AWESOME.
- Confidence. Are you feeling better about yourself? Don’t let the scale tell you otherwise!
One of the easiest ways to measure progress is by using YOURSELF for comparison. Take a before pic! (It’s not too late). We get used to seeing ourselves every single day: you may not notice if you’ve made significant change until you visually see it. (Imagine the woman in the picture above? Would she have anticipated such a body transformation while watching the scale go UP?)
Note: perfectionists often feel like they should only celebrate once they hit their goal. Not true! There are opportunities for celebration at EVERY STEP along the way. Take ‘em! Trust me, it’s much more fun. If you hear that voice in your head telling you that you shouldn’t celebrate yet, KICK THEM OUT. As many times as it takes. :)
Unlike our after photos, before pics should be fugly (a little dramatic, but it”s true). Use some of the guidelines before to help take the ‘perfect’ imperfect before pic.
Guidelines For Taking The Perfect Before & After
- Show some skin! A proper before & after will show you ALL the changes you’ve made. If you cover up your body with a T-shirt, or long pants, you won’t be able to see the changes in your after photo. Wear a swimsuit, bikini, bra & undies/shorts, or something that shows off your body. The more you show now, the more you can show off later.
- Go LIGHT on the makeup & pull your hair back. When you’re taking comparison pics, it will be hard to replicate exact makeup/shading etc. (plus tans). Do your best to keep it natural. This isn’t Tyra.
- Remember that the pic is for your eyes only. Many people who take before shots don’t share them until they’re pleased enough with the after to show how crappy they looked before. I would have NEVER posted the awful day one photo I had from my Asylum challenge, had the after shots not been so worthwhile.
- Wear the same clothes for your before & after shots. Even if they don’t fit 100% properly, you’ll really see the difference. If they start to REALLY not fit? Time to restart your before and afters with a new workout outfit. And, YAY you!
- Despite your inclination to do your ‘skinny pose’ or suck in your tummy, don’t. Face the camera head on, arms by your side, at approximately eye level. Why cheat? The thinner you appear in the before, the fewer results you’ll notice on the after. That’s de-motivating, you deserve ALL those results! And for those of you looking to GAIN muscle, don’t push it OUT. Same rules apply. Be you as you are.
- Use a plain background, that’s well lit. This just makes for a better picture in general, but also doesn’t distract from your body.
- If you want, ZONE in on certain areas, but do this EVERY time you take pics. Thighs, bellies, arms, back. It’s good to get before and afters from all angles. This is especially true for your back, which you usually don’t see in the mirror.
- Take pics on Day 1, then every 2-4 weeks afterwards. The fitter you are, the more time you should take between shots. Don’t take pics every week. Unless you’re turning this into some kinda stop animation film, every 30 days is fine.
I stopped over focusing on the scale few weeks back, and even my goal of 115lbs does not even mean too much anymore. I just want to be healthy, toned, muscular… and let’s be honest - I want to look good naked! :-)