How to Track Progress Without the Scale
When you don't have aesthetic goals how do you track progress? It's easier than you think if you're willing to look outside the box a bit!
We've all seen the transformation photos on IG and felt some kind of way. Sometimes its a crazy difference and other times you're like did she just pull her leggings up higher?! Weight is one way to track progress and by far the most 'popular' but it doesn't tell the entire story.
Someone can be very thin and very unhealthy or overweight and very healthy, to be clear weight is not a determinant of health. Below is a graph of my client (a female in her 60's) weight loss journey from March to August of this year. There's only a 12ish pound difference, which may not seem like much to some, but her transformation is so much bigger than the difference on the scale.
So let's take a look at some of her body measurements, she dropped over 6 inches on her waist and 2.5 on her hips. Not a small feat at 60+ years old.
Not to mention the fact that her body fat percentage is down and her muscle mass increase has been incredible. She went from very little muscle definition and using 5lb weights to being able to bench press over 50lbs!
How many grandmas do you know that do Suspension Trainer Mountain Climbers?!
Another client of mine, a female in her late 20's has lost over 100lbs in the last 18 months working with me. Most of which has been FAT LOSS. How does this differ from pure weight loss? When you lose weight you can lose not only fat but muscle tissue and even bone density. This fat loss means she has lost mostly body fat, while gaining lean muscle mass.
I'm even more impressed by her waist and hip measurements!! Nearly 20 inches are gone from both! Why is this important? Women have a higher risk of heart disease among other things when they carry weight in their mid section.
I know these graphs are not as "sexy" or share-worthy as transformation photos, but they show you the possibilities without body comparison!
Each of these women has a different workout program, different diets, and different goals, but one thing they do share is DNA! That's right they're mom and daughter, and it's been so incredible watching their journey unfold. You may also notice that we stopped tracking measurements and weight in August, both are feeling so confident and strong and they no longer care what the scale says. It has no power over them, they're more focused on how many burpees they can crank out in 60 seconds and how heavy their deadlifts are getting! After YEARS spent yo-yo dieting that's a MAJOR win!
5 Ways to Track Progress without the Scale
Assign a number value from 1-5 or 1-10 to track quality of sleep, energy levels and mood! Check in with yourself daily or weekly to see how things improve the more regularly you commit to working out! One of my mom clients (with 2 kids under 3) used to down several cups of coffee in the morning & afternoon and now gets by with just 1 cup!
Face to Face: You'd be surprised how many changes you can see in just your face! Take close up (&makeup free) photos of your face 1-2 times per month. Look for changes in your complexion (do you have less acne), skin radiance (is it brighter or more even) and the whites of your eyes! All of these things can benefit from a regular exercise routine and not eating like an a-hole!
Perform an Activity Assessment: rating your level of exertion climbing a flight of stairs, or doing a timed mile test are great ways to track progress. Has your time improved? Is the same distance easier month after month? If you're lifting weights regularly (which you should be!) tracking reps, sets and weight used will also show improvement!
Confidence: How did you feel when you started this journey? Were you uncomfortable in your clothes? Avoiding social situations because of how you felt? Not being intimate with your partner? How has that changed since you started? You can assign a number value to this or just make note of your feelings day to day.
Test Bio Markers: Having blood work done may not be an option for everyone, but it is normally included in your annual physical (if you don't have one already now is a great time to start!!). Have your doctor check things like LDL and HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, Vitamin levels, as well as blood pressure, and resting heart rate. If you already wear a fitness tracker or smartwatch it typically checks it daily for you. You can see here my client's heart rate graph is a bit all over the place (stress from a job change/move etc played into this) but is overall down quite a bit!
You can always track things like weight, measurements, and progress photos, but for those that obsess over it or are working out because they enjoy it these are simple and effective ways to look for improvement over time.
Have questions or still not convinced? I do have a few progress photos from former clients at the bottom of this page.
Your journey is unique just like you, but if you're struggling to stick to a program or are tired of yo-yo dieting year after year, I may be able to help you. There's nothing *special* about these women other than they showed up, asked for help, and did the work. It's possible for you too, and I'm just an email away: firstname.lastname@example.org