Fitness Tips: measuring progress – without a scale (repost)

Reposting as a reminder to myself since my scale is out to lunch.

Well, that was a huge disappointment. I finally bit the bullet today purchased a replacement battery for my Weight Watchers scale. I’m inclined to think that the scale is not accurate. I know I’ve lost weight. I can feel it in my clothes. I know my bath towel feels a lot bigger around my hips. When I sit in my recliner or office chair, I have more wiggle room. I KNOW that my body is changing, even if the scale tells me otherwise.

This is partially why I decided not to replace the battery for so long. Because when you step on the scales, you don’t get the full story of just how much progress you’ve made in your fitness and weight loss journey. The scale only tells you part of the story.

When the question comes up in my the fitness group that I moderate: how often should I weigh myself to see progress?

I tell them not to bother with the scale. There are other ways to measure your progress with weight loss without having to even step on the scale. Unless of course you’re a numbers person like I am and want to obsess over every last detail.

You don’t need to.

Here are a few ways that you can measure your progress without a scale. Trust me, this will save you a lot of grief and disappointment. When you can feel your body changing – just keep in mind that there is a lot going on inside.

1 Use a tape measure

This is my go to for monitoring weight loss progress. Invest in a tape measure – you can get these from anywhere. Amazon, or even Walmart in the sewing aisles. I use one that my mum had given me with a sewing kit years ago. It’s frayed and almost time for a new one.

I strongly recommend measuring yourself only once a week or you will start to obsess over it. Pick a day – like Sunday morning and measure yourself before you eat breakfast or hop in the shower.

What to measure:

  • Bust and Underbust / Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Arms
  • Calves (I skip this one)

Here’s a good video from sheaftiness to help you learn how to measure yourself. This video recommends that you measure yourself every 30 days. If you can’t wait that long – aim for every two weeks.

Next, you will want to set a realistic target for yourself. Are you wanting to fit into your old skinny jeans again? Or maybe you’re just hoping to drop a few pounds before bikini season?

I swear by charts like this one – it helps to figure out how many inches I need to lose to be a certain dress size. Note – that different brands and manufacturers use different size charts. If you’re ordering clothes online – always, refer to their specific size charts – especially for women.

2 Don’t have a tape measure? Use a bath towel

I love plush bath sheets for when I climb out of the shower. They feel so good when wrapped around my body – especially on a cold winter’s day. I tend to buy the biggest size I can get. I lucked out with a couple of bath towels from Amazon that feel so soft when I pull them out of the dryer.

So, even if my scale says that I haven’t lost  more than five or ten pounds, I know that I’m losing inches because when I wrap my bath towel around me, it feels bigger. Two months ago it was almost too tight. Now – I can wrap it around my chest more than ever before.

While this may not be as exact as a tape measure – you can definitely measure progress with a towel.

3 Your clothes are loose in the legs or too big in the waist

I know I’m losing weight because many of my pants that were tight before are now way too loose in my legs. I’m building muscle which might attribute to the minimal different I see on the scales. Shirts that were too tight are now fitting better in the chest area and I have room to breathe.

The other night I picked up an old pair of jeans that haven’t fit me in two years. I slid them on easily without even opening up the zipper. The legs even feel too big on me

Trying on old clothes is a good way to see how much weight you have taken off. While you may not be dropping pounds – you might be losing inches.

The lard works in mysterious ways. Don’t fight it. Just go with it.

4 Weekly Selfies

Some people swear by taking weekly selfies to monitor progress. I’m not huge on sharing pictures of myself at all online, let alone taking weekly selfies. But this really is a great way to monitor your progress.

If you don’t want to take weekly photos, take a photo at the beginning and at the end of your weight loss journey.

The transformation you will see at the end will blow your mind. Here’s a great story from – a terrific resource for fitness advice.

5 Go by how you FEEL

As you drop more weight and build stamina, you will notice a great difference in how you feel. You might have more energy. You might sleep better. Your skin might suddenly clear up. You might feel motivated to keep pushing yourself. You may even want to try new things and live a life that you didn’t think was possible.

Things that were once out of reach will seem like a real possibility because you’re in better shape than you were before. Like climbing the stairs or going for long walks. Or take a trip to the beach and wear a swimsuit in public.

A lot of people that I’ve talked to over the years in fitness groups, mention that their sex drive increases as they lose more weight. This is a good sign.

Once you start feeling better and have more energy, others will pick up on the change and start commenting. I know I’ve made progress because people have told me that I am slimming down. Even before I could see it. Which makes me think my scale is out to lunch. Even with a new battery.

Keep a Journal or Blog it

As a writer, I can’t stress how important writing things down can be. Document your journey. Six months or two years down the road, you might forget how much you weighed when you started. Keeping an accurate record of your progress is crucial.

Here are a few ways you can do this- and here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  • Keep a private journal – write it down on paper
  • Start a blog and share with your friends
  • Join a fitness or weight loss group
  • Find an accountability partner or friend to help keep you motivated
  • Find a workout partner if you’re shy to join a gym or class on your own
  • Don’t obsess over numbers – this will just stress you out
  • Find things that you enjoy doing – so you will want to do more of them
  • If you’re feeling down in the dumps – just visit my blog – and leave a comment. I’ll try and help motivate others by sharing my own experiences.

As always, thanks for reading. I love to hear your comments and thoughts. I am getting hit with a lot of spam comments. But I do read each one that comes through.

Let me know if find these tips helpful or if you have other ways of monitoring your progress.

What keeps you motivated when the scales tell you no?

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