When it comes to weight loss, the scale can make or break your success. If you step on it and read a number you like, it can instantly improve your mood. One the flip side, an increasing or stagnant weight can make you feel discouraged. But the scale isn’t always the best way to measure your overall progress. Sure, it shows how much you weigh, but changing your body goes beyond achieving a lower number. Instead of using the scale to see how far you’ve come, use these five non-scale victories to measure your progress.
1. See how your clothes fit
One of the best ways you can tell if you’re losing weight is by seeing how your clothes fit. Instead of relying on the scale, try on your favorite pair of old jeans or an outfit that you used to love. If they’re less snug than they were before, that’s a clear sign your hard work is paying off. FitDay explains your clothes may fit looser even if the scale doesn’t budge since you may be increasing muscle mass. This is particularly true for those hitting the gym extra hard.
2. Measure your body fat percentage
If you’re looking to lose weight, you’re really looking to lose body fat. So, what better way to keep track of your fitness journey than by measuring your body fat percentage?According to Shape, muscle is denser than fat and takes up less room in the body This means it’s possible to burn a ton of fat, appear leaner, yet still gain weight from an increase in muscle mass. And since the scale can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle, it’s important to remember that weighing more than you did before isn’t always a bad thing.
Instead of focusing on your weight, you can use your waist, hip, forearm, and wrist circumferences to help approximate body fat percentage, per Active. This method will likely tell you more about your progress than your weight alone.
3. Compare progress photos
Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s a gradual process that won’t show immediate results. To keep track of your progress, it may be helpful to take a before and several after pictures. FitWatch’s blog recommends taking multiple photos from different views and doing an after shot about once per month. And don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for your photos to show a drastic change. If you’re exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet, progress should be well on its way.
4. Notice how your mood improves
Your overall mood is also a great way to measure progress. According to Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can boost your mood by stimulating chemicals that make you feel happier. If you’ve noticed a complete shift in your mood because of exercise, that’s something to be proud of. Plus, regular physical activity can also boost confidence and self-esteem, helping you feel more positive about your appearance. This is progress that a scale definitely can’t measure.
5. Pay attention to your energy levels
Progress doesn’t always have to be about numbers or how tight your pants are. It can also be measured by improved energy levels, which come with working out on a regular basis. According to Everyday Health exercise improves your energy by increasing your fitness and boosting your mood. And with more energy, you’re more likely to be active throughout the day. You’ll also have more energy to work out. If you’ve had trouble sticking to a regular fitness routine before due to lack of energy, this may be just the boost you need.