6 Ways to Measure Weight Loss Without Using a Scale
At some point, we’ve all been conscious about our weight. Every time we go to the doctor, we step on the scale and hope for that magic number. With 4 out of 5 African American women considered overweight or obese, it is important that we recognize the impact our weight plays in our health and our lives.
Losing weight helps keep you motivated and on the right track to healthy living. Most people use their scale to measure their weight loss progress. But you could be losing weight even if the number doesn’t change on the scale. Which is why it shouldn't’ be the only way to measure your progress.
6 Ways to Measure Weight Loss Without Weighing Yourself
1. Use a Tape Measure
Pick an area of your body that you want to track. Common places are your waist, hips, thighs, stomach, and arms. Using a measuring tape, take measurements of your body while standing relaxed (don’t flex or suck in) at the same time every week.
If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can also use thread or a piece of string. Every week, use thread to measure your body. Cut the thread and compare it to the previous week.
How to measure different body parts:
Waist - Find the narrowest part of your torso
Hips - This is the widest part of your glutes. Try looking in a mirror while standing sideways
Stomach - Find the widest part of your torso, often around your belly button. Don't suck it in!
Thighs - Look for the widest part of your thigh
Arms - Find the midpoint between the shoulder bone and the elbow of one arm
2. Take Progress Photos
Sometimes we don’t see how much progress we’ve made because the changes are so gradual and we look at ourselves every day. Progress photos help you see things about yourself that you might normally miss such as a slimmer face, toned muscles, or your skin.
The key is to wear the same outfit and have the same pose in every picture. Make sure you take the photo at the same time of the day. It’s best if you have a designated spot in your house and have someone else take your photo.
Take a photo every biweekly or every month to track your progress.
3. Try on Those Skinny Jeans
Trying on clothes is especially important when you aren’t losing weight but your clothes might fit differently. Pick a pair of jeans or a dress that you’ve been dying to wear. Try it on every 2 weeks and take note of how it fits.
If you don’t have to jump in your pants, hold your breath, or lay on your bed to put them on, then that is definitely a sign of progress.
4. Test Your Fitness
Pick an activity that you regularly do like walking up the stairs to your apartment or playing with your kids. Compare how you felt today versus next month. If you can make it up the stairs without feeling winded or have the energy to play for more than 10 minutes, then you're on the right track for success!
Another way to test your fitness is to test your timed mile or 5K. If your time improves or you don't need to gasp for air after your run, then that is a good sign of progress!
5. Check Your Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are at rest. It can be helpful when determining your fitness progress because a lower resting heart rate indicates that someone is in better health.
A normal resting heart rate for the average person is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). People that are more active can have resting heart rates as low as 40 bpm.
If you have a fitness tracker or smartwatch, it is probably already taking your heart rate. Looking at your apps to determine what your resting heart rate is and make note of how it changes over time.
If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can set a watch or timer for 60 seconds and place your finger on your wrist or the side of the neck (wherever you can get a pulse). Count how many times your heart beats in those 60 seconds and you will have your resting heart rate!
If you're checking your heart rate manually, be sure to check it in the morning after a good night’s sleep and before you have any caffeine.
6. Monitor Your Energy Level
As you continue to run or workout and eat healthier foods, you will feel the difference - inside and outside. You may notice more energy during the day, sleeping better at night, or exercises that were once challenging now seem easy. Your confidence can also boost as you start noticing these changes which will ultimately bring more positive vibes your way.
Measuring weight loss is important to determine if all your healthy habits and workouts are paying off. However, don’t let the scale be the only device to measure your progress.
Weight loss affects so many different parts of your body and it’s important that you notice and appreciate these changes too. Always remember that the ultimate goal is to be healthy and happy. Weight loss is just a part of the journey.
Read More: Why You Hit a Fitness Plateau
What are your favorite ways to measure weight loss? Let me know in the comments below!