Have you tried everything you can think of to lose that unwanted weight? Are you determined to have your breakthrough this year?
If so, you’re not alone. Over majority of North Americans are overweight or obese. Many have started and stopped countless weight loss programs or watched their weight yo-yo up and down.
While this can be very discouraging, there are ways to break the cycle. With the right motivation (and the right weight loss program), you can lose those stubborn pounds.
Weight loss is not just about your body it is very much about your mindset as well. I spend a lot of my time with clients talking about their mindset to give them a better perspective so they can stay on track or even get back on track right away after a setback.
Tracking your progress is so important so you can continue to stay motivated but just looking at the scale can also play tricks on your mindset. This is especially true when you are alone on this journey and you don’t have a coach who can ask you the right questions to help you reset your mind and perspective.
If you are planning to start a weight loss plan then learn about other ways you can track your results so you are empowered to reach your goal.
Here are five ideas to try during your weight loss journey.
5 Best Ways to Track Weight Loss Progress
1. Visual Motivation
It’s all too easy to become a slave to the bathroom scale. But constantly monitoring every ounce you lose or gain is a sure path to discouragement especially since it is common to have temporary plateaus and even small increases as part of the journey towards long term loss.
Rather than obsessing over the scale, here are some other visual ways to monitor your progress.
Weight Loss Jars
Head to your local craft store and purchase two mason jars, some pretty marbles or stones, and a package of alphabet stickers.
When you get home, use the stickers to label one jar “Pounds to lose” or “Pounds to go.” Choose a fun descriptive term for the other jar, perhaps “Pounds lighter,” “Pounds destroyed,” or “Pounds of no return.”
Whatever words make you smile, use those. Then use the marbles or stones and move them between jars whenever you lose weight. Keep them on your desk at work, near the fridge at home, or anywhere else you need the visual reminder.
Weight Loss Collage
No, we’re not talking about images of skinny models in bikinis. Instead, create a collection of images that make you feel inspired.
These might include:
- Weight loss or self-improvement quotes
- Inspirational sayings
- Funny memes or cartoons
- Old photos of yourself
- Empowering adjectives
- Goals you’ll accomplish after you lose the weight
- Activities you will begin or get back to doing after you lose weight
Fitness “Tip Jar”
Losing weight is hard work. Why not reward yourself for all your effort?
Start by creating a list of healthy activities and goals. This might include losing a pound, trying a new recipe, or a long workout. Assign a “tip” amount to each item (50 cents to a few dollars), and reward yourself accordingly.
Keep the jar somewhere visible and watch the tips add up! Then you can treat yourself to a new (smaller) pair of jeans or a spa treatment.
2. Fitness Apps
Technology is making it easier and easier to track our weight loss progress as well as other health related metrics. Why not go online and browse the variety of fitness apps available?
Whichever one you choose, they all have the same goal: Getting you off the couch! The right fitness app will also help to turn any negative, unhealthy habits into positive, healthier ones.
Here are a few app suggestions to get you started:
- Meditation Studio: Decrease stress and improve sleep
- Edo: Scans food labels and rates nutritional value
- Moves: Tracks your steps and calories burned
- Headspace: Short meditation sessions for beginners
- RiseToday: Helps you find fitness classes in your local area
Fitness apps aren’t limited to your cell phone. There’s also a huge variety of wearable fitness gadgets that can help track your weight loss progress.
A few of our favorites include Fitbit, a smartwatch, or similar fitness tracker. Some count your daily steps and calories burned, while others monitor your heart rate.
There’s even smart clothing and sporting equipment that tracks your physical performance.
3. Write It Down
If technology isn’t your thing, you can track your weight loss progress the old-fashioned way by writing everything down.
Rather than a boring list of pounds and ounces, try one of these fun ideas:
Using your computer, smartphone, or a favorite notebook, a food diary will help you keep track of what you’re really eating. Record all meals, snacks, and drinks you consume each day.
You might also include how you felt before and after you eat – physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll be able to identify your “comfort foods” and eliminate any emotional eating habits.
The key with a food diary is to be both honest and consistent. It won’t do you any good if you forget to write in it or you choose to “omit” that bag of Skittles.
In my program I have an app and all my clients record their food, water, activity and as well other things such as their energy, cravings and motivation. This helps me guide them but it helps them notice the trends as well so they learn more about themselves and their bodies which will ultimately empower them in the future to continue living a healthy lifestyle, after they have finished their program under my supervision.
Scrapbooking is another excellent way to track your weight loss progress.
Besides journal entries and anecdotes, you might also include photos, letters, or other inspirational items.
That way, when you lose your motivation, you can go back and remember why you started your weight loss journey in the first place.
Before and After Photos
If you’re more of a visual person than a writer, before and after photos could be all the motivation you need.
For the best comparison, wear the same or similar clothes and hairstyle in each photo. Have a friend or family member take photos from the front, behind, and each side.
Take new photos every four weeks and pin them on a board so you can track your weight loss progress.
I encourage all my clients to do this even though many are not too happy about taking their first set of photos. But once they see the difference in their next set of photos after 6 weeks and having lost a couple of sizes they are so proud of themselves.
I know when I lost my weight 9 years ago and I was encouraged to do before and after photos I was blown away from the images.
4. Use Your Measuring Tape
A major problem with the scale is that muscle weighs more than fat. Pound for pound, though, muscle takes up less space than fat.
So rather than obsessing over the number on the scale, get out a tape measure. Measure your waist, hips, thighs, and biceps, and keep track of the number each month.
Even if you aren’t seeing a huge decrease on the scale, the inches you lose may surprise you!
I have seen many clients have a week where the weight loss on the scale isn’t as much as previous weeks and this can be very discouraging for them and in the past would often be the trigger that would cause them to give up.
This is why we always track body measurements weekly as well because even when they scale temporarily plateaus a bit we usually still see a drop in inches so that tells me that they are still burning fat and they are just retaining some water hence why the scale didn’t drop as much. That is very common and can happen for a variety of reasons but it is just a normal part of the weight loss journey so measuring inches is a great way to keep perspective on the bigger picture.
5. Pop A Squat
Want a quick way to track your weight loss progress and fitness level?
Stand in front of a mirror with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and do a few squats.
How easily can you drop your hips below your knees? Do you lean to one side? Does your upper body fall forward?
This quick test will reveal any flaws in your fitness program so you can make needed adjustments. You will notice that as you lose weight this becomes easier and you will also notice that your hips and knees are less sore and stiff especially when you have been following an anti-inflammatory food plan as part of your weight loss program.
These are just a few of the many ways to monitor your weight loss progress.
To help you in your journey, you may also want to consider a doctor-supervised weight loss program.
As I said at the beginning, weight loss is not just a physical journey, it is a mental journey as well so having somebody to be your quarterback and be in your corner will make the world of difference.
Book a 15 minute assessment call with me so we can discuss what will help you reach your weight loss goals.