How To Track Your Weight Loss Progress In 2021 And Beyond
created by: Zack Mathews
The best way to track your weight loss progress can be as foreign to some as how to trim your cat's fingernails without getting scratched.
Luckily for you, I can teach you both.
The first thing you need to do is calm your cat down and wrap him/her in a blanket.
Next, you need to.....oh wait.
That's not why you are here, sorry!
Let me focus and get back on track.
You want to know the best way to track your weight loss progress.
Maybe you’ve been on this fitness journey for a while.
Maybe you’re new to it all.
Either way, you might have a way to track your progress that you think is better than everything else out there.
The truth is, there is not one way that is better than another.
The best way to track your weight loss progress is by using these 6 progress trackers and indicators to help you make your transformation become more transparent and enjoyable.
Since it's the most common way to track your progress, we have to start here, it’s only natural.
Looking at your long term success, the scale is a great way to see how your body is responding to your exercise and nutrition.
If you are constantly seeing the scale go down, you are doing something right.
If it stalls over a 3 - 4 week period, it’s time to self analyze and see what’s changed, and make necessary adjustments if needed.
One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to my clients weighing themselves, is they let the scale dictate their mood. If they are weighing in once a week and it’s not the number they want to see, their mood changes and bad habits can come from it.
It’s important to learn how to weigh yourself, accept the scale for what it is, and continue on with your day.
The problem with most people is that they are not consistent with their weigh ins!
You might be the same way.
You weigh yourself once a week, you do it at different times of the day, you use different scales at home, work, or the gym.
This is what you need to understand…
The scale will fluctuate ALOT!
Take a look at one of my awesome client’s first 12 days tracking her weight and calories.
Lots of ups and downs right?
So why does the scale fluctuate so much?
The main reasons the scale will fluctuate are:
- Excessive sodium the prior day was consumed and your body is holding on to water.
- You ate more carbs than usual, and again, your body is holding on to more water than usual.
- You haven't eaten in awhile from being sick or not hungry and now the scale is much lower than it ever has been.
- It’s that time of month for women.
There are so many variables of why the scale changes, so you are doing yourself a disservice if you weight yourself only once a week or sporadically from time to time.
For my client, she knew on day 7 she was going to go over her calories because she was going to a birthday celebration dinner and party. We talked about how the scale might go up the next couple days but it isn’t going to be fat gain.
She understood and within the next couple days she was back down to her new low (which she has surpassed now!)
Can you see how taking an average of your weekly weight is a good indicator of your weight loss progress?
This is what you should be doing.
Weigh yourself everyday. At the same time first thing in the morning. With minimum to no clothes. With the scale in the same spot.
Take your numbers everyday and find yourself a weekly average. This will average out the ups and down and give you a good idea of what you are at.
It’s just a number, it doesn’t dictate who you are or how you should act.
Along with a daily weigh in, learning to track your daily calories can help ensure you are seeing progress. If you would like to learn more about how to lose weight by tracking macros, click the picture below.
We all want to be strong.
We all want more muscle.
Not to look bulky, but nice lean, defined muscle.
So why measurements?
Well, muscle is more dense than fat. A few added pounds of muscle looks drastically different than a few pounds of fat.
Since it is more dense, it takes up less space in your body. So you could possibly weigh the same, but look WAY different.
That’s where your measurements come in.
Take body measurements every 4 weeks of different parts of your body.
The body parts that you should track are:
- Hips (for woman)
- Arms - around the bicep and tricep
- Legs - above the knee
If there are any body parts that you are trying to work specifically on, track those too! Why not. If you have smaller calves *cough me cough*, start to measure those so you can see small victories.
If you are doing any sort of weight lifting, these measurements are going to be so valuable.
You will thank me later if you ever have a month with no weight loss, but measurements go down!
If you are trying to lose weight, is there a better feeling than putting on those work pants, and wait a second, they are falling down a bit. Time to grab a belt!
How about when you are rummaging through your closet and come across those jeans you bought two years ago that never fit? You try them on and they fit!
Or how about a wedding dress fitting!? Take a look at what my client Alyssa texted me after she went for her final dress fitting!
What a feeling!
You need to notice and enjoy these feelings because they will come and they deserve to be praised. You might not be exactly where you want to be, but that shouldn't deter you from celebrating your clothes fitting differently.
And the best part?
You get to go shopping!
This weight loss progress tracker is a bit different than the other two since there are no numbers involved, it just goes based on feel. But if you wanted to make it about numbers, keep tabs on your sizes of your shirts, pants, what belt loop you are on.
Getting to go one belt loop tighter is amazing progress and should make you feel great.
Think about how much better you would feel and what your body would look like with lean, toned muscle vs just losing that weight and not having any muscle definition...
It’s empowering to have muscle and feel strong. Those strength gains will lead into your real life with making it easier to carry and do things, help prevent injures, and be able to brag to your friends.
In order to gain strength and muscle, you need to be implementing what is known as progressive overload.
What this means is you are increasing the weight, doing more sets or reps, taking shorter rest, or other factors that make your muscles have continued stress on them. When you do that over time, it will help you get stronger and gain muscle (your nutrition also plays a large role in muscle gain).
My friend Jesus wanted to build muscle when he first came to me so we made sure to implement progressive overload in his training.
He started off with this exercise pictured below, called the trap bar deadlift, with 65 pounds. 3 months later he was doing 185!
On his final day of training, he got 235, but I was too excited and totally forgot to record it. Whoops!
It’s very hard to implement progressive overload when you don’t know what weight you did last week. Heck, I don’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday so there’s no way I would remember what weight I did on squats.
Grab a cheap notebook and make it your gym journal. Seeing your numbers go up over time means that you are making progress!
Whether it’s an extra 5 pounds on your shoulder press, or you did 2 - 3 extra reps from the previous week, progress is progress and it’s time to start celebrating that.
If you are new to exercising and want to start learning the basic movements, check the picture below.
I love progress pictures.
If I had to choose, it might be the best way to track weight loss.
That look when a client does a side by side with their recent photo vs. their first photo they took when they started training is priceless.
Take a look at another incredible client of mine!
She’s ripped!! She hit a high of 160 after getting back from deployment and was able to add a ton of muscle and get down to a low of 136. It was hard work, but she did it.
She told me she didn't realize how good she looked until she looked at these old pictures. You need to do the same because a year down the road, you will be shocked at how far you have come.
Maybe it will be a baby bicep peaking through your arm, or maybe it will be your abs are starting to pop! The body is amazing and with consistent effort, these great changes will start to happen, and you want to be there to capture it.
Want a little life hack on how to take your progress photos?
Set up your camera and instead of putting a timer to take a picture, take a video instead.
Now go over into the camera frame, and hold a pose facing the camera, from the side, and from the back for about 5 seconds. Turn the video off and then go screenshot an image with those 3 poses and you have your progress pictures to start.
Make it a habit to take a new photo every month and see your body change before your eyes!
This is another great one.
A non scale victory is when something happens to you and you think “whoa, that’s awesome!”
What would something like this be?
How about you walk up a flight of stairs that you used to get out of breath from but you don’t anymore?
You are able to extend a stretch further than you have ever.
You get a compliment from someone about how great you look!
Seriously, how amazing are all these things!?
These require you to be in the moment for when they happen. You could easily walk up those stairs and not even think twice than you did them without huffing and puffing.
Or if someone gives you a compliment, you could brush it aside because you are not happy with where you are at.
The truth is, these non scale victories are the the things that are going to set you up for even greater success. If you notice them, they can add fuel to your fire and make you work even harder.
Check out a text from a client.
Her doctor noticed her changes and was impressed. A professional that seems tons of patients was happy with her! You know this is fuel for her to continue to work hard to see more results.
Each week my online clients email me their weekly check in and they have to tell me 3 non scale victories that happened to them.
It makes them have to take a moment to reflect on the week and see what went well.
I suggest you start doing the same!
Those Are The 6 Best Way To Track Your Weight Loss Progress!
Now that you have learned that the best way to track weight loss is by using these 6 action items, I hope you realize there is more to life than what the scale says.
Maybe you already implement some of these, but not all of them, and that’s great! At the opposite end of the spectrum, you could be just starting out and not even know where to begin.
No matter where you are at, it’s never too late or too early to start tracking your progress.