If you’ve finally made the commitment to start living a healthy lifestyle and working towards sustainable and long-term weight loss, congratulations. Deciding to do something about your health and making a commitment to reach your ideal weight and fitness levels is commendable and it’s a crucial first step that hundreds of thousands of people fail to take. The question then becomes what’s next? For many of you, it’s planning out your meals, figuring out what foods works best for you, meal prepping and crafting a workout regimen that will take you from couch potato to Spartan. In all of this planning and taking action, however, there is one ultra-crucial thing that you must do if you want to truly get the results you seek: track your weight loss progress. Tracking your progress is more than just checking your weight regularly. It’s taking note of the things that allow you to stay on track and keep you motivated. So how do you track your progress? Check out these 5 practical ways to log your success.
Track Your Total Weight
Chances are that you have a weighing scale in your home. We know, we know, we made a crack about tracking your weight just a little while earlier, but there is a merit to tracking your weight. What matters in this case is how you go about doing that tracking. After all, tracking your total weight is the simplest and most expedient way of tracking your weight loss progress. They key here is to stop yourself from obsessing over it, and to do that, you need to track your weight weekly or bi-monthly instead of daily. This way, you can make sure that what you’re seeing on the scale is actual measurable weight loss and not the effects of having retained water. It’s also important to know that you can’t rely on the scale alone. Why? Simply speaking, muscle weighs more than fat. When you start burning fat and putting on muscle, it could show up as a weight gain on the scale. You’ll take the increased number as a negative rather than the progress that you should really be seeing it as. This brings us to our next way to track progress.
Measure Your Body
If you don’t have a tape measure, now is the time to purchase one. If you do have one but can’t find it, dig it out. Measuring the circumferences of your various body parts is a fantastic way to track how much fat you’re losing. As we mentioned earlier, the scale can actually deceive you into thinking that your backtracking in terms of weight when you’re really just putting on muscle in place of fat. Measure your body at the start of your journey. Key measurements include your waist, hips, chest, arms and thigs. You can also measure your forearms and calves if you’d like. Measure these areas of body on a weekly or bi-monthly basis to see how much progress you’re making in your weight loss transformation. Many people find that seeing the updated numbers, especially of their waist line, is a huge motivator.
Keep a Log of Your Body Fat Composition
When you want to track how much muscle you’ve gained and, by extension, how much fat you’ve lost, one thing you should keep a log of is your body fat composition. There are various ways to do this such as using a body fat caliper or computing your body mass index (BMI). Tracking this monthly is a great idea to get a more rounded view of your overall progress. It’s also a good idea to have your ideal BMI in mind so that you can have a goal to work towards. For example, the ideal body fat percentage for most people is somewhere between 7 – 10%.
Pictures Speak a Thousand Words
Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram searching for fitness inspiration? Perhaps you’ve done so on Pinterest as well. No matter what social media you like to source your inspiration from, we’re pretty sure that you’ve before and after pictures. Not only are these photos absolutely inspiring and motivating, they’re also a great way to really visualize and track your weight loss progress. When you first start your journey, take your “before” photo. Try to wear only a sports bra and shorts or, for men, just shorts. If not, wear something that hugs your body so you can really see what your frame looks like. Take progress photos every month to literally see yourself shrinking over time. Additionally, once you’ve reached your goal weight, these photos will not only serve as a great reminder of how far you’ve come, they’ll also serve as fantastic inspiration for the many people out in the world who are also working towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
Track Your Gym Progress
Aside from tracking how much weight and fat you are losing, it’s also a great and practical idea to log how much progress you’re making in the gym. This means tracking the weights you’re lifting, how many repetitions you’re getting through with your current weights and also the kinds of exercises you’re doing. It’s also a good idea to track your cardio exercises. The reason you should track these things is to see the progress you are making in terms of building endurance and strength. Having this log in addition to your BMI logs will also give you a better idea of how much muscle you’re actually putting on. On your workout days, track the regiment you’re implementing for the day. Make sure to track how long each exercise takes to perform, the kinds of weights you are using and how much reps you are able to complete with good form for each exercise. Another way to track this kind of progress is to come up with a base set of exercises that you can do on a monthly basis. For example, squat jumps, burpees, push-ups and sit ups are a good set of exercises to measure your strength. Give yourself one minute to do each exercise and see how many repetitions you can complete within that given time period. Repeat the test monthly to see how you are improving.