The most common way of setting a weight loss goal is to think about a certain number you think you’d like to be at and set it. Constantly running to the scale to see how much weight you’ve dropped… or maybe even gained. It can easily become an obsession for some. Hopefully it ends in happy results but if results aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like then it can be easy to get discouraged.
Weight is a number. But is it really? Every one’s bodies are different. Two people who weigh the same and are the same height could look completely different. This is because muscle and fat weigh differently. So, if you’re losing fat but gaining muscle simultaneously then that may cause you to believe you’re not going in the direction you want. This can make everything confusing and hard to set accurate goals.
Why It’s Not Accurate
The number one reason that using the scale as your main or only way of tracking your progress isn’t accurate, is because that muscle weighs more than fat (when comparing size). A pound of fat is about the size of a grapefruit, while a pound of muscle is about the size of a tangerine. Essentially a pound of fat takes up more room in your body than muscle does.
(Limes are about the same size as tangerines, so you can use this picture for a visual…if you’re still unsure the grape fruit is the big purple-redish one and the limes are the small green ones)
Weight fluctuates throughout the day based on activity level, as well as your food and water intake. This can make it difficult to track your weight plus add the potential muscle gains and it can be hard to tell what’s going on. I personally prefer to measure fat loss rather than weight loss. I could really care less about my weight, to me it’s just a number. I care more about how my body looks (my fat loss and muscle gains).
I’m sure you’re with me when I say that fat loss is the goal here. That’s really what all this is about. Losing the fat, becoming stronger, healthier and a better version of you.
Better Ways To Plan
I think it is daunting to plan for a specific number, especially if it’s far away, and try to drop the weight to that goal. Because you may not really know what that number will look like for you. Of course it’s possible to plan this way, people do it all the time! I personally think that it is an easier mindset to plan these types of goals:
- Look for tangible and visible signs. For example, Feeling that your jeans have gotten a bit looser or, (further down the way) you’ve dropped two pants sizes.
- Measuring the different areas of your body. This one can be very beneficial because you can compare them to your eating habits/exercises and see if a specific area is doing better than another or worse. This way you can modify your work outs to target or work certain areas harder. If you’re trying to lose belly fat you can visually see where you’re at and then see where you want to be.
Ways To Measure Weight/Fat Loss
There a few ways to measure your progress and there isn’t really a right or wrong. All methods will work to a degree. It more so depends on your preferences and goals. Here are the most common methods:
- The good ol’ scale. Every one’s go to for measuring their weight and for sure a useful tool.
- A tape measure (the ones people use for sewing crafts… not home improvement). These are great for keeping track of different areas of your body and seeing if there are any changes.
- Don’t track at all. This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you’re eating healthy, and getting good exercise then trying to worry about the numbers and progress may feel like a lot.
These are the main ways to track your progress. There are other methods of course. You can even seek out professional help but unless you have a special case for this I wouldn’t recommend it. They can cost a lot of money and don’t really seem necessary if you don’t have unusual circumstances.
My Two Cents
I use a mixture of all these. I try to weigh myself only once a week. Weighing yourself every day can send you all over the map because of the fluctuations and it is tiresome to me. During healthy and sustainable weight loss you should be losing about a pound a week. Everyone’s bodies are different but that is the average, so why run to the scale everyday?
If I measure my body I, again, try only to do it once a week. I prefer to notice the changes as they come along without having to take time out of my busy day to measure my whole body and find the averages of each part and then compare them to the day before, and the day before that, and so on. If that is what you want, power to you! I personally just don’t care about the numbers that much. As long as I am seeing progress that is fine with me.