December 11th, 2018
Heather Roberts Progress

Ditch The Scale Part 2: How to Truly Track Your Progress

Make sure to check out: Ditch The Scale Part 1: The Truth About Weight Fluctuations

Aside from daily weight fluctuations, another issue the scale poses is the fact that it does not measure body composition.

The scale measures the overall mass of your body, but most household scales cannot (accurately) measure your lean body mass (muscle) or your fat mass.

While muscle may not “weigh” more than fat, it is more dense than fat, so a 5lb chunk of muscle will take up much less room on your body than the same 5lbs of fat.

You can lose 5lbs of fat, gain 5lbs of muscle, completely change the shape of your body, but weigh the exact same thing start to finish.

Many people set a goal to lose weight and become discouraged when they don’t see the scale budge after weeks or months.

Rather than getting caught up in the number you see, focus on additional methods to track your progress and remember that the scale isn’t telling you the whole story.

How to Track Your Progress Without the Scale

Body Fat Testing:

Rather than just learning your overall mass, you can learn what percentage of your body is made up of fat and muscle.

Even if the number on your scale doesn’t change much or at all, consistent body fat tests can show if you’re losing or gaining fat.

At home body fat testing can be done with skin fold calipers, but make sure to invest in a sturdy pair of metal calipers for the most accurate results.

Other methods include hydrostatic weighing, DEXA scan, and bioelectrical impedance tests.

These methods are pricier than calipers and cannot be done at home, but if you’re looking for the most accuracy, it’s a good investment!

Progress Pictures:

Strength training for women
A highly underrated form of tracking progress, but one of the most important. Taking progress pictures at least weekly and comparing the change over time will give you a clear idea of how your body is changing.

Try to take your progress pictures in the same place, with the same lighting (natural light works well), to keep them consistent so that you can accurately see your progress.

While you might not see changes after one week, you’ll be thrilled you have those “before” pictures when you look back at them a few weeks or months later!


Use a flexible tape measure to measure the circumference of different parts of your body. Useful areas to measure are: waist, hips, chest, thighs, and arms.

Keep a log of your starting measurements, and track your follow up measurements every 2-4 weeks. Even if you haven’t lost any weight, you may have lost inches off certain parts of your frame.

How You Feel:

When we become caught up in the number on the scale, we tend to ignore how our body feels because we are too busy focusing on one number.

Ask yourself these questions while working towards your fitness goals: how are you energy levels? How is your mood from day to day? Are you sleeping soundly at night? Are you having great workouts? Are your food choices making you feel healthier all around?

Don’t let the scale determine your outlook on the day or how hard you’re working. Focus on internal cues, listen to your body and all of its functions. It’s crucial to be in tune with your body, regardless of what the scale says!

Final thoughts

While the scale is one way to track progress and can help us get an overall idea of how our body is changing, there are many other methods to use that will allow you to see the bigger picture.

Use several of these methods together for the best idea of how you are progressing, rather than relying on one method to tell you the whole story.

After all, fitness and health are here to make us feel our best, so if the scale doesn’t do that for you, toss it!

Make sure to check out: Ditch The Scale Part 1: The Truth About Weight Fluctuations

Heather Roberts

Heather is a 24 year-old personal trainer and fitness nutritionist living in Boston, MA. Heather has competed in bodybuilding and is now learning powerlifting. She loves learning new training techniques and diversifying herself as an athlete. Heather works with nutrition clients to help teach them flexible dieting and how to create a maintainable healthy lifestyle. Her belief is that consistency is key and everything can be enjoyed in moderation. Heather has used her social media platforms to connect with other open-minded, fitness-loving individuals who share a passion for food and healthy living! Connect with her on Instagram @heatherrfit.

Ditch The Scale Part 1: The Truth About Weight Fluctuations

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