Non-scale Signs of Progress

Indications That You’re on Track

Losing weight and getting in shape is a very exciting and motivating process. But it isn’t always easy. For many who try to shed pounds, the encouragement from that initial weight loss is brought to a screeching halt when the scale stops moving— especially if you feel you are doing everything right. It can leave you frustrated, disappointed and confused. But instead of viewing this as a setback, look for other ways to measure your progress besides the scale. After all, good health isn’t always measured in pounds.

Losing weight usually involves a relatively simple calorie equation: burn off more calories with daily activity than you consume through food. So what happens when these numbers indicate progress, but the scale doesn’t? Before the aggravation sets in, consider why this might be the case.

If you’ve been hitting the gym on a regular basis (along with tracking your calories) and participating in both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, chances are good that you have shed SOME body fat. But the scale might not indicate this for a very good reason— you have also been building lean muscle. Since muscle is dense (a small volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat), the scale might not reflect your hard work.

So don’t give up! If you throw in the towel now, you will never know what you could have been capable of. Remember, living healthier is a long-term process— one you will have to continue working on for the rest of your life!

In the meantime, keep these other “non-scale” signs of progress in mind:

1. Try on a pair of pants or a shirt that was a little snug before beginning this new program. Do they fit better? This is a sure sign that your body is changing shape and making changes!

2. Use other numerical signs of progress aside from your weight. At the start of the program, take measurements of the widest part of your waist, arms, butt and thighs. Even if you are not losing pounds, you very well may be losing inches all over your body as your figure slims down and gets more defined. Some other numerical indicators to consider include improved blood pressure or cholesterol, heart rate and body fat percentage.

3. Monitor how a healthy diet and regular exercise affects your energy levels.
Not only will you be able to work out for longer intervals of time, but everyday chores will also become easier. Whether it’s cutting the grass or just walking up the stairs, these activities will come with a lot less effort and exertion than they did before. Think of all the daily activities you could use more energy for— grocery shopping, house cleaning, playing with your kids and more. Pretty soon you’ll be training for your first 5K!

4. Be conscious of how you feel emotionally. You’ve been working hard to reach your goals. Hopefully, the hard work will come with a boost in self-esteem, confidence and happiness. Be aware of your self-talk and keep positive to stay motivated.

30-minute HIIT WORKOUT

Here is a high-intensity interval workout for you to try on the treadmill! You can adjust the speeds as necessary.

3 mph: 1 minute
6 mph: 1 minute
9 mph: 1 minute
Repeat 10 times

Nicole Wilkins

Nicole Wilkins is three-time Figure International and four-time Figure Olympia champion, as well as a Met-Rx sponsored athlete and certified personal trainer. For more with Nicole, check out "The Fit Life" column in each issue of FitnessRx for Women. Also check out her DVD, "In Pursuit of a Dream," for tons of detailed information on training, nutrition, and life of a top pro athlete! You can order the DVD now at Nicole's Website!

Nicole would love to hear from you! You can reach her via...

Muscular Development
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For sponsorship, appearances etc: Fitness Management Group