So you’ve decided that you need to lose weight. Summer or that wedding, holiday or other special occasion is approaching and you are absolutely not looking forward to finding something to wear.
Or you caught your reflection in a window (or have been studying it in the bathroom mirror) and you just don’t like what you’re seeing.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that on Monday, you are starting your new diet and fitness program.
If you regularly read my blog, you’ll know how I feel about diets, but that’s another discussion.
For the moment, let’s imagine that you’ve started your new program (whatever that may be) and you’ve been ‘good’ for like absolutely ages now. But no matter how many times you get on and off, those damn scales are just not showing any (or much) weight loss.
What gives? You’ve been so ‘good’. Why hasn’t your weight changed?
I’ve made up a list of 5 ways you can test that progress is happening, even if the scale tells you otherwise.
Note, that if you are not seeing the following signs of progress, perhaps you should check your program. Maybe it’s not right for you. (Or perhaps, you have not been following it as closely as you thought)
You have more energy and/or are sleeping better
This is one of the first things new clients at FitterFaster notice. When making the right changes to what you eat each day and training with workouts that are appropriate for YOU in terms of intensity, frequency and modality, an increase in your energy is one of the key indicators that you are progressing.
This is because eating more nutritious foods supplies your body with much more than just energy (calories). You’ll be consuming nutrients that you need to feel energetic all day every day. Vitamins, minerals, essential fats and proteins are all abundant in the right sort of plan.
Add an effective training plan to that and you’re on a winner for avoiding those mid-afternoon energy slumps.
Your Clothes Feel Looser
Along with more energy, it is amazing how quickly you notice this. Your belt can go in a notch or two. Your pants are less snug around your butt and legs. That tightness across the back of your work shirt – all but gone!
I would love a dollar for every client that comes in for their second assessment that bounces in telling me about how they need to get a new uniform and how they fit into their old jeans etc. They’re excited and amazed at the changes in just 3-5 weeks.
But then, I ask them to step onto the scales (something I have to do to assess body fat percentage). It is like a switch as been flicked. They glance at that number in disbelief. “But how can that be? How can I be only ‘X’ kg lighter when I feel and look so good?”
How your clothes are fitting is a much better indicator than changes on the scale for lots of reasons. Here are some:
- Muscle weighs more and takes up less space than fat. So when it goes up and fat goes down, you get smaller while your scale weight stays the same or even goes up
- You are more hydrated. A good program includes improving hydration in your body and yep, you guessed it. That extra water weighs more too.
- Your bones are getting heavier. This can happen especially to people who have not been exercising for some time and then start a good program of resistance/impact training. This is also a good thing; denser stronger bones are heavier.
This is why I couple body weight measuring with girth measurements with a tape measure AND body composition assessment. So you can track changes in dehydration as well as body fat and lean weight by percentage and in kilos/grams.
What a tape measure tells you, is much more important than your bathroom scales. So if someone is not doing the measuring for you, make sure you take all your body measurements and use certain clothing as a gauge instead.
Your Moods Are Better
Along with having more energy, an increase in good moods is super common. “I really used to be so cranky?” is a common catch cry at FitterFaster.
This is partly due to the fact that you are actively doing something to improve your life, which gives you a winning sense of achievement even before results happen.
Other changes that occur when you improve your nutritional intake and start exercising are on a more cellular and hormonal level. Yep, your hormones become more balanced and this leads to improved moods and a better outlook on everything.
The latest research has put good nutrition and exercise right up the top of the treatment list for depression. I’ve seen and experienced many clients who have been able to move off or drastically lower medications that they may have been taking for years to treat anxiety and depression.
(Please always consult with your medical practioner. I am absolutely not recommending making any changes to medications prescribed by him/her)
You’re Feeling Like It’s Not A ‘Diet’ Anymore
You’ll experience this on a good program only. If the changes you’re making on the program you’re following are not feeling like something you could do forever, you’re on the wrong program.
When you make the right changes and add the right new habits, you’ll feel so good and they’ll just totally make sense that you will just want to continue. If you’re having to exercise for hours and hours (especially if you’re not enjoying it) or you are hungry, this is not sustainable.
If however you feel like it’s all becoming easier, you know that you’re making progress.
You Feel Satisfied and You’re Not Hungry
Perhaps this should have been at the top of the list. The right program will have added so much more food and so many more nutrients to your current plan, that you can’t possibly feel hungry.
Every meal and snack should leave you feeling satisfied on a day to day basis. And while cravings may still come along occasionally, you’ll notice that they get less and less frequent and that you’re actually able to have a bit of your favourite treat without the need to devour the entire box every time you think about it
Being hungry on a ‘diet’ is a massive clue that this is not working. Sure you may lose a few kilos in the early days, but if you are hungry, you will not be able to sustain the program and therefore progress will halt and you’ll most likely regain any weight lost because you haven’t learnt strategies to maintiain the loss.