Better Ways To Gauge Progress Than Those Stupid Scales

lose 15 pounds by tomorrow

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)

Get off your bathroom scales.


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.

We all have the discipline of monks when it comes to what we are going to eat

What Does Jo Eat In A Day?

I wrote recently about how most people think that I eat like a saint, that I must always feel like training and that I remember to drink enough water, take my supplements and never give in to eating junk food.

This could not be further from the truth.  I eat chocolate a few times a week on average (although one block doesn’t go that far between 7 of us) and I treat myself to coffee and cake with Caitlin or my mum or indulge in a homemade dessert if any of us can be bothered making one every few weeks.

But mostly, my ‘average’ days are what you would probably describe as ‘pretty good’.  That, and the fact that I am really fit, allows me to have those treats without feeling bad about them or having to punish myself by skipping meals or training to ‘burn off the calories”.  Both tactics that don’t work anyway by the way.

So what does a day look like?  Mostly when I’m home (I work from home for those that don’t know) my days are fairly similar.  On weekends they almost the same, except, I’ll pack my lunch and/or snacks because I’m mostly out all day at sporting venues.  And we know that canteens are generally the absolute worst places to find anything much that actually resembles whole or real food.

My Breakfast

Most days I’ll have eggs and veggies.  Some days I feel like plain eggs, so I’ll either cook the veggies on the side (such as mushrooms and tomatoes) or I’ll have a piece of fruit with my fried eggs.


A breakfast that is super easy to have ready-made are breakfast muffins.  While I don’t usually eat these for breakfast (preferring to have them at lunchtime) my kids eat these or my left-overs quiche during the week before school.  You can find recipes here


This is my usual favourite breakfast; eggs with spinach and zucchini. At times I will add herbs or spices, but right now, I’m loving it without.  Often if I’m really rushed, I’ll just scramble the whole lot together in the pan to save cooking time.


Lunch for me often consists of left over from tea the evening before.  It could be left-over soup or some a slow-cooker dish, both always made from scratch.  Or it could be left over chicken and veggies which is what I had today.

In the summer I prefer to make  a fresh salad and always make sure that I have some left over (or specially prepared in bulk) chicken, fish or other meat to go with it.  The salad below is one I whipped up in a few minutes and enjoyed outside.    The key is to make sure you have fresh salad ingredients in your fridge at all times.



Often I will just grab a piece of fruit or a carrot (no need to peel or chop) and a handful of nuts.  Because I make sure I eat plenty of real-food protein in my main meals, I do not need to worry about including it in every snack.  I do try to avoid eating fruit on its own though, unless I’m just about to or have just finished training.  This helps to keep my blood sugar more even and prevent sharp drops that can result in cravings.

My absolute favourite snack is the FitterFaster Muesli or greek yoghurt, berries and almonds or walnuts.  The Muesli is pretty much the same but with the addition of a quality protein supplement – chocolate being my favourite.  How good does this look, packed ready to eat at the football while watching my kids play?


If I”m at home it looks a little less ‘messy’.  Plating up your food properly not only makes it taste better, but gives you more satisfaction and enjoyment from eating.  Try it, it really makes a difference.



Our family all eat the same thing, although serving sizes vary a lot.

We’ll always have a large salad or vegetables with whatever we have.  Some of our favourite dishes are FitterFaster Recipe items such as Caramelised or Coconut Chicken, Butter Chicken or Lamb, Pumpkin and Lamb/Chicken Stir Fry or Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken.

The kids also love wraps and I serve up loads of salad ingredients which we all pile in.  A sauce of greek yoghurt and spices finishes these off nicely.


Here are a few pictures of typical evening meals at our place.  Remember that I almost always make left-overs that I can have for lunches or even another evening meal.




The key take-aways (pardon the pun) here are not the actual recipes themselves, but how I eat real, fresh food every day.  I cook from scratch almost all days, but still have treats without feeling guilty.  I also do not spend hours in the kitchen.

We usually have take away up to once per week where I will choose a chicken salad from My Pizza and Pasta or for a treat I’ll have a Lamb Souvlaki from the fish and chip shop.

It’s not about giving up everything that you love, but about making better choices every day.  You will actually find that you’ll start to crave healthier food when you eat it regularly.  You really can retrain your taste buds easily.


All clients at Fitterfaster receive a full 300plus recipe book full of my own recipes tried and tested in a real family and made from healthy ingredients. I also do full nutrition plans for all clients if they require them.

From time to time I run nutrition challenges online.  You may like to take part in one and learn exactly how to plan meals and snacks and put together a full nutrition plan.  Subscribe to my newsletter list to keep updated on when I hold my next one.  You can subscribe by popping you in your details below:

Alternatively, check out my totally free fitness program; Get Fit Maryborough which also includes recipes, workouts and nutrition tips. You can find out more about that here:  Get Fit Maryborough

5 Easy Ways To Change Your Life

A really short post today with 5 action items that will change your life.  FitterFaster clients can attest to the fact that the following will make a huge difference if you just do them.

I’d suggest, pick one action, do it for a week before adding the second action and so on.  By the 6th week, you will feel and look a whole lot different.

Kate Melissa Kylie Angela

Cut out that wine/beer or other alcohol in the evening

Yep, that glass or 2 (or bottle) of wine you’ve been having to ‘relax’ because you deserve it.  It’s not serving you!

You may think it is doing you the world of good, but in actual fact, it is making your life worse, not better.

The first week’s action is to cut out all alcohol during the week.  If you still wish to have a drink, save it for one day on the weekend and seriously, limit the amount and really enjoy it

Get To Bed Earlier

I know you’re busy at night, but if you’re honest with yourself, you really could get into bed earlier.  If you find it hard to fall asleep, start by going 30 minutes earlier (build that to an hour) and read in bed.

Your new sleep time will become habit.  You just have to give it some time. Cutting out that alcohol in the evenings will also help you to have a more restful sleep as well.

Start Cooking At Home

This is a no brainer and probably could have been first on my list.  Out of 7 nights, make a commitment to totally cook your evening meal from scratch at home for at least 4 of them.  Build that up over a few weeks till you’re cooking fresh meals at home for at least 6 nights per week.

My free recipe book giveaway has over 30 easy, yummy, fast to prepare and healthy meals.  If you don’t have it yet, you can download it here:  Over 30 healthy, simple recipes for free

Take Your Own Lunch

The simplest way to do this, is to simply cook an extra serve at your evening meal and take it to work, school or wherever with you the next day.  How easy is that!  Alternatively, pack a salad with some left over meat,chicken or fish (most meals cna be eaten cold if you have no way to heat during the day)

If you’re buying your lunch (no matter how ‘healthy’ it seems) you need to stop that now.  If you live in Maryborough however Cafe Cardio Pulse at the hospital makes many FitterFaster meals which you can purchase fresh daily.  Their menu changes daily and they feature many of the recipes in the free recipe book download above.

Get Moving

Yep, you knew this was coming.  Commit to doing something every day.  You read that right – every day.  The best way to make something a habit is to do it regularly.  If you promise that you’ll do something say, 3 times per week, it is too easy to keep putting it off thinking you’ll do it later in the week. And we all know what happens then.

A walk, a group session, a visit to the local gym, a workout at home.  Commit 10-15 minutes daily at first.   Once that becomes habit, you can increase the duration of a few of those sessions and keep the other days short.

Sally Chris Matt

Get up 15-20 Minutes Earlier to have breakfast

Now that you are getting into bed earlier, getting up just 15 minutes earlier won’t be a problem.  Get up and cook or prepare yourself a healthy breakfast before the rest of your tribe even wakes.

A couple of eggs with some veggies cooked with them, some greek/natural yogurt with fruit or some leftovers from last night’s tea.  All quick and easy as well as nutritious.

I like to make a huge egg and vegetable quiche on the weekends so that I simply need to cut a slice in the mornings.  Alternatively, quiche ‘muffins’ are also easy to prepare and you can have them in the fridge ready to go. These also make great packed lunches.

You can find some easy breakfast recipes here: Easy Breakfast Recipes

Your day will start much better if you’ve eaten a healthy and filling meal for breakfast.

egg muffins

Select one of these new habits each week and commit to making it work for you.  Although they seem so simple, they really will change your life.

If you have any questions about this or any other health or fitness issues, just email me any time

The Secret To Fat Loss

I’ve worked with clients who’ve lost anywhere from 1 to 50kg.  Mostly those big losses (and some of the smaller ones) take 1-3 years to accomplish.  And this is really important to know, because losing the first 5kg or so can be quite easy, but more important than that, is making sure you don’t gain it back, and that if you have more to lose, that you can do so.

Research points quite clearly to the fact that while losing excess body fat can be quite easy, it’s keeping it off that is the problem.

Giselle Amber

Many people do regain lost weight (and usually some more as well), and that’s not because losing weight is impossible or that the program was necessarily not effective.

It’s because fat loss is not linear.  In other words, you don’t just drop your bodyweight reliably each week in set amounts till it’s gone.  And most people don’t understand that and give up before the magic has happened.

In fact, all weight loss programs will stop working at some point.  In fact, at many points.  But the thing is, a good one is still working, even when it appears that it isn’t.

You all know the drill:

  • You start a new diet or fat loss program
  • You lose some body fat.
  • Then you stop losing body fat (which you usually refer to as a plateau).
  • Then you may lose some more, or you may not.
  • Then you ‘plateau’ again.
  • Then you give up and put it all back on again (sometimes quickly and sometimes over a little while)

I see this happen all the time.  After losing some weight and not seeing progress for a week or 2, or at the end of a shorter term fat-loss challenge, you slowly creep back to your old habits because you believe nothing is happening.

This even happens if you did get to your goal weight but then went back to your old habits without letting your body adjust to it’s new set-point.

The thing is, that those plateaus are part of the fat loss process.

Your body needs to readjust it’s set point before it can move on.  And while that’s happening, you need to stick to the process to enable that to happen.

When you accept this, you all can achieve great things including more fat loss.

So what is the big secret?

I’ve written about this loads of times, but in case you haven’t read my past posts, your body does not like to change.

From temperature changes, to electrolyte balance to body fat levels and more.  Your body does everything in its power to stay the same.  It trys to keep everything at ‘normal’ and when we are referring to bodyweight, we refer to this as your set-point. The process of staying the same is named homeostasis.

We all have a normal body weight or set point.  You  can change this over time – slowly.  But regardless of what you think your ‘normal’ weight should be, your body pretty much wants to stay how it is. So fast changes are met with resistance.

You may have read that fat losses of 1-1.5kg per week are normal and sustainable.  This may or may not be true, but you can guaranteed that these losses are just averages.

Over time, a ‘normal’ loss of 1-1.5 kg per week, may have actually been 2kg one week, none the next and so on.  There is nothing magical about fast or slow fat loss.  The key point to remember is that your body does not want to change from what it sees as ‘normal’ or its set-point.

Gretta Emily

So how can you change your set-point.

Firstly you’ll need a program that combines good nutrition with fat loss.  Without supplying your body with adequate nutrients, long term fat loss is an even steeper uphill battle.

Once you have that sorted, you can reset your bodies current set-point by losing some weight and then allowing your body time to adjust to that new weight.

So while it seems like nothing is happening, much is happening, least of all, your body adjusting to the new weight and making it the new ‘normal’.  I’ve referred to this over the years to my clients as “Good stuff is still happening on the inside”

If you have lots of weight to lose, you’ll find you can drop more before having to wait for the adjustment than someone who is much closer to their goal weight.  People refer to this as ‘she loses weight so easily because she has more to lose’.  While this is true initially, once that person gets closer to their goal weight, they too will experience those plateaus more often and may have to wait for longer periods while the body adjusts to each new ‘normal’ or set-point.

Long term larger fat loss almost never happens in a 28 day program or in 6 weeks.

While those with just a tiny bit to lose can maybe do so in that time, they still must continue with their plan beyond that length of time to allow their bodies to adjust and make a new set-point.  Otherwise, they’re just going to regain all their lost weight again.

While I do run short term fat loss programs, I always stress that you absolutely must continue the program beyond the end date.

I teach throughout every program about making permanent lifestyle and nutritional changes and how that is the absolutely only way you’ll every succeed with long term fat loss.

It can take 3-8 weeks or even more for your body to adjust to a new set-point depending on how much weight you’ve lost, how much more you have to go, how long you’ve held that excess weight for, your genetics and many other factors.

But it is absolutely possible to achieve a new set-point with persistance and consistency.  That’s why you must avoid any programs that promise really fast results and that require you to stick with anything you can’t imagine yourself doing for 6, 12 or 36 months.

The secret as I mentioned above, is to know that your body does not want to change and it is determined to maintain homestasis.

The secret is to keep perservering even when it appears that nothing is happening from the outside.  Because the ‘magic’ is happening on the inside and if you remain consistent, you will see progress again.

Please leave your comments about this below.  I’d love FitterFaster clients in particular to share their experiences of sticking to the course and seeing results come again.

Katie Emma Dianne Jess

Transformation In Stages


After years of coaching fitness and fat loss, recording results, experimenting with and changing methods (with principles never changing), I’ve come to know that body transformation is best approached in phases.

While there are a few people who can totally transform from obese to lean in one big leap, they are few and far between.  And it doesn’t matter what method they’re using.  This is my theory (tested for the past 9 plus years)

This is how it works best for most of you:


Shorter, really concentrated, strict ‘sprints’ such as a challenge or contest type program.

These can vary in length, and in fact, I’ve found clients work better when the length does vary each time they do one.

I’ve found that 4 weeks is the shortest time to see really measurable results and 12 weeks probably being just a bit too long really to keep focused with the strict guidelines that the ‘sprint’ portion requires.  Between 4 – 8 or 10 weeks working best for most people.

The FitterFaster challenges are NEVER about starvation or restriction. I focus on adding good things into your diet and basically crowding out (or leaving no room) for the types of foods that do not  assist you to achieve your goals.

All nutrition plans are balanced and in fact, probably provide more food than a lot of the participants were eating on a daily basis prior to starting.

One thing for sure is that you’ll definitely improve your nutritional intake and your health while doing one of my challenges.

The addition of a start and end date in Phase One allows most people to focus, have their game-face on and give a 100% effort to sticking with the plan.

All of my programs also have a heavy base of habit change, health education and support.  I will never ask anyone to do something that is detrimental to their health as health improvement is a priority for me, while you focus on your fat loss.


Focused ‘recovery’ periods where the focus is on changing/maintaining daily practices and habits and on maintaining the new body fat percentage/weight (achieved via the ‘sprint’ or Phase One)

During these phases, the emphasis is more on weight or body composition maintenance through changing daily practices and habits that you need to keep doing for life (including during the ‘sprint’ phases)

Habits and practices that you’ll concentrate on are things like:

  1. Eating a healthy protein source at every meal or snack – What is protein?  What is the most convenient source? How can I do this if I’m on holidays, out for the day, at business functions, on a budget?  What are the best sources of protein?
  2. Taking daily supplements – doing this every day without fail.  Supplements such as fish oils, probiotics and glutamine for instance.  Nothing fancy, just the basics to improve results and your healthy
  3. Staying properly hydrated – How much water do I need to drink?  What about if I train, if it’s hot, etc?  Why?  What are the benefits?

These are just examples but by just focusing on one or two best practices at a time until they actually do become habits means that ultimately, you’ll reset your set-point weight and be able to reach new highs (or lows) when you hit  Phase One again.


Go here for more proof: Before and Afters

Why this approach?

After running over 20 different challenges and contests so far, I’ve found that the people who succeed in maintaining their new weight, and even continuing to get results beyond the finish date, are those that make the changes that they learn in the challenge into daily habits.

Those same people, that are then living a healthier life beyond the finish line, can then go even further when the next challenge (sprint) comes along.

It can take many cycles or just a couple to reach your ultimate goals.  It depends, of course on where you’re starting from in terms of your current body fat percentage and fitness level, but also exactly where you’re at with your mindset and your willingness to accept the process and the uncomfortableness that it sometimes brings from time to time.

Having the ‘recovery’ phase allows some leniency with food choices and training frequency (always within reason) meaning you can reset your mind while putting into practice the long term principles of good health and lean body achievement.

So many people go ‘off’ when a challenge finishes.

They simply go back to their old habits and guess what – that’s what got them to overweight and unhealthy in the first place!

So having Phase Two in place, with support, ongoing follow-up and guidance with what to focus on each week, will mean that you don’t keep going backward.

You can maintain your direction and not slip back when each challenge is over.

This is what makes long-term fat loss, fitness and superior health possible.

This is the crux of the FitterFaster programs.  Helping you to achieve better than average health and a body that you can love and appreciate every day.

If you’d just like receive articles and posts about improving your body composition and your health, and be informed when my next Phase One Challenge will run, complete your details below.  I will not share your details with anyone.

This Will Help You Lose BodyFat

Wow! A plethora of new ‘healthy’ foods are upon us.

Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed, almond and other nut butter, seed mixes, coconut ‘everything’ and more.

Many of my clients had been adding these to their meal plans because they’re ‘healthy’ and ‘they’re better than a chocolate bar’ before I met them.

Did you really think these would help you lose weight??

True, the ingredients do often have health benefits, but guys, they will still make you fat and stop you from losing body fat!!!!

When they start at FitterFaster, they soon learn about how these foods were part of the ‘I can’t lose body fat’ problem.

It’s like there has been a huge backflip on the low-fat, no-fat mantra. And now everyone thinks they can eat ‘healthy’ fats willy-nilly till the cows come home.

Well people, doing that WILL ADD FAT TO YOUR BODY if it’s not carefully measured and factored into your overall nutrition plan.

Whether you’re trying to lose body fat, gain lean weight or maintain weight, you still have to factor healthy foods and their calories into your daily plan.

They have health benefits and a whole heap of calories too

If you’re trying to lose body fat, you have a couple of choices;

One is to be moderate in your approach. Eat healthy foods with not too much of a gap between maintenance and fat loss levels. You’ll slowly but steadily lose body fat if you stick with it and train properly.  Consistency is key.  If you have days where you just eat and do whatever, your results will reflect this. And not in the way you’d hoped!

Another approach is to get more aggressive. Limit certain foods, cut back a bit more and add more training (this all must be carefully controlled and cycled for long term results).   This is the route to take if you’re almost at your goal, to get off a plateau or just to get to your goals faster in general.

But again, you have to be consistent.  If your approach is too aggressive for you, and you cannot maintain it week in , week out,  you won’t see good results.

There is no right or wrong way. It’s up to you to decide how much effort do you want to put in?

How committed are you going to be?

How quickly do you want to see results?

What stage of your fitness/fatloss journey are you at?

Either way,  if you’re not consistent, or you add too many of those so-called ‘healthy’ foods, you will not see the results you’re after.

At best, ongoing results will stop, at worse, you’ll go backwards and gain weight again.

Sometimes in order to reach your goals, you just have to suck it up and be a little hungry-IT WON’T KILL YOU!!

You may just have to go to bed ‘feeling like a little bit of something’.

You may just have to eat a little less-duh!!

You just may have to get over yourself and make better choices, even if it isn’t exactly what you feel like at the time.

Dedication is when you do what it takes even when you don’t feel like it.

When you don’t like what you’re doing or supposed to do, it’s your choice to add or take things away.

Just remember, that your results will reflect exactly the choices you make on a daily basis.

So make a choice. If you want a certain outcome, you’re going to have to do what it takes to get it.

Just because so and so down the road did X and it worked for him/her, doesn’t mean its the best choice for you.

My nutrition plans get results. I’m living testimony to this. I test everything myself first before making recommendations.

I have also been ‘testing’ on clients for the past 9 plus years to establish what works best for different people and for everyone.