Weight loss is a sensitive subject for many. It is also an area in which people want to work on as blind as possible.
“I don’t want to see how much I weigh.”
“I don’t want to take pictures because they will look terrible.”
“I don’t want to track my food because it feels restricting.”
“I don’t want to take measurements because I don’t want to know what they are.”
This is all fine and great if this is how you choose to get after a weight loss goal. But at the end of the day, some type of measurement needs to be taken to determine progress. I have fallen in to the… “I don’t want to take any measurements at all” mentality. And to be honest, it was all fear based.
Afraid of how far I have actually gotten away from my norm. Afraid to track my food because of my old compulsive tendencies with it. Afraid to take pictures because “what if anyone saw them!?”.
Afraid of the truth.
I want to demolish the fears you may have with 5 fabulous tools to use for weight loss.
1. The bathroom scale…
It should be no surprise to anyone that this tool is on the list. The scale has become an enemy to many and a master to even more. For some reason the number on the scale has been able to determine women’s worth for years. The scale shows the weight went down? It’s going to be a great day! The scale shows the weight went up? It’s going to be a terrible day.
One little number has the power to determine someones day, worth, and actions steps to follow. I have been a slave to the scale, an enemy to the scale, and now? A friend of the scale.
I use to weigh myself multiple times a day allowing it to control my emotions. I then moved to hating the scale and throwing it away in which during the time I stopped weighing myself, I gained almost 10lbs. Obviously there are more factors than just weighing myself that led to gaining weight but one thing was for sure.
Being aware to the truth allowed me to keep track of how I was eating and moving as affecting my body.
I am not an advocate of weighing yourself daily. I am however an advocate of weighing yourself at the most once a week. There really is no need to do more often. The day-to-day fluctuating is enough to cause a person to go batty if they are focusing on a very specific body goal. However after a week of exercising and nutrition in line with your goal, you can determine whether what you are doing is helping you go in the right direction.
Did the weight go up? Look back at your week and see if there were any areas that could use some tweaking.
Did the weight stay the same? Keep doing what you are doing for another week and then make a change if still staying the same.
Did the weight go down? Keep doing what you are doing! No change is necessary.
The scale primarily tells you if the quantity of food you are eating needs to be changed. The next two on the list are the ones that help determine the quality of the food you eat.
2. Measuring tape…
Taking circumference measurements offers a ton of information that the scale can’t. It gives you a better insight as to what is happening to your body. It can be very common that the scale doesn’t move or even goes up but all your measurements go down. THIS is stellar progress!
If you rely results only on the scale, you are missing out on some information that can give you a better insight to your progress. Many are hesitant to get measurements done because again there becomes that unhealthy association to a number.
I use to have my measurements taken weekly and straight up CRY if the measurement was the same or only went down an 1/8th of an inch. Here’s a few reasons why this is absurd:
- Weekly measurements don’t show results until over time. When I work on a specific body composition goal, I measure weekly. When I take the measurements week to week I don’t see much change but when look back over 4 weeks of data I see a big difference! It’s super encouraging.
- 1/8th of an inch is still progress. It may not look like much but in a week… that is huge!
- Crying over measurements is for babies.
By taking measurements you are able to see that the quality of the food you are eating does in fact make a difference. Someone could eat 5 snickers bars a day and lose weight but their measurements may show the opposite of the desired goal. Why? Because they aren’t feeding their body what it needs to build muscle, get strong, and get lean.
If the weight is going down, the measurements are staying the same, and you are getting weaker…. there is a problem. It’s time to take a look at what’s going on nutritionally.
If the weight is staying the same (or even going up!), the measurements are trending down, and you are getting stronger? Keep rocking it!
This is the one people tend to have a ton of trouble with. By taking pictures, you are able to actually see the change happen over time. Not only that, you are able to see things a measuring tape and a scale simply can’t.
You get to see how your body stands a little taller… you get to see new muscles you haven’t seen before on yourself…. you get to see a new shape of your body even if the scale and measurements show nothing.
Pictures are not something to be afraid of. The fact of the matter is: the body in that picture is your body. When you look in the mirror on a given day, you see what you THINK your body looks like based on how you are feeling. Feeling like a champ? You probably see yourself as a total babe in the mirror. Feeling a little down? You probably see a less than ideal vision of yourself in the mirror.
Pictures allow you to capture an image that stays the same. The next time you take a picture, you can compare the two and see the difference. It may not be something you want to take a peak at in the beginning but once you start rocking your results, those pictures allow so much insight.
Taking pictures use to be scary for me. Looking at all the little things on my body I didn’t even know about because I couldn’t see it in the mirror… this doesn’t include just the things I didn’t want to see… It included things I didn’t even know I had! Like back muscles! Pictures can be a great tool to use both for seeing results but also pointing out things you like about your body that you may have otherwise never noticed.
4. Food tracking…
Tracking food is hands down one of the easiest ways of being aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Often times when people start logging their food in a way that works best for them I hear, “Is there really that many calories in that?’ or “I noticed that I am getting hardly any protein in!”
Tracking allows for a beautiful glance at what a person is eating to be able to make a few small tweaks for big results.
At one point in time I had tracked my food intake for 3 years….3! Now, this was back when I was compulsive about it. Does it help to track your food? Yes. Do you need to do it for 3 years? No.
The idea with food tracking is that it is simply another tool to use when needed. Let’s say you are ready to get serious about your nutrition to get some results… Starting out by tracking your food to get a good idea of what is in everything as well as figuring out exactly what you are taking in will set you up for success.
Since we are the habitual creatures that we are, we tend to eat the same things for periods of times. This generally means that after a week or two, you really shouldn’t need to track anymore (unless you want to). Periodically check in on yourself with a tracking day here and there to see how things are going.
5. Food scale…
The food scale can be a scary thing when you realize what a 1/2 cup of ice cream is actually supposed to be….
However, it’s a great tool to understand how much a serving size really is. Measuring cups do a great job estimating but what happens is, unless we are leveling it off, we are likely getting more than we think we are.
We can tell ourselves that it was only 2 tbsp of peanut butter we used on our toast but it could likely be another tbsp worth if it wasn’t leveled off. This equates to another 100 calories. Do this multiple times a day and all of a sudden you have taken in an extra 500ish calories you didn’t even know about.
No different from stated above about tracking, once you have a good idea of what a serving size looks like, it doesn’t need to be done all the time. When I use the scale it is when there are new foods I am working with or if I prepared something in a different way that I have a hard time judging the amount.
One of my favorite ways to use the food scale is for protein. It is tough trying to eyeball what a serving size is but o so easy to toss the meat on the food scale before chowing down. Just like food tracking, the food scale brings awareness.
All of the tools talked about in this article are just that….tools. They do not measure your worth. They do not measure good and bad. They are simply tools. Tools to be used to get to a desired result.
Have you gotten the Meal PREP Blueprint yet? Get your free copy HERE and learn how to get creative in your food prep!