Track Your Progress: How Should You “Measure” Your Weight Loss?

If you want to learn how to track your progress with weight loss, you already have something to be proud of!

First, be proud of the amount of progress you’ve made so far…but more importantly, you should be very proud of yourself just for beginning your fat loss journey!

Now, I like using the term “fat loss” more than “weight loss” because, while I’m sure many of you will “track your progress” with the scale, it’s not the most useful tool, and can even be harmful to your mindset while losing fat. In my blog post on a healthy mindset, I talk about the dangers of “getting obsessed with losing a defined amount of weight.”

We all already know that muscle weighs more than fat, so if you’re working out and gaining muscle mass, expect the number on the scale to go up!

Also, over the course of a day your weight fluctuates usually by 5 pounds, but possibly as much as 12 pounds (depending on how much food and water you drink and how active you are). A woman on her period can expect a gain of up to 10 – 15 pounds!

So, while if your doctor wants you to monitor the scale, you should go ahead and do that…definitely keep in mind that in order to get an accurate reading you’ll need to average the results of your morning and night weigh-ins. Personally, I would limit the scale-stepping to once a week otherwise, because you can’t truly measure your progress with the scale alone.

What’s a better way to track your progress, then?

Tracking fat loss can be done easily at home with some good ol’ fashioned measuring tape.

  • Men: You’ll take two measurements, neck and waist. For your neck, wrap the tape right under your Adam’s apple, and relax your shoulders (or your upper traps will be stiff and you’ll get the wrong result!). For your waist, just measure all the way around at belly button level. And now you’ll know if you had your pants size wrong…


  • Women: Take the same neck and waist measurements as men, except you may need to feel around to find the bottom of your Adam’s apple…Fun fact, the “Adam’s apple” is really just your larynx, so men and women have them! Also, women should measure their waist at the narrowest point. Last, women should also measure their hips, which is done by wrapping the tape over the fullest part of your butt!

Then, input the results into a body fat calculator like this one!

These results are only somewhat accurate, because to really know your body fat, a professional needs to do the pinch test with calipers. This is the only way to determine how much fat you actually have under the skin.

However, if you just want to roughly track your progress, don’t worry about the doctor’s appointment or the calculator; just re-take these measurements every month or so and compare.

Sometimes we get discouraged from not seeing results in the mirror, but the change might just be too gradual to notice. But if your neck, waist, and hips are getting slimmer, it’s hard to deny that fat loss is occurring!

One last pointer I want to give, though — whatever method you use to track your progress, don’t go crazy in the pursuit of fat loss! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it isn’t healthy to do “crash diets” like liquid diets, weight loss pills…In my mind, Diets Don’t Work.

Rather than restrict calories, it’s more important to hit your macronutrient goals, and to commit to an achievable higher-fat, lower-carb, gym-loving LIFESTYLE!

Focus more on enjoying the journey, than on hurrying to the destination!