3 Other Ways to Measure Your Body Composition Changes
What’s the number you are aiming for on the scale? 155? 120? 170?
No matter what it is, chasing a number on the scale will most likely send you into a downward spiral mentally and emotionally. You will feel as if you are chasing your own tail and that is never fun nor productive.
The gain of .7 pounds has you overthinking every morsel you ate or wondering if you got enough exercise in. However, when the scale drops 1.3 pounds you are celebrating and your mind begins to think “it’s working and I deserve a treat today”. The hard part about the scale are the natural fluctuations.
Why Measure Non Scale Victories
Did you know the scale can fluctuate 3-5 pounds per day?
So when you start to beat yourself up for gaining 1.8 pounds and when you want to yell “Victory” when the scale says you have dropped 2 pounds, it’s best to stay neutral from an emotional standpoint for sanity’s sake.
It is understandable that you want a measure of progress when it comes to “losing weight”. First, I would suggest switching the language you use from “losing weight” to “changing body composition”. That way, you are not programmed to be glued to the scale; instead you are focused on losing body fat and gaining lean muscle.
So how do you measure non scale victories?
Here are 3 ways that you can integrate non scale victories in your health journey. They will not only be less emotional like the scale, but also more accurate! I highly recommend doing all three, however, you can do just one if you prefer.
1) Bioelectric Impedance Scale:
You can purchase one of these online from anywhere between $25 and $129. These scales are reasonably accurate for taking body fat percentage as well as muscle percentage. It is most accurate when you provide consistent variables such as the level of hydration in your body, how long since you last ate, did you workout just before getting on the scale and such.
We recommend getting on it once per week at most however, once per month is most ideal. Stepping on it first thing in the morning after using the restroom and with no clothing is best. Most scales are now “smart scales” meaning they come with an app so you can easily track your progress.
If you need help deciphering what the numbers mean, what are good goals for you, and how to best achieve those goals, book a “Chat with a Coach” with us. This call is complementary to you.
This is a great way to see how your body composition is changing month over month. It’s as easy as purchasing a $4 cloth tape measure from your local sewing/craft store or from online and measuring every 30-60 days on yourself. It does not matter if you prefer inches or centimeters as long as you choose one or the other consistently. We recommend taking measurements of your chest, waist, hips and thigh continually.
For chest measurements: take the circumference of your chest by placing the tape measure around your chest; aligning the tape measure with your nipple line. For females, we recommend wearing the same sports bra each time for consistency.
For waist measurements: take the circumference of your waist by placing the tape measure around the line of your belly button.
For hip measurements: take the circumference around your hips aligning the tape measure around your hip bones; approximately 3 fingers below the belly button.
For thigh measurements: take the circumference of your thigh by wrapping the tape measure around the largest part of your thigh.
3) Progress Pictures:
This is, in my opinion, the best option; especially if you plan on being on your health and wellness journey for the years to come. There is nothing like looking back at who you used to be and what you used to look like than a before and after picture collage. It’s also free and you can do it without anyone! Just use the ‘selfie’ camera on your smartphone as well as the timer. (There is usually a 3 second and 10 second timer available).
You will want pictures facing front, side and backwards for all angles. You will be happily surprised with how much can change, but also interested in how you will sometimes see more difference from the side compared to the front.
From the front view: Stand facing the camera with arms relaxed by your side looking forward.
From the side view Version 1: Stand facing to the right, arms relaxed by your side, looking forward (not at the camera).
From the side view Version 2: Stand facing to the right, arms lifted into a ‘T’ so the camera can see your side body.
From the back view: Stand facing away from the camera with arms relaxed by your side.
A couple tips to help get your best pictures for comparison:
- Get the entire body without chopping off legs or head
- Wear the same outfit every time
- Be in the same space every time
- Have the same lighting every time
- Wear clothing that is very tight or best is to wear a swimsuit
Non Scale Victories: Wrapping Up
Everyone understandably wants to be able to measure their success from the hard work they are putting in. Let’s just make sure you are using the more ideal measuring tool.
If you continue to use the scale for solely weight purposes, I would suggest placing a note nearby that says “How do you FEEL prior to stepping on the scale”. This is meant so that you can tap into the feelings of the journey before you let the number dictate that emotion.
I would recommend getting in touch with “Non Scale Victories” otherwise known as NSV’s. Paying attention to how your clothes fit, the energy levels you have, and the compliments you are getting from coworkers or family members are all examples of these non scale victories. Once you break free from just measuring by the scale weight and start caring more about how you feel (as well focusing on your NSV’s), that is where the magic happens and the journey becomes sustainable.
Want to learn more about body assessments and what ideal assessment numbers would be for you?