Documenting your weight loss journey goes much further than weighing yourself every week. Relying solely on the scale’s numbers isn’t effective for two reasons:
- It doesn’t account for fat replaced with muscle or water loss.
- It is demotivating for some people. Not seeing the number on the scale change in the way you want it to can become discouraging.
Usually people who are trying to lose weight will add some type of exercise regimen to their lifestyle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, as you start working out and drop fat, you’re also adding muscle which can skew your weight at times. This can make it seem like you aren’t losing fat or are losing weight really slowly when in fact your body is changing, you’re just simultaneously adding muscle with your fat loss. Other factors that can hinder you from seeing your process in terms of pounds include menstrual cycles, water retention, weight loss plateaus, and loose skin issues.
Here are 4 effective “non-scale” ways of documenting your weight loss journey.
- Take Photos of Your Journey
Taking pictures is a really effective means of tracking your weight loss. Most people wish to lose weight for health reasons but also for aesthetics which means the way their body looks is important. Taking a few “before” pictures at the start of your weight loss journey and then taking photos weekly, biweekly or monthly will allow you to see just how much your body is toning up over time.
For women it is best to strip down to a swim suit (if you are comfortable) or shorts and a sports bra. Really, the least amount of clothing the better since you’ll see more of your body. If you plan on publicly documenting your journey then you’ll be the judge of how much skin you are comfortable people seeing. You may just have the swimsuit photos for your eyes only. Take the photos in portrait format so you can see your entire body in the frame. It’s also a good idea to take photos from several angles; front facing the camera, side of the body, from the back, arms up, etc. Get a friend to help you or use a tripod.
When you are ready you can submit your success story to us. 🙂
- Use Instagram to Share
With nearly 300 million active users, Instagram is a super popular social media platform that allows you to easily share pictures. If you’ve followed the advice of taking pictures of your weight loss journey you’ll find that Instagram is a great way of tracking and sharing your progress.
The real benefit of sharing your journey on Instagram is creating a cycle of accountability. First off, when posting photos you’re more likely to want to stay on track with weight loss because people are watching. Secondly, by using health or weight loss hashtags you can find other Instagram-ers who are on the same journey. You can develop camaraderie and motive each other. Instagram allows you to make your profile private, so your close friends, family and those who you chose can be the only people who see your images. Post photos of your progress, photos from your workouts, food photos and videos. You never know how your journey will bless others and motivate them to change too. (PS: Check us out of Instagram)
- Create a Food Journal
Food journals are really underrated but are beneficial for a numbers of reasons such as:
- Seeing your eating trends
- Find patterns of when you slip up
- Keep track of nutritional intake
- Helps with budgeting for groceries the month
The key to making a food journal work is to use it every day, for every meal and snack. It’s a habit that can be tricky to remember so setting reminders on your phone or computer will help you remember to jot down what you ate. To make food journaling even easier, consider using an online or mobile app. MyFitnessPal is a great free mobile app and website that makes tracking super easy, is fully customizable and sets reminders for you to input your meals. There are online tools like swole.me, Spark People and Fooducate that can help you as well.
If you don’t have access to a smartphone, don’t worry. Traditionally journaling in a notebook or using a computer program like Excel is a little more work but still very effective. Use whatever method you know you’re going to use and be consistent with.
Finally, blogging is the fourth way you can track your weight loss effectively. Similar to using Instagram, blogging is a wonderful tool for creating accountability, motivating others and staying inspired. Sharing your story can help you to complete your goals for yourself and your audience. There are some added benefits of blogging however.
It allows you to create a dialog with other people as you write blog posts about health, your discoveries and your struggles. Writing is also therapeutic way of expressing yourself as you overcome the obstacles of weight loss. Finally, a successful blog can actually become a monetary asset. You can sell ad space, create e-books, review products, become partnered with companies as an affiliate and earn money from ad networks like Google Adsense. Check out our post on how to create your own blog for more info on how to get started.
If you’re striving to lose weight consider using one of these 4 tracking methods rather than relying solely on a scale. Tracking is extremely important in goal setting and it can give you the motivation to continue your success. However, my favorite thing about documenting weight loss journeys is that someday your story could serve as a wakeup call and your struggles could inspire countless others to change their lifestyle and reach their goals.