Looking for Progress Past the Scale
In our society today, there seems to be a HUGE fixation on defining not just our progress - but in some cases our overall emotional well being - and total efforts based off of a digital read out.
While this digital number does provide an immediate measurement, with regards to our body weight at that current time and place, it isn't the only tool in the toolbox someone should be using to assess their personal progress. Why? Well, if we were to look at what the definition of the term 'scale' actually is, it's to measure the weight of an item or an object.
Last time I checked, none of us are objects or items! We are human beings! Each of us are unique in our own way with different genetics, personalities, emotions, goals, passions, likes, dislikes, and everything else in between!
No where in the definition of the term scale does it mention any of the following:
Who you are as a person
What you bring to the table
What your future holds
How you make others feel
Your level of intelligence
What you're capable of achieving
You always have been and always will be more than just a number, remember that!
With that being said, there are additional ways which you can use to help gauge your personal progression. Below you will find my 10 recommendations for "looking for progress past the scale".
1. Comparison photos
2. How your clothes are fitting
3. Overall energy levels
4. Sleep and recovery
5. Wearable technology like Fitbit
6. Skin Folds
7. Tape measurements
8. Mental and Emotion well being
9. Blood work
10. Performance during exercise/training sessions
With regards to using the scale, remember that it is one tool in the tool box. Personally, I like to use it with regards to seeing daily trends, consistencies, and/or outliers over the course of a seven day span.
What I mean by this is when monitoring someones weight over the course of a week it will enable us, both coach and client, to see various patterns. From these daily body weight markers, we will be able to see how their body are handling, or adjusting to a certain caloric intake and whether or not an adjustment needs to be made.
With that being said, it is important to understand that there are multiple variables to consider when making an adjustment to someones nutritional protocol. Biofeedback questions and answers play a pivotal role along with body weight and the following determining factors: water intake, digestion, NEAT, sleep, stress, total calories consumed, time of day and consistency with weight check ins, hormones, number of training days that week versus the number of rest days, possible medications, and recovery.
Body composition changes are rarely ever going to be linear. There will be ups, downs, twists, turns, and various periods of maintenance. But as long as you're consistent, and put forth your personal best efforts then there is no reason why you can't achieve the physique and/or performance goals you desire.
Remember the scale is just a tool in the toolbox! It has one job! It cannot build or remodel your entire foundation!
M.S & B.S Exercise Science
School Health Education 043
Physical Education 044
American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)-Authorized Instructor; First Aid, CPR, AED Instructor
Precision Nutrition Level One Coach
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DISCLAIMER: Thomas Munck is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.