Alternative methods for gauging workout progress

I didn’t hire a nutrition coach with the intent to lose a significant amount of weight. I didn’t want to lose any more than 10 lbs at the absolute most. Still, I had a visual goal in mind and when I started and even though we’re approaching the half-way mark in the program (and I’ve been hitting the gym 5-6 days per week for five weeks), I can’t say that there weren’t days that I’d look in the mirror and think: *sigh* no abs.

I hardly used a scale at all until my coach, “Coach Be”, made me record my weight for stat tracking. To my surprise I was down four pounds. That sparked a wave of excitement and after my workout, at the end of the following week, I weighed myself again. I was up three. I was ready to blame the change on everything from water retention to the fact that I was still wearing my sneakers. But then I realized I was doing something that I never wanted to do in the first place: I was scale-watching.

These days I only weigh myself when Coach Be asks for my weight. I’ve been far more focused on other “non-scale victories”. These are a few ways that I’ve gauged my progress in the Eating for Abs program without a scale.

How my clothes fit

Truthfully, this is the way I kept track of my weight for years. I don’t wear clothing that is particularly restrictive, but when I say my jeans fit, I mean they *FIT*. Before I started the program, I was retiring more and more pairs of jeans and rotating between my three pairs of “fat pants” that didn’t squeeze my stomach and leave imprints on my thighs from the inseams. I even bought a pair of Lucky Jeans right before Mardi Gras because a pair of pants in the rotation died. The Luckys fit incredibly well… and I didn’t need a belt. That’s always a win for someone with booty. Anyway, here we are about a month and a half past Mardi Gras and not only back in the jeans that used to squeeze the hell out of me, my Lucky jeans are loose. I’m glad they were only $40 at T.J. Maxx, otherwise I’d be peeved.

Taking photos

When I looked in the mirror, all I did was look at my midsection. It was always a close-ended question: do I have flat abs, yes or no. Because the answer was always no, I would discount my progress. But then I had an epiphany while getting dressed. I had just put on my shea butter lotion and had on my underwear and socks. I walked past my full length mirror to retrieve something from the dresser and was stunned at how nice and toned my legs looked. I had a similar experience about a week ago after lifting weights and I spied my arms in the mirror. After having that experience twice, I figured it was time to start documenting my progress visually. I’ve started taking photos whenever I feel like I’m having a “good fitness day”. I upload them to my Google Drive so they’re not just sitting on my phone waiting to be discovered (eek!), and I’m sure that over time I’ll be able to see where strides are being made.

Girth Measurements

This is actually one of the steps in the Eating for Abs course. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so every week Coach Be requests we take measurements at several different points on our bodies. When I started, my waist measurement was 77 cm. I’m down to 73 cm. Visually, it’s an incremental change, but on paper, I’m four centimeters closer to having flat abs. It’s reassuring.

Don’t let the scale be the boss of you. It’s not the only way to judge your progress.

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