On any day, your true progress won’t be accurately reflected by your weight. This is because body weight can change on a daily basis due to the amount of fluid we retain. Foods high in sodium, certain medications, and other factors can increase fluid retention and skew your weight. However, over time the scale tells the whole story. If your weight increases up after two or three weeks, you’ve been eating more calories than you’re burning.
The opposite is also true – if your weight decreases after two to three weeks, you’ve been eating fewer calories than you’re burning. A steady weight indicates the calories you’re burning and consuming are equal.
If you’re making progress in at least two of the following areas, you’re on the right track with your weight change goal:
- Inches lost
- Body fat percentage
- Clothing size or fit
- Energy levels
Also, keep in mind that not all weight change is equal. Gaining muscle is another way to gauge your progress. For example, if you’ve gained a pound of muscle, this is not the same as gaining a pound of fat. Gaining muscle is beneficial to your metabolism and strength level. By consistently burning more calories than you eat, muscle gain will taper and fat loss will continue.
Be sure to weigh yourself at least once a week. Those who have lost weight and kept it off, check their weight on a weekly and even daily basis. To be consistent, follow these tips for weighing in:
- Wear similar clothing each time
- Use the same scale
- Weigh in at the same time of day
- Maintain similar eating and drinking patterns prior to weighing in
- Weigh in mid-week if you only check your weight weekly. Monday weigh-ins tend to be inaccurate because of food choices and eating habits on weekends
Regular weigh-ins allow you to react to small gains so they don’t become large ones. Daily weighing has been shown by research to be the most effective in reaching your goal.