Have you started a new diet in 2018 with hopes of slimming down? That’s great, but what if the number on your scale is not going down? It’s important to realize that there are many ways to measure the success of a diet change, and tracking the number on your bathroom scale is probably the worst one. Let’s have a look at what to do instead.

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Total body weight doesn’t tell the whole story

The human body is made of different types of tissue – muscles and bones are heavier than body fat. That’s why when we burn fat and build muscle at the same time, we can gain total weight. The regular bathroom scale might be telling us things are getting worse when in fact, our body composition is improving and we are on the right track. And the opposite happens too. People who starve themselves might be happy that their total weight is going down, but they are losing valuable muscle mass (and maybe even gaining fat).

How do your clothes fit?

Looking at changes in your body composition allows you to see what’s really going on. And it’s easier than you think. One thing that doesn’t lie is your clothes. For example, if you can comfortably wear your belt one or two notches tighter, that’s a clear sign you have less body fat around your waist, no matter what the scale says. If you want to be more precise, you can measure the circumference of your limbs and torso with a tape and observe the changes as you continue your new diet. And lastly, if you have access to a specialized bioimpedance body composition scale, that’s also a much better way to track progress than a regular scale.

Measure more than just body composition

Measuring body composition rather than total weight is just one of many useful ways to track progress. The human body is very complex and often changes in many subtle ways that aren’t visible. But we can feel most of these changes, and they can be great motivators, especially in the beginning of a new diet.

• How do you feel after meals?
• How do your energy levels change throughout the day?
• How has your sleep changed?
• How does the diet affect your mood and performance?

If you learn how to listen to your body and measure the progress of these signs, you will have a much easier time selecting the right diet and lifestyle. This series of articles will give you the basics.

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