5  Ways to Track Weight Loss

As a quality engineer, I know that  right after setting a goal one begins to measure. What is the best way to track weight loss?  Try all five ways, you may be surprised as to which method you like best.  Then one must continue measuring on a regular basis and also start recording your progress.  One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying lose weight and get into shape is failing to properly track their progress.  They simply carry on with their program each week without taking any measurements and without writing anything down.  They say an idiot with a plan will beat a genius without a plan on any day.

If it’s serious body fat loss that you’re after, this is an obvious and costly error. After all, if you don’t have an objective way to track weight loss and your overall changes in body composition and appearance, how will you know for sure if you are losing weight and or getting in better shape?  Accurately tracking your progress will allow you to see if your  fat loss program is being carried out as efficiently as it could be, and will help you to identify areas that could possibly be improved. Here are 5 progress tracking methods that you should be using in your weight loss program....

1. Measure Changes in Bodyweight. Record the weight your weight loss chart.
2. Measure Changes in Percentage Body Fat. Record the percentage on the weight loss chart.
3. Measure changes in Lean Body Mass. The amount of muscle gained will help you lose weight in the future.
4. Measure changes in Bodypart measurements. Like Changes in Lean Body mass this should be recorded in the weight loss Journal.
5. Measure Overall Appearance Date and put pictures in your weight loss journal.

1) Changes In Bodyweight

Even though I can not see results on a daily basis, I like to weigh anyway whether I am on a diet or not. It is a way of reminding me when I need to lose weight.  Because it is easy and somewhat accurate this is the most common method of weight tracking that is used.  It should definitely be included as one of your weight loss tools but do not relying on it completely. The reason is simple: tracking your weight only does not take into account your body composition.
For most people, changing their body composition and losing fat is the ultimate goal. Your goal is also to gain or maintain muscle.

2) Changes In Body Fat Percentage

Measuring the percentage of fat in your body would appear to be the perfect answer to you measurement of fitness, but getting  an accurate reading can be difficult. Skinfold measurements with a caliper is your best tool,but I always take the percentage with a grain of salt. As you get better at measuring % fat you will at least know whether you are losing or gaining fat.

3) Changes In Lean Body Mass

After you have determined your body fat percentage, you can then combine it with your overall bodyweight to determine your body’s  fat mass and lean body mass.
The formula to calculate this is simple…
1) Multiply your bodyweight by your body fat percentage. (This will give you your fat mass in pounds)
2) Subtract your fat mass from your bodyweight. (This will give you your lean body mass in pounds)

We’ll use an individual who weighs 150 pounds at 20% body fat.
150 X 0.20 = 30
150 – 30 = 120
This individual has 30 pounds of fat and 120 pounds of lean body mass.

This is the most important method of  tracking your progress as it will show you exactly how much body fat you are losing and if you are losing lean body mass.

4) Body part Measurements.

Some bodyparts like the waist you want to get smaller, other parts like the chest you may want to get bigger and stronger. If you do not measure, you do not know.

These are the body parts usually measured:

- Waist
- chest
- Hips
- Upper arm
- Thigh

5) Overall Appearance.

Bottom line: how do you look? Take a peak.
Here are 3 ways:

a) Appearance in the mirror
b) Before/During/after pictures
c) Objective opinions from friends and family

I do not know about you, but a picture works a lot better for me. Whether you keep digital or paper pictures, make sure they are dated and in order. I look forward to seeing your before and after pictures some day.  I hope you achieve your ideal body.

I would recommend that you track your weight loss with scales on a daily basis and taking the other measurements on a weekly basis, first thing in the morning before any meals or workout sessions. It’s important that you keep the same conditions each time you measure, as your activity level and diet can affect the readings quite significantly.
If you haven’t been tracking your weight loss progress up to this point, get started now.