It's hard to measure your own gains. Rarely can we be truly honest with our own selves. Either we're too hard on ourselves, or too easy. So how do you know what's true? It comes down to 3 options - 1. The scale. 2. The mirror. 3. Your clothes.
The Scale. Frankly, it's one of the worst ways to measure success as any minuscule shift in the numbers can throw you off your mental game, and your mental game is what you NEED to hit your goal! The numbers don't take into account fat loss and lean muscle gain. The numbers are not the whole truth and not a good measurement of how healthy you've become and how great you look and feel.
The Mirror. It's better than the scale in that you'll be able to see muscle definition that you may not have had before, but it's not a whole lot better than the scale. It's easy to distort what we see. Some mirrors are great (slimming) while other's are not. And have you ever looked at yourself in one mirror and given yourself a thumbs-up only to walk to another room, catch yourself in a different mirror and be disappointed? Lighting my friends.
Your Clothes. In our opinion, the best and most honest assessment of your gains. You know how your clothes feel. Are they getting looser, or tighter? Do they pull or are they comfortable? Does something now fit that didn't? The scale can lie, the mirror deceiving, but your clothes will treat you the most fairly.
All of these elements can be used together and each have their place. If you have a lot of weight to lose, then check in with the scale *periodically*, not every day, to make sure the numbers are going down. A few times a month is fine. If you only have a few lbs to lose, don't watch the scale, especially if you're working out. As you get fit, your lean muscle will take the place of fat and your weight will stay the same or even go up. The scale is the worst measurement of fitness. The mirror is good for seeing your muscles as you work towards a lean body. But as to the overall approach, your clothes are the least likely to distort the truth. They could if you're building muscle, but then the mirror will show you that.
Final thought - stay away from the scale as much as possible, check in with the mirror, but most importantly, realize your value lies in none of these.
by Heather Frey
Founder and President of SmashFit.com, Fitness Strategist, Writer, Artist, CPT, Spokesperson, Fitness Model, National Figure Competitor
Visit SmashFit.com for more fitness information and motivation. Follow SmashFit on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/SmashFit) and "Like" SmashFit on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SmashFit). Connect with founder Heather Frey here: www.facebook.com/HeatherSmashFit.