Scales, measurements or clothes: How to measure your weight loss success



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We use the term “weight loss” pretty loosely in our daily life, but transformation can come in all shapes and sizes. Measuring your success, whether it is through stepping on a scale, using a tape measure, or splurging on new clothes, is an absolutely essential part of losing weight. Tracking your progress allows you to take pride in those changes that you’ve worked so hard to achieve, big and small. Merely glancing in the mirror every day to gauge your progress may leave you disgruntled or disappointed, but using physical measurements can go a long way in boosting your self esteem and keeping you motivated. Take a look below to learn the pros and cons of different tracking methods.


Using a scale

Counting those pounds is probably the most popular way to track weight loss, but this method comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Our body can fluctuate up to 5 pounds every day, so we must take that into account each time we step up on the scale!



  • It provides reinforcement for even the smallest of drops in weight.
  • It’s cheap, simple and requires no complex calculations.


  • It measures everything: the socks on your feet, the oatmeal you had for breakfast, and even that sip of water you just drank.
  • Numbers can be deceiving — scales measure overall weight loss, not just loss of fat.
  • It can be very discouraging to see that number remain stagnant, even when you’re exercising and eating right.
  • It serves as a painful reminder of what a slow process weight loss can be.


Using measurements

Just because those numbers on the scale aren’t budging doesn’t mean your exercise and diet routine isn’t working wonders! This method is more reliable than stepping on a scale and will give you a better idea of the changes occurring all over your body.


  • Does not rely on daily weight fluctuations; therefore, it gives you an accurate account of weight loss.
  • Measures loss of fat, rather than merely a decline in overall weight.
  • You will actually be able to see yourself losing inches off your waist, arms, and legs, etc.


  • You must keep a diligent record of your past measurements in order to track your progress.
  • You must measure in the exact same location on your limbs and torso each time in order to get an accurate reading.
  • If you take your measurements frequently, changes can often be small, so it might appear as if you are not making a lot of progress.


Using clothing

One of the most rewarding ways to track weight loss is through the simple method of wearing clothes. Suddenly, you notice that the little black dress you’ve had tucked in the back of your closet for the last 5 years fits like a glove. Or maybe those jeans you used to have to suck in your stomach to button are fitting loosely.


  • It concentrates on how you feel, rather than getting caught up in the numbers.
  • It serves as a visible, outward sign of your progress.
  • It’s a more personal way to track weight loss, since you are most familiar with how you typically fit into your clothes.


  • Sizes can be different depending on the store. A 4 in one place may be a 6 in another.
  • A long time can pass between dropping down a size, and many people often get discouraged when they don’t see sudden, drastic changes.
  • Our opinion of how we look often changes from day to day, regardless of how much weight we have lost. A shirt that we love one day may seem too tight or short the next. This method relies heavily on our opinions of ourselves.


Want to learn more about these methods? Check out these sources for more information: Nerd Fitness, Spark People, Skinny Teatox, and Fitday.


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