When someone says they want to lose weight they usually mean they want to lose the excess fat. Often the scale is used to assess this, which could be discouraging when starting a program. The scale only tells part of the story, as the number could stay the same even though progress is being made in your workouts and diet. The main reason for this is an increase in muscle mass with a decrease in fat mass, which is great progress. Fat loss is the main goal and muscle gain is not only good for your overall health but helps you burn more fat throughout the day while resting.
Another reason the scale can be discouraging is the fluctuations in weight that can occur. Weight can fluctuate based on hydration level, if you have recently eaten, and even bathroom use. It’s because of these that people can be up or down a few pounds day today. Weighing yourself at the same time of day, such as first thing in the morning, can help rule out these fluctuations, but there are other ways to measure progress in fat loss. You could get a body fat analysis test such as measuring skinfolds, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), or a DEXA scan among others. These tests are very useful, but not always needed as progress can be simply seen in clothes fitting better or knocking downsizes in clothing, which can happen with the scale saying you haven’t made any progress. Measuring your progress is great and it helps to keep us on track, but as long as you are making that lifestyle change and feel better overall you can know that progress is being made.