It’s all very well talking about all these different diets and exercise programs, but how can we actually measure if they work? Is weight loss completely objective, or should more subjective measures be taken into account in light of a growing society? I’ve recently put to the test three separate ways of measuring weight loss to see which one was the most effective, and the most rewarding.
The contenders are;
Many of us are extremely objective with our weight loss, counting calories and becoming slave to the number on the scale. Yet in recent years, the scale has experienced a backlash. This previously tried and tested method was being accused of being detrimental, with trainers all over throwing about terms like ‘water weight’ and ‘muscle weighs more than fat’. While these facts are true, it doesn’t affect the validity of the scale, it provides you with exactly what you asked for, how much weight you are carrying around at the time you stand on it. While you shouldn’t become a slave to the numbers, while you are trying to slim down your weight should still continue to steadily decrease, whether or not you drank 3 pints of water the day before. The trick is to not rely on it as an everyday measure, weigh yourself every day and of course you aren’t going to see the changes you want to see. Use it every so often, and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s looking back as you. How did I find it as a weight loss measure? Pretty useless, as I was only aiming to lose a few pounds and tone up, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t give me a shock when I first got on and realised how heavy I had become!
The Skinny Jean;
Skinny jeans, the enemy of any woman packing a few extra pounds, have been suggested as a great tool for measuring how far you’ve come on your weight loss journey. Buy them in the size you want to slim down to, and when they fit you know you’ve done well. For me, this method was a bit wishy-washy, using this instead of the mirror or the scales left me feeling a bit lost. With the skinny jeans, there are no real markers to suggest how far you’ve gone until you reach your destination, and it’s very easy to get disheartened. You’ve had a great week eating well but your muffin top is still protruding, so disappointing! This being said, it can’t be denied that when those skinny jeans do fit well, the sense of satisfaction is the greatest out of the three methods by a landslide.
The mirror was my personal favourite measure. It’s subjective and unique to the individual, and, ironically, you can’t hide behing smoke and mirrors with this one. How you look in the mirror is how you look to yourself. Not being an owner of a full length mirror at university is what prompted me to test these methods, every time I am away from home my weight creeps up, despite owning both scales and skinny jeans. The problem is, when you can’t see yourself you have no idea how that ‘bad weekend’ affected you, and so while the scales may say you gained nothing and your skinny jeans still fit, you’ve lost all that muscle definition you worked so hard to achieve. Using the mirror as a sole measure of my weight yielded the best results by a mile, it’s easy to use every day and changes are much more noticeable in the mirror than they are on the scales, keeping you motivated. It allows you to see how your body is changing with the work your putting in, and can scare you off that extra biscuit with your cup of tea.
I suppose the answer should be obvious, using a combination is the best way forward. However if I were to integrate these tools into my weight loss, I would take the skinny jeans out as a measure, and use them instead as a motivator. Although I am personally not a big fan of the scale, it certainly should not be disregarded, possibly being used once a week, a fortnight, a month etc to measure progress quantitatively, I think the mirror is the greatest measure, and motivator, of them all. The mirror allows you to see your muscles defining; whereas the scale may accuse you of adding pounds. The mirror, while kind when you’ve worked hard, can also provide a shock to the system when you see how bloated your bad day has made you. While scales and skinny jeans can be accused of being invalid and the wrong size respectively, the mirror can’t lie to you. It simply shows you how you look, to be interpreted as you see fit.