The majority of the population place all of their fat loss efforts based solely on the scale, no loss in weight makes the majority frustrated, even if they believed they have done everything right.
The importance of using various measuring tools is absolutely critical when measuring progress, and keeping you motivated knowing you are on the right path. Use as many measuring tools as you can: pictures, measuring tape, body fat calipers if you have them.
One of my online clients, Charlotte Lucas is a prime example of this, she has only lost just over 7lb’s. Which doesn’t sound impressive, but you have seen the pictures, and the difference is striking.
Here is a short piece from Lyle McDonald, who discusses how water retention can mask true fat loss, thus, why the scale doesn’t always move, even when you have lost fat.
“I honestly suspect that weirdness in water balance plays a huge role in this; and there is a lot of individual variance in how much people are prone to retain water (simply, some are more prone than others). I discussed the ‘whoosh’ phenomenon in The Stubborn Fat Solution and honestly think that water retention and such tend to ‘mask’ true fat loss in a lot of cases, at least over the short term.
Then seemingly overnight, it looks like someone has lost several pounds of fat; people wake up leaner and lighter. At some point in the future, I’ll write a full article about the topic.
And while the above applies to both men and women fairly equally, women have an additional issue which is the changes in water balance throughout the month due to the menstrual cycle.
As I discussed in Body Composition Recommendations, some women can shift fairly significant amounts of water over the duration of their monthly cycle. That will tend to overwhelm all but the most extreme rates of fat loss.
Trying to measure fat or weight loss in women on a week to week basis is often a futile endeavor and females may have to measure only once per month (ideally at the same point in the cycle) to get any sort of consistent or comparative measures.
Women should generally pick a specific point in their cycle and make all measurements then to track changes month to month.
Another option is to measure weekly but only compare the same week of the cycle each month. So week 1 of the cycle would be compared to week 1 of the cycle a month down the road, week 2 is compared to week 2, you get the idea.
What doesn’t work is comparing week 1 to week 3 because the body may be holding a ton of water during one of the weeks and not during the other making comparison impossible.”