8 ways to measure weight-loss success without a scale

How to track progress without playing the numbers game.
Published September 9, 2020

If weight loss is one of your health and fitness goals, it can be easy to become obsessed with the number on the scale.

But here’s the thing, focusing only on the number on the scale doesn’t give you the whole picture. And it can be really discouraging when you have days when the number doesn’t budge – or even goes up. But your weight loss isn’t just measured by pounds lost, it’s measured in inches dropped, in muscle gained, in energy increased, in moods lifted, in endurance boosted, in sleep improved.

“There are many other ways to measure weight-loss success besides the scale,” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living.

She shares four ways to measure success beyond the scale:

  1. Going down a clothing size or having old clothes fit looser.
  2. Being able to run farther or faster than you used to.
  3. Being able to keep up with your kids or grandkids.
  4. Experiencing less joint pain.

Weight-loss success is often about the little things – day-to-day bits of life that change or improve as you reach your goals. WW members have told us about their non-scale victories, and they’re often everyday things – things like putting on last summer’s strappy sandals only to find they’re loose now, or being able to maintain the garden with ease, or finding you can reach down to pull up the gas tank lever in your car without having to open the door first. Try taking a moment to reflect and see if there have been any changes in your day-to-day life since you began your weight-loss journey.

“Sticking with your weight-loss journey is about building healthy habits, which turn into regular routines, over time – above all, eating lots of filling, nutrient-dense foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains) rather than ‘diet foods’ – and creating a relationship with food that makes it something you can enjoy and experience, not measure,” says Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, CPT, founder of Hispanic Food Communications and Scientific Advisory Board member for the Grain Foods Foundation.

She shares four more ideas for measuring weight-loss success without ever using the scale.

  1. Eat more frequently with family and friends and keep track of how often you do.
  2. Eat more fruits, veggies and grains and record all the different colours you’ve had each day.
  3. Make a game out of eating slowly – try to be the last one to finish your food and keep a tally of your success. Eating slowly has been shown to help improve digestion and may help with weight loss.
  4. Make more home-cooked meals. “It can be fun to keep count of how many different cultures’ foods you cook each week,” Melendez-Klinger adds.