the scale is not the only measure of success: understanding and using metrics while tracking macros

fat loss, macro tracking

Does just the thought of stepping on the scale lead to anxiety or frustration? If it does, it could be because you’ve been conditioned to believe that the scale is the ultimate measure of success when it comes to your nutrition and fitness goals. 

I’m here to tell you that we don’t have to give so much power to the number on the scale! In this episode, I share why relying solely on the scale can be misleading and dive into other metrics you can use to track your progress with macro tracking. Some of the things I cover in this episode are:

why weight is the most commonly tracked metric for measuring fitness progress

If you’ve tracked your weight before, you might know that it can have so much power over our thoughts and behaviors. So, why are we so obsessed with the number on the scale? 

One reason is that we live in a culture that equates thinness with beauty and success. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us we need to be a certain size or weight to be happy, healthy, and attractive. It’s hard not to internalize those messages, even when we know they’re not true.

The scale also provides a concrete, objective measure of progress. It’s easy to quantify and track, unlike more subjective measures like how we feel or how our clothes fit. And let’s be honest, it’s satisfying to see that number go down, even if we know it’s not the whole story…

reasons why the scale is not always an appropriate measure of progress when you want to become leaner and stronger

When you focus solely on the number on the scale, it’s easy to become discouraged when you see fluctuations or a lack of downward progress. This can lead to negative self-talk and an unhealthy relationship with food and your body.

But here’s the thing – the scale is not always an accurate measure of progress or success in nutrition. Our bodies are complex and dynamic, and there are many other metrics that can give you a better picture of your health and wellbeing.

By focusing on things like habit and behavior changes, sign and symptom improvement, metabolism improvement, increased strength, endurance, and flexibility, body composition change, along with weight, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of how your nutrition plan is affecting you.

other metrics to track your progress and success - besides just the number on the scale!

So you might be thinking… “Okay Emily, if I’m not tracking my weight, how will I know I’m making progress with macro tracking?” Here are some other metrics you can track to help you step away from the scale: 

Behavior changes: It’s key to remember that behavior changes can be just as important as the numbers on the scale. Even if your scale weight isn’t changing, you may be making progress in other ways like increased energy, improved sleep hygiene, and increased confidence. This is a great thing and shouldn’t be discounted just because the scale might not be moving in the direction you want it to. 

Sign and symptom improvement: Dialing in your macros can cause changes in your body like better digestion, more stable energy levels, and improved mood. By paying attention to how you feel, you can get a sense of whether your nutrition plan is supporting your overall health. 

Metabolism improvement: You can tell if your metabolism is improving if you notice things like improved insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar control, and increased energy expenditure. If you’re someone who only has experience yo-yo dieting, this one is super important. 

Increased strength, endurance, and flexibility: The right macros for you can make a huge difference in your physical performance. This could include things like being able to lift heavier weights, run faster or longer, or perform yoga poses that were once difficult. Being able to do more than you once were able to is a fantastic measure of progress. 

Body composition change: If you have goals to change your body composition, lose fat and gain muscle, it’s smart to take measurements and/or progress pictures. This helps you see changes in body fat percentage, muscle mass, and body circumference in multiple areas. By tracking these metrics, you can see how your nutrition plan is affecting your body composition and whether you’re making progress towards your goals to lose fat or gain muscle.

Weight: Yes, weight is still a metric you can use. But, it’s important to remember that it’s just one of many tools in your metric-tracking toolbox. In order to actually use the scale as a tool, you need to use it properly. I recommend taking your weight daily (or nearly daily) and finding the average over the week, then comparing the averages week to week to find trends. 

how tracking metrics other than weight has worked for me and my clients

By tracking a variety of metrics, we are able to get a much more accurate and comprehensive picture of progress and success. This has allowed my clients and I to experience more food freedom and flexibility while navigating their nutrition, as well as to have a more positive outlook on their progress.

When I first started lifting weights, I was not strong. Today, I have put on significant muscle mass, which in turn means that I have a higher metabolism and better hormone situation than I did when I had less muscle mass. Had I mistakenly thought that the higher number on the scale after I started to lift weights meant I was a failure, I would have significantly under eaten my needs to remain at that lighter weight, just because I thought (according to society’s standards) that’s where I needed to be.

my top tips for using metrics effectively to reach your goals

Set realistic goals: When you set unrealistic goals, it’s easy to become discouraged and give up on your nutrition plan altogether. Instead, focus on setting small, achievable goals that you can work towards over time. 

Track your progress over time: This can help you see how far you’ve come and stay motivated to keep going. One way to do this is by journaling through your journey. You can do this with a simple daily or weekly reflection, in working with a coach, or even by keeping a workout journal.

Remember that progress is not always linear: There will be ups and downs along the way, and that’s okay. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself when things don’t go according to plan.

Focus on how you feel and how you perform: This is always going to be more rewarding than just focusing on weight, and might actually keep you more motivated to keep going. By focusing on things like improved energy levels, better digestion, and increased physical performance, you can see the positive impact that your nutrition plan is having on your overall health and wellbeing.

By tracking more than just your weight, you can stop giving the scale so much power over your thoughts and behaviors. I hope this episode has given you some inspiration for other ways to track your progress… and maybe even break up with your scale!

Thanks for listening! Be sure to tune in to all the episodes to get more advice for reaching your health goals with a macros approach.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Macros Made Easy – Get on the waitlist to learn when we enroll next and qualify for exclusive bonuses. This is a professional led, self-paced online course that teaches you how to track macros—the stress-free way. Learn how to eat for your unique needs so you can be in the driver’s seat of how you look, feel and perform without relying on a restrictive diet plan ever again.
  • Eat to Lean Coaching – If you’ve mastered the basics of macros, but there’s still room for more clarity and personalization for your particular goals, join us in Eat to Lean Coaching! ​In this group coaching program you’ll learn nutrition, exercise and mindset changes alongside other women who are in your exact shoes.

follow Macros Made Easy on Instagram for more macro tracking how-tos