When it comes to measuring fat loss on a diet (or technically, fat “shrinking”) I use two tools to measure progress: a digital bathroom scale and the mirror. The combination of these two methods alone may be enough to know if you’re moving in the right direction.
First, I get a fasted weight of my current condition. In other words, how much do I weigh and what do I look like at that weight? This is obviously more difficult when you’re carrying more than a moderate amount of body fat, as it’s hard to see muscular definition at higher body fat percentages. In that case, you’re better off just using the scale and perhaps measuring tape (to measure around your waist – the pants don’t lie!). Make sure to take your measurements as close to the same conditions each time – in a fasted state, after using the bathroom, before drinking water, and without clothing.
Since I have a pretty good idea of what I would weigh in peak condition (plus or minus 2 pounds) I know what weekly goal to shoot for based on how much time I have. It’s true that other things affect your scale weight, such as muscle mass, water retention, food volume, and hormonal cycles for women; but since the goal is to lose fat, you’re obviously going to be lighter at a leaner appearance. So, despite scale fluctuations, the key is to look at downward trends over time.