Step 4 – Establish Your Starting Point and Track Your Progres

ESTABLISH YOUR STARTING POINT

 

Record the following:

  • Body weight
  • Body fat percentage (not BMI)
  • Measurement of your waist at your belly button
  • Measurement of your hips around the widest part of your buttocks

 

In a journal, make a note of any symptoms you are currently experiencing, for example:

  • Sleepy throughout the day
  • Fall asleep when sitting up
  • Aches and pains anywhere in the body – hands, knees, joints, back, shoulders, neck
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinus issues
  • Allergies
  • Forgetfulness
  • Nails break easily
  • Slow growing nails
  • Headaches
  • Bloated, gassy
  • Constipated, loose bowels
  • Heartburn
  • Low energy throughout the day
  • Slow getting out of bed in the morning
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability, Moodiness
  • Canker sores
  • Food cravings
  • Itchy skin

 

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS ONCE A MONTH

 

Re-record the following:

  • Body weight
  • Body fat percentage (not BMI)
  • Measurement of your waist at your belly button
  • Measurement of your hips around the widest part of your buttocks
  • Make a note of any symptoms that have disappeared, or if the severity of the symptom has been reduced.

 

TRACKING TIPS

 

  • How we are feeling and how our clothes are fitting are the best way to determine progress. If we feel great and feel comfortable in our clothes, it really does not matter what the number on the scale says.

 

  • The scale is only one way of several ways to track progress. Attachment to the number on the scale is one of the biggest mistakes I have seen people make. I have seen people lose weight and make fabulous progress and then hit a plateau, become disappointed they have not lost more, and because of that disappointment, gained all the weight back plus more. Therefore, it is very important to keep the scale in its place. It is one tool we use to measure progress. It is not the only one and it is not the most important one.

 

  • One of the many factors that affects weight is stress. Stress feels heavy, and figuratively speaking, weighs us down. It does not feel good. If we want to weigh less, than we must figure out how to stress less. When we have less stress, we feel lighter and happier. Standing on a scale several times a week and seeing a number we do not want to see does not feel good; therefore, it does nothing to contribute to our success. Weighing in once a month realistically tracks progress without creating an attachment to the scale.

 

  • VERY IMPORTANTIf you are going to track your progress with a body weight scale, I cannot stress enough the importance of investing in a scale that measures body fat percentage. Not BMI, but body fat percentage. They are two different things. BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat. Body fat percentage measures the amount of fat that is on your body, and from there, you can calculate your lean body mass, which is the weight of your muscles, bones, and organs minus your fat. Ideally when people lose weight, their lean muscle mass stays the same or increases a little, which means total body weight may not change that much, but if you are tracking body fat percentage, you will see the body fat percentage decrease. I have also seen people switch back and forth between poor eating and healthy eating and their total body weight not change at all but there is a change in their body fat percentage. When they eat healthy, their body fat percentage goes down. When they switch back to poor eating habits, their body fat percentage goes up. Clearly changes are happening in the body, but if you are using a scale that only measures body weight, you may not be aware changes are happening.

 

  • The accuracy of the body fat percentage is affected by hydration levels and hormone fluctuation. Therefore, simply increasing your water consumption will help lower your body fat percentage.

 

  • If you have food sensitivities, difficulty digesting certain foods, or inflammation in your body, you may see the body fat percentage fluctuate quite a bit. Increased inflammation equals increased hormone production; therefore, achieving a body fat percentage where there is little fluctuation (there will always be some; that’s normal) is a sign of improved health, which if you stay the course, will translate into fat loss.

 

  • Weighing yourself first thing in the morning will measure your lowest weight; however, to measure your lowest body fat percentage, the best time of day to weigh in is late in the afternoon just before eating dinner, and ideally two hours have passed since you last ate. Your body fat percentage will be higher in the morning as you are a little dehydrated from not drinking any water over night. If you weigh yourself two hours away from eating, you avoid the accuracy of your reading being affected by the hormone fluctuation that is caused by eating. Regardless of when you choose to weigh in, the most important thing is to weigh in at the same time every time.

 

  • Below is a chart outlining healthy body fat percentage ranges based on age as well as ideal waist-hip ratio measurements. Elevated waist-hip ratio measurements indicate an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

 

 

Healthy Body Fat % Ranges* Healthy Body Water % Range Waist-Hip Ratio – Healthy Ranges
Women                                                     

18 – 39 years  –  21% – 33%

40 – 59 years  –  23% – 34%

60 – 99 years  –  24% – 36%

 

Men

18 – 39 years –   8% – 20%

40 –  59 years – 11% – 22%

60 – 99 years – 13% – 25%

 

*Based on World Health Organization BMI Guidelines

Healthy Body Water % Range

Women – 45% – 60%

Men – 50 – 65%

Ultimately, the weight and body fat percentage that is within your healthy range and at which you feel most comfortable at, is the right weight and body fat percentage for you.

Waist Measurement

Women                                     Men

Less than 35 inches (89 cm)   Less than 40 inches (102 cm)

 

Ideal Waist-Hip Ratio

Women                                     Men

Less than 0.8                            Less than 0.9

 

Waist-Hip Ratio is an important tool that helps to determine overall health risk. Ratios above the Ideal Ratio indicate an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.