If you have ever been on a weight loss journey before, or know anyone that has, you will know that weight loss is not a smooth, consistent journey. There are weeks that the scales will not move (or may even go up) or you will look in the mirror and wonder if your body shape has changed at all – that’s when it is crucial to have documentation of your weight loss journey. You will need various ways to remind yourself of how far you have come, how hard you have worked and that giving up now is not an option.
When you start on your journey, photos and measurements may be the last thing you desire to have taken, but you will thank yourself eventually and regret it if you don’t.
Take a start photo, another when you get half way to your goal and then one when you get to your goal. Comparing these photos next to each other will help you see changes in your body that you may not see in the mirror. When we look at ourselves so often, we forget what we looked like before and we don’t notice progressive changes. Photos will show you these and remind you that what you are doing is working, keep going!
Take extra photos if you need – if you are having a week were you are feeling like no changes are happening, take a photo! Just make sure you are wearing the same clothes (even better if you can take a photo in swimwear or underwear), standing in the same position and the camera is the same distance is away from you as previous photos. Always compare same with same.
Take photos from a range of angles – doesn’t have to just be front on, side on is great to see stomach and chest changes and from the back is great to see bottom, hips and thighs.
Keep photos in a safe place, don’t show anyone and don’t look at them every day! Only look when you have a new progressive photo to compare it to. Dating the photos is also a great idea for you to have a timeline.
When you take your start photo, take your start measurements. Document in a book or journal and make note of the date and exactly where they were taken – for example; left arm at mole half way down arm, thigh; 25cms up from top of knee cap – this will ensure you take in the same place every time.
Don’t take measurements daily or weekly, save them for monthly or when you take a new photo or even for when you just need some extra motivation. You may miss these centimetre reductions when looking in the mirror, but you won’t miss them when you take your measurements and try on clothes – what you are doing is working, keep going!
Be sure not to underestimate small losses when it comes to measurements. Take a moment to pause and have a close look at 2 and 2.5 centimetres. 2cm is all it takes to go down a notch in a bra. 2.5cm is all it takes to go down a notch in a belt.
Food – Document a day before you started on your journey, a day that contributed to your weight gain. Now, journal your food choices each day on weight loss, even better plan in advance! Inspire yourself to eat healthy by planning delicious, healthy, exciting days of food. By documenting your food you can look back on how your food choices have changed, how you are nourishing your body with healthier food and starting to do it automatically. Take note of how your habits and cravings have changed, even your portion sizes.
Physical Activity – Document what a week of activity looks like before you start on your journey, a normal week in your life. Now add to your journal of food by journaling your physical activity every day during your weight loss journey. Same as food, it is best to plan physical activity in advance ‘set an appointment with yourself’ and don’t break it! After a few months look back on how you have improved on your physical activity. How are you moving more now? Where are you adding in short bursts of activity that would normally have been sedentary time?
Feelings – Before you start on your weight loss journey document how your food choices make you feel? How you feel when you wake up in the morning? How are your energy levels at 3pm in the afternoon/when you get home from work/at 9pm at night? What quality of sleep are you getting? Then after a few weeks on your weight loss analyse the same questions and more. How is your body feeling? What can you do now that you couldn’t before?
Weight loss is not just about a number on a scale. With the 3 ideas above your weight loss should be about the difference you see in photos, the change in your measurements, the addition of healthy food choices in your menu, the increase of physical activity each week and the awareness that you now get out of bed a lot easier, sleep a lot better and get more done in a day because you have more energy. Don’t let a plateau on the scales or in the mirror stop your journey, document your weight loss in other ways and allow these ways to inspire and motivate you to keep you going.