When you’re trying to get fit and healthy, one of the easiest ways of measuring your success is to step on the scales. After all, losing weight shows you that all your hard work is paying off and is the best method of gauging how well you’re doing, right?

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple and constantly weighing yourself may not show your weight loss accurately.

Not only is it unhealthy to obsess about the number on your scales, especially as there are so many things that can affect it on a daily basis, only using your weight to track your fitness won’t show you the whole story.

If you see the numbers go up or stay the same, it is easy to start thinking that you need to work harder or that you’ve done something wrong, but there are a number of reasons why your weight may not be dropping.

Daily weight changes

Your weight can fluctuate by up to five pounds on a daily basis, even if you weigh yourself at the same time. This means that you may find your weight goes up, down or stays the same, even if you are actually losing fat.

Water retention, the amount you’ve eaten or drunk or just daily bodily process can all have an impact. This means that weighing yourself every day is not the best option as it isn’t going to be an accurate representation of your progress.

You’ll likely see better results if you weigh yourself less, opting for either weekly or monthly weigh-ins. Do these on the same day of the week and at the same time of day to try and get the best results.

Muscle is heavier than fat

When you first start out on your healthy routine, you’ll probably see weight fall away quite quickly. However, this can slow down and seem to stall completely even when you’re still burning off fat.

If you’re building muscle and toning up, it’s important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so your weight may not change even though your fitness is improving. This is why body fat percentage calculations can be a better representation of your fitness levels when you start working on building muscles.

This will show you that all your effort is paying off, even if your scales are being stubborn and refuse to change the reading. It will also help to keep you motivated, which is one of the most important things.

Inches lost

Your weight can stay the same for weeks but you can still lose inches in that time and end up in a smaller clothing size, which is another indication of physical fitness. Just as with building muscle, getting toned and dropping dress sizes shows that you are burning off fat and have improved your fitness, so it’s worth taking this into account.

When you change your routine and start to be healthier, your body will go through a lot of changes. It can redistribute weight to other areas, alter its shape or simply get smaller, all of which can happen without your weight changing too dramatically.

Just as with body fat percentage being a good indicator of real weight loss, so too can measuring key areas of your body to record lost inches. Rather than stepping on the scales regularly, also make sure you are measuring your chest, waist and hips. You can extend this to include your thighs and arms too if you are working on these areas.

Having more ways to track your progress than simply relying on weight can make a huge difference and show you that you are progressing even if the pounds seem to be staying on.