Episode #70 – How To Measure Progress With Fat Loss

tracking weight loss



Listeners are keen to know how to measure progress, so in this week’s episode we’ll look at how to make sure that your efforts are having a positive effect on your weight, fitness and health. If you’re looking to find out how to track your progress without meeting those common setbacks, listen in to this week’s discussion now to hear the solutions and to learn how to measure your journey.

Losing weight and getting fit is a learning process, and sometimes things may not go as planned. If you do fall off the wagon or if you don’t get the fast result you hoped for, you might become disillusioned and give in. Monitoring your progress will ensure that your changes are working, but by enlisting a friend or family member to record your weigh-ins and other data, you can avoid seeing the results until you’ve reached your milestones. This means that you’ll see the positive results for what they really are, and you can work on areas to improve.

Establish your baseline through BMI testing, and then develop the great habits you need to improve your health while stopping bad habits that are holding you back from reaching your potential. Don’t try to make too many changes at once, and look for helpful products and apps to support you, as well as enlisting the help of loved ones.

Find out more about Box Breathing here

Download the Sweet Beat app here

We’ve also got a copy of the Diamond Dallas Page Yoga DVD to give away – just leave us a review or a rating in iTunes!


Hey everybody, Melissa Curtiss here. Thanks so much for tuning in to the program today. And thanks very much for all the feedback and information that you’ve been sending back to me about past episodes and things you’ve listened and things you’ve had questions on. Now, whenever I get more than one or two questions on a topic, I like to get right in here and get on the program and give some answers or what I’ve done that’s worked for me so that you’re not waiting, episodes into the future to hear about what the solution’s or potential solutions to these problems might be.

So a few questions I have gotten over the last two weeks or so have been how to actually measure and make sure that your progressing in restoring health and of course weight loss and fat loss in your journey. Now, this is really important because if you do this wrong and you approach it in the wrong way, and most likely the wrong way is with the diet and fitness industry brainwashes us to believe over the years and it was always the way I had done it in the past. And that was to be completely slaved to the scale and to weigh yourself every day and to just focus on, if things weren’t exactly as you hope they’ve be, just beat yourself up and be depressed. It automatically ruin the day, basically, and almost every day it ruined the day.

Now, what I decided to do and I’ve talked about this a little bit before and sort of jumped around on topics. But today I’m going to talk about all the areas in this topic that you should pay attention to and what I did is – and what I’d say to people is become the CEO of your own health. Let’s put together a team or some people that can help you so that you are not totally focused on the progress and statistics as you go forward.

Now this doesn’t have to be a paid training or anything like that. You can enroll a family member or a friend or neighbor, somebody. And they don’t have to do much. What I would suggest you do is three areas. First one is, once you decide you’re ready for change, your’e going to do some things to change your lifestyle and change the way you’re eating, change the way you’re looking at health, enroll a friend, family member, or neighbor, whoever and get a baseline as I’ve talked about before. And this goes well with getting a blood panel from SFX. But get a baseline of where you are now and what that would involve is, you need to definitely hop on the scale get a starting weight. It’s okay to look at that. You probably know what that is anyway. And then, also, it’s really important to take some tape measure measurements. And this can be done best by someone else doing it for you because it makes the measurements a lot more accurate and a lot easier to do. And usually, what you’ll measure is your neck, your chest, your right around your belly button, which is waist, hips. You can do thigh, forearm and wrist if you want to. Probably forearm and thigh would be good. Wrist is optionial, if you want to. Some people do ankle as well. And that tends to highlight things like swelling of the ankles or things like that you may have had when you get started.

That’s something you should do right there. Now, a lot of people want to know what their body fat is when they start out. Now, if you go to in most gyms, they will have someone who’s been trained and more or less knows how to use what they call calilpers to determine your body fats. So that’s kind of a quick and easy way to do it. The scales that you get that have that on it, they’re notoriously incorrect. So I would either go calipers or there’s two other ways you can do it, one is the dunk tank as they call it, which is a hydrostatic tank where you, sort of float in the water and they have a device that determines, gives a printout and tells you what your body fat ratio is. And the other way is called the DEXA scan. I’ll put a link in the show notes. That’s kind of expensive.I’m not sure what those are going for right now. It’s almost the same thing that you do for osteporosis but it’s looking at body fat percentage. That’s also very, very accurate. So those are the three most accurate ways. Like I said, the scales that say they tell you that are notoriously wrong and can really throw things off. So that’s what I would do. So your starting weight, your circumferences, using a tape measure and someone else measuring. And then, something outside would do and I know this is a hard stuff to do but I did it and now when I did do it, I put it online. I put it on the internet. Take some photographs. Do this yourself if you want to. Full body, front, back, and side, just so you have a starting image and a starting position for yourself.

Now the next question is, how often to repeat this whole routine. Now, I would not get involved with weight ins every day. What I did is, I decided, I wasn’t even going to know what the weight was, was it up or down, same, whatever. I would just step on the scale – I think we did it when I first got started once every two weeks and then once every three weeks, after that. I would have – I was working then with a gym and I would the person that was keeping track of my stats. They would look at the scale, I would just look away and they will write it down. I would only have them tell me or question me if there was – if the scale was going in the wrong direction. So, if for the two week time before the weigh in and then after the weigh in, if things were going up, then we needed to discuss what was going wrong. Maybe something was wrong with the food plan or something, but it never happened with me, so. because you’ll have ups and downs, and that’s not the real prime indicator. What almost all the people in the real fat loss community say is, it’s all about inches and the body composition that begins to shift as your metabolism will actually start to heal from a lot of this health issues you’re having. And as I’ve talked about in the past, many of the problems you’re having with not being able to lose weight is connected to hormonal function and digestive function which may be broken. And so, as you begin to repair those areas and get those functioning better, different things will start to happen in terms of body shape and body size. Maybe before the scale moves. And what most people have told me that I’ve talked to – and these are people who have lost weight way more than me, lost 100 pounds and 200 pounds is that the scale will just – in terms of chunks so you’ll lose maybe three pounds in one swoop and then maybe a pound, and then maybe go up a pound and down a pound. And that’s one of the key reasons not to be fixated on that all the time. It has such an effect on your mental attitude and your mental outlook and it can throw you into a complete downward cycle.

What so many people do and I’ve seen this happen around me is they’ll have a bad weigh in on the scale and they will just throw in the towel for the day and say, “Okay, i’m going to eat whatever I want today, whatever.” And that throws off everything. You want to be feeling better and better as you go forward, as you restore your health. You should be feeling better and you don’t want to become frustrated and depressed and think that you’re not making progress. That’s why the blood panels are so key to seeing what you’ve been able to achieve.

Now, those – because they’re fairly expensive, unless your insurance will cover all of them, in the beginning my insurance didn’t cover the first panel I did and then when they saw the improvements, they did cover the second ones.

I was doing the blood panels about every quarter to see the improvements. At first, I did one, I think it was a month later or 30 days or 60 days later which showed the massive improvement in inflammation being reduced and also in the reversal of liver enzymes which was a condition I have which hadn’t improved in three years and it probably improved in 30 days. It definitely improved in 60 days. So going forward, it would probably be more helpful to look at the blood panels on a quarterly basis and you should see quite a bit of improvement because that’s giving you a couple of months to have these things take effect. And again, your body is going to begin to respond to the change and the kind of food you’re eating and it’s going to begin to start its own internal repairs. But it doesn’t always go in a linear fashion. So many people talk about that that I’ve talked to who have had massive weight loss is, it doesn’t go step by step by step by step, one, two, three, in that way. It kind of goes up, down, back, up, down, back but always declining, always going on and improving scale as far as your health goes and on a declining scale as far as weight goes.

So those are the things I would get done first so you can set your baseline. And then, I would repeat those things, like I said, the weigh ins and so forth, have someone else do it. I wouldn’t be focused on that at all, I wouldn’t even look at it. Just have them write them down, have them do the tape measurements as well and on the body fat thing, again, probably the easiest method is to just go to a gym where they are skilled in using the caliper thing, unless you have the funds to go for a Dunk tank or even have a Dunk tank near you that you can go for. And like I said, DEXA scan is – I believe several hundred dollars, quite expensive, so, unless you have unlimited budget, I would say that’s, maybe out of range for most people but those other methods will give you a pretty good, accurate reading of where you are in the process.

So the next issue that people lump in to kind of this getting started and trying to determine if they’re making progress and how to measure what’s going on, is again, as I’ve said, a lot of people will try to jump in to way too much exercise and working out at first and what I’ve talked about in the program before, many, many times is to try to get into a walking routine and increase your movement routine. One of the best things that’s really helpful for that is fitness wristbands. And those really help with letting you know and making you aware of how static you are during the day because you’re actually wearing it and you can look at it on your phone and your dashboard and you can check in.

A lot of people I’ve talked to that have done this, they’ve seen me wearing them and got interested and then worn them and then I”ll see them again in a month or two or three monts and they’ll talk about it. They’ll just be raving about it, about how they – its really motivated them, how they take walks at lunch break to get their 10,000 steps and all these things.

This is way more important than killing yourself in the gym for three or four times a week because it’s a long term increase of movement of the body and it’s more natural to your body. You’re not wearing yourself down into a complete basket case and then going home and flopping down and feeling awful. You’re just gradually increasing your movement and getting more movement into your day to day activity.

Now, something that is really side tracked and is not talked about too much but it came up for me quite often was breathing and how important that is. I know a lot of people don’t talk about this much but when you talk about establishing baseline routines, breathing is super important and being conscious of your breathing. The reason I know about this as I said, in my own experience is, I was looking at testing base metabolic rate and using various respiration tests. What I found in my testing was that I was basically, during an average day, breathing very shallow, short breaths and particularly if anybody is overweight and suffering with health issues and may have something like sleep apnea and things like that, it only magnifies the situation even worse. Luckily, somehow I think, due to my shoulder injury, I did not suffer and don’t suffer from sleep apnea but it certainly, I should have been but I think it was because of the positioning and so forth. But, back to breathing – breathing is really important and you can have not enough oxygen circulating in your blood and in your body if you’re not really taking good deep breaths. And some of the other benefits of proper breathing, some that I was very interested in because of blood pressure and stuff is increased blood flow. Also, it helps with learning and skilled development focus and attention, energy. It improves your immune system, it can help clear your mind.

A lot of times it’s combined with meditation or you start off meditation with a little breathing ritual. It also can increase awareness and reduces stress and calms nerves and as mentioned, improves meditation. Now, there’s a couple of ways usually that you can do this, and I’ going to recommend and I’ll put a link in the show notes to a little app you can get for your phones for – I believe for Apple and Android, pretty sure it’s for both, called Box Breathing. And it has some little routines that will run you through that will help you do this. But what you cand o is to get more mindful about this is, during the day, give yourself a little break, a little breath break and just practice this. And if you have it on your phone, you can just call it up and follow along as they teach you how to do it or show you how to do it. And I began to use it, used something similar, an app on my phone and became conscious of my breathing. Whenever I was in a stressful situation. So even like waiting for an appointment or something like that, things get delayed, you’re running behind time, your stress starts to build up. I would think, “Oh, this a good time to practice my breathing. Also, if you are feeling tensed or whatever, stressed about something else and you’re in a situation where you can practice it, if you have it right there on your phone to run you through the little five minute break, you can do that and it will help, again, your mental focus, your concentration and also relieve stress.

Now, another one, another app I’m going to recommend which also has a breathing part too is called the Suite Beat app and it has to do with heart variability which is a bit off topic for this podcast but I want to mention it anyway. You can find it at, I believe it’s for both iPhone and Android. It’s called SuiteBeat. Just go into the iPhone App Store and look for it. It has a little breathing visualization for you and can help you, again, just to automatically regulate your breathing and I use that in combination with Heart Rate Variability when I start to gravitate toward more workouts and away from physical therapy as I got better and better with my injuries. Now, if you’re doing just physical therapy now, for instance if you have issues, if you have injuries you wanted to rehab and you’re doing maybe something like foam rolling which I’ve talked about before, which you should be doing or even yoga and keep in mind, which reminds me, I’ll just go a little off topic here. I think we still have one of the Diamond Dallas pages yoga programs. If you’d like to get that, it’s a set of DVDs I think we got a couple of those and we gave some away but we have one left. So if you’re interested in that just dipping off topic a little bit there, just leave us a rating or review in iTunes and we will – you’ll be automatically entered to win that. And we’ll be happy to send that out. I think I’ve kind of forgotten about it in the last few weeks but we do have that.

Anyway, Yoga very much concentrates on breathing and most any yoga practices that you might follow do practice that. But the SuiteBeat becomes more important to you as you go forward with an exercise program to make sure it connects with Heart Rate Variability which is a good way to determine if you are over training or if you need to take a break from training whatever you’re doing. In other words, if you’re doing some – if you start to do some weight training or some interval training and things like that, it’s really handy to have that app because you can use it to evaluate whether you are doing too much. And most people don’t take the signals when they are doing too much. They push through it and what eventually happens of course is, they push themselves backwards and they stall in theire results because their body is being too stressed too fast and it just doesn’t react well to that.

So again, these are all things which I think will help you set a baseline and help you dtermine your progress as you go forward. I think you have to look at the big picture. You can’t be so focused on the day to day. I think the day to day, as I talked about last week is where you want to have your habit restructring take over and you want to start to replace bad habits with better or good habits and not simply stop doing something without replacing it with an alternate behavior or behavior pattern which will eventually become a new habit. So the meditaiton I talked about last week, just doing that for ten minutes that works in well with the breathing. But the breathing I think, you shoudl keep as kind of an emergency break for whenever you’ve got these things that pop up. Like I said, like you’re waiting for an appointment, you’re getting more and more stressed because you may be running behind time and you just take a five minute break and do this little breath app and you’ll find you’ll feel much better. And also, a good place to do this, particularly if you’re commuting is in your car, because if you’re commuting in traffic it’s always stressful so unless you have a nice, beautiful ride through the country on the way to your work, you can use this when you’re feeling stressed in your commute in the car. It’s a great place to do it and practice it.

So I hope these things have been helpful for you to help you setup a baseline and measure results going forward. And as I said, you want to keep a little record of these things. As far as the rephotographing goes, I would do that maybe once a month or you could do it twice a month if you want to. But then, you’ll have a little record. Just file it away and you’ll look back in a couple of months and you’ll see, “Wow! Look at these changes.” And if you want, you can of course go all crazy and put them into a spreadsheet and do percentages or if you’re working with a trainer, you can have them do that for you and see what the percentages are. You can also go completely crazy with it and look at what the averages are for someone of your height, weight, and so forth and compare yourself if you want to do that.

I don’t really think it’s necessary, but depending on your age group and your average fitness condition and your average measurements and so forth, you may find for your age group you may become an outstanding member in the form of improvement and that would go as your age goes higher and higher. Obviously, the large majority of the population is doing less and less and so if you’re doing more, you’re going to excel in that area.

So again, I hope this has been helpful for you. If you put these few things in place you will find it much easier to track things. You’ll also see your success and it will be surprising to you when you look at how far you’ve progressed over a period of 30 days or 60 days or 90 days but you have to really get away from the day to day mental focus of the scale that the weight loss and fitness industry have brainwashed us into thinking that it’s the be all and all and also, I don’t believe that using the scale as something to motivate you mentally is effective in any way. I think it only has negative effects on you and rives you into a whole sub category of an all or nothing situation where you figure, “Okay, first thing in the morning this is the weight isn’t where i wanted to be so I’m just going to blow off today and do whatever I want. And so you don’t want to be doing that. You want to be building up a pattern of restoring your health of healthy eating and of getting a lot of movement or more than you have been. Those are the things you want to focus on. As I mentioned, you will find if you use some sort of a tracker like FitBit or one of those fitness wristbands or even just a really cheap pedometer that you can get from Walmart, I think it’s under five dollars. I think it’s like $3.99 or something. Just clip it on yourself and you can look at it from time to time and you’ll see that if you’re mindful of it, as I said, for people I have mentioned these two that have come back to me, I’ve seen them in a couple of months they’re super stoked and pleased with the results they’ve gotten.

They’ve begin to be more mindful about how much they’re sitting all the time and how much they can take a walk at lunch or take a walk after dinner and do these things and having the pedormeter or the fitness wristband on just as a constant reminder and motivation to incorporate this healthy habit. These things can work. Alright, so, thank you so much and we’ll see you next week, right here.


  1. I just wanted to stop by and tell you I love your podcast and totally appreciate how real you are & how you keep things easy to understand.

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