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I can’t think of another instrument on earth with the power to shift your mood from hopeful to heartbroken as swiftly as the villainous, evil bathroom scale. In just two simple steps, first your left, then the right, you are instantly at its mercy and, of course, mercy is rarely what you get in return. So, whether you are a slave to the scale or a total scale scared-e-cat, here are a few ways to tame the beast and come out a winner.
Mix And Match - When you start a new fitness regimen, you don’t eat just one type of food or use only one type of exercise. To keep things balanced, you need variety, not only in your food and exercise, but in the way you chart your progress as well. When it comes to getting the clearest picture of where you are headed, there are four ways to gauge your success – the scale, body fat calipers, tape measure, the camera and, last but not least, the good old pant-o-meter. Used in combination, they provide the most accurate picture of where you stand in your efforts to downsize.
The Scale - If you follow a consistent program of weight training, cardio and proper nutrition, you can expect to lose an average of 1 to 1.50 pounds of scale weight per week. Trust me when I tell you that these averages are hard to buck, so keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to see a three pound loss one week, you shouldn't expect to drop the same amount the following week, no matter how "good" you are.
Body Fat Calipers - The best way to calculate what's really happening on the scale is to compare it with what’s happening to your body fat. Of the many ways body fat can be measured, the three most common are: Hydrostatic (very expensive and time consuming,) Pinch Calipers (moderately priced, sometimes uncomfortable, and requires assistance) and Impedance Calipers (affordable, quick, and reliable.) No matter which you choose, it’s important to use the same method and equipment throughout your program and always test at the same time of day.
The Tape Measure - About every four weeks you should measure the circumference of five specific spots on your body. For consistency, I choose the widest area of the left thigh, hips, waist, chest, and left bicep. Once you have measured each site, total the inches and continue to compare this total with your initial stats. This will allow you to determine the total inches lost to-date. When you are losing the proper amount of body fat, you can expect to drop a full inch for ever pound you lose on the scale.
The Camera – Nothing reveals your results more accurately or more dramatically than comparing your “before” pictures with your “after” pictures. Aside from the obvious reasons for keeping a photographic history of your progress, there is another very important factor in taking those painful first shots. From a psychological standpoint, it says something very powerful when you take that snap shot in time. In the most resolute way, taking before pictures sends a proclamation to yourself and to the world, “Have one last look, because I’m never coming back here again.”
The Jean Test - The best measurement of all is the one that really counts. There's no better feeling in the world than to slide into a pair of denims you could barely zip the month before. When it comes to determining what direction your waistline is really going, nothing is more reliable or more gratifying than the good old Pant-O-Meter.
Dianne Orwig is a success coach, motivational speaker, fitness trainer, and founder of LivingFit Online™, a fitness program that has helped thousands of men and women completely transform their bodies and live healthier, happier lives though her less-works-better approach.
For more information on how you can get better results in less time and with less effort than you ever thought possible, visit http:/
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