Non-scale signs of weight loss
Reviewed by our clinical team
When losing weight, it’s easy to become fixated with the number on the scale. However, even when making good progress, it’s important to remember that weight fluctuates up and down from one week to the next. Ups and downs are a normal part of any weight loss journey, and to get motivation to stick, and celebrate more wins, it’s a good idea to track non-scale signs of weight loss too.
A non-scale sign, sometimes called a non-scale victory, is something that happens away from the weighing scales. They encourage you to think about your health’s big picture and be more mindful of what your lifestyle changes are doing for your mind and body.
This article will talk about several non-scale weight loss markers you might want to track.
Changes in your blood
Some blood test panels are designed to look at key areas impacting on weight loss and weight gain. These tests look at:
- Cholesterol levels – cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood and made in the liver. Too much cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Losing weight can make a difference to cholesterol levels and bring it within the healthy range.
- Diabetes risk (HbA1c) - this will measure your average blood sugar (glucose) levels over a three-month period. Red blood cells live for about three months, which is why the test can provide a measurement for this period.
- Thyroid function – the thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of your neck. It creates hormones important in regulating many bodily functions, such as metabolism and internal temperature. If you’re not sure why you are gaining, losing or not losing any weight, it can be helpful to check your thyroid function to rule out an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Waist, hips and thigh measurements
When on a weight loss plan, it’s totally normal to have weeks where you don’t lose anything. There are many reasons you might not have lost weight, such as changes to your body shape. If you’re exercising, you might have built more muscle, which weighs more than fat. Keeping a record of your waist, hip and thigh measurements will help you to see where you’re making good progress away from the scales. To start recording your measurements, visit our guide to measuring them.
Carrying too much weight around your waist can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, so losing any excess inches is something to celebrate.
Your energy levels
Feeling more energetic is a good sign that you’re making progress. Losing weight means that you need less energy for your day-to-day activities, so it makes sense that you’ll feel able to take on a bit more. Increased energy could give you the extra motivation to make some of your healthy lifestyle changes stick too, such as your morning walk or cooking from scratch.
The way your clothes fit
You might start to feel better in your clothes, and they could feel looser. This is an excellent marker of weight loss – your favourite pair of jeans provide a good baseline if worn often. If the scales don’t seem to be moving much, the way your clothes fit could offer the reassurance you need that you’re doing the right things.
Many people take photos of themselves in the mirror at the start of a weight loss journey. Looking back at the photos, after a period of healthy lifestyle changes, can be useful in appreciating how far you’ve come - especially on those days when the scales aren’t showing what you want to see.
We’re here for you at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor
Our healthy lifestyle hub offers lots of support and advice, from stopping smoking, to losing weight, and improving your overall wellbeing.
One thing to remember when it comes to weight loss –if you’re losing weight and not actively trying to you should speak to your GP. Unintentional weight loss can be a sign of something serious and it’s best to get checked out.