What Is The Most Reliable Way to Measure Weight-Loss Progress? [Podcast Episode #107]
Are you obsessed with the scale?
Do you weigh yourself on a daily basis? Does your heart start pounding if the number you see is larger than the one you saw yesterday?
The scale has become THE barometer of success when it comes to living a healthy life. A lower scale number means you're doing well. You should feel good about yourself.
Whereas a higher number means you're a failure. You should never have eaten that cookie last night!
The scale is deceptive and it can be damaging. But, if you stop using the scale, how will you know if you're making progress at all?
Let's look at some more reliable (and mentally healthier) ways to measure your fitness progress...
Make Your Body Work Podcast: Episode #107
- Visit James at Weightology
- The Pitfalls of Using Body Fat % as Your Measurement of Progress [Article]
- Should You Eat Protein Before or After Your Workout? [Article]
- Why Is It So Easy to Regain Weight? [Article]
- Want to see James' personal transformation? Here it is...
What Is the Most Reliable Way to Measure Weight-Loss Progress? [Full Text]
Dave: Hey, thank so much for joining me on this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. How do you measure progress? This is a tough question, something that I hear a lot. The number on the scale seems to fluctuate so much. BMI isn't really reliable. Do body fat scales actually work? Should I be using a tape measure to measure my waist or my hips or my legs?
What do you use to measure progress? What's reliable? What's accurate? How often do you measure? What should you expect from those measurements? All these questions are ones, again, that I hear from clients all the time. And Kathleen wrote in and she asked exactly that.
She said, "I understand that BMI isn't very reliable measurement for judging my weight or health, and I find the scale is the same. It goes up and down a lot each day., so I try not to put much stock in what it says. So, what do you recommend to use? What's the best way to measure progress or lack thereof?"
And Kathleen, thanks for writing in. I love your questions, really succinct. And I do want to emphasize this is something that I hear all the time, and I hear frustrations, even from some of my clients who make progress one week, and then next week it doesn't seem that they're making any more progress. So, what is the best way to measure?
And I've got a great guest today. He has done tons of research in exactly this area. Different measurements of progress when it comes to losing weight… what's reliable? what actually works? So, I'm really excited to introduce to you James Krieger.
Meet James Krieger
Dave: Hey James, thanks so much for joining us on the show today.
James: Thank you for having me.
Dave: I was wondering if you'd start off by talking a little bit about your own personal journey. So, I've learned a lot about you in preparation for the show, and I've kind of seen some of your transformations, particular you've got a couple of transformation pictures of yourself that are amazing. And maybe, if you don't mind, I can include those in the show notes so listeners can see as well. Would you mind if I include that.
James: Oh yeah, go ahead. Yeah. Go ahead.
Dave: Tell us, yeah, where did you start out, and what is it that you're doing now?
James: Yeah, I've been in the fitness industry now for gosh, since the early days of the Internet really, mid-90s approximately. And I kind of got into it. I was actually kind of a computer science guy, kind of a computer nerd guy, and was really skinny coming out of high school, and wanted to put on some muscle so I could get girls at the time.
And so I started lifting weights and stuff, but I actually having a computer science background, just kind of that science mind, I became very fascinated just with the changes that were happening to me.
So, what was interesting, and that kind of developed into a passion over time, and I ended up kind of leaving the computer science field and going into the exercise science field, and going on to do graduate work and research, and started to do publications and things.
And after leaving college, I ended up becoming the head research guy for a highly successful weight management program. So, I was on the staff for that for a long time, and then started getting involved with other professionals in the industry, a number of people like this man named Brad Schoenfeld whose done a lot of muscle hypertrophy work. And then another friend of mine, Alan Aragon, whose kind of well-known in the nutrition world.
And really kind of, it just all took off from there, and then I started my own website, and yeah. So, it's kind of led to what I'm doing now. I'm still involved with research, still publishing research, and reading research, and things like that. So yeah, but I was around in the early days of the Internet when there was an old message board called misc.fitness.weights.
And there are actually some names that people might know. Your audience may or may not know these names. But like this one person named Lyle McDonald, who's kind of a known name in the fitness industry among some people. I mean, I knew him back, I kind of met him back then online, and some other people as well.
So I, yeah, it's been since the mid-90s, so yeah, what? 20 years, more than 20 years involved in the industry, and so.
Dave: Well, I appreciate your honesty, that you started to get girls.
James: That was the main driver. I mean, I was a 19, 20-year-old guy, I mean, so.
Dave: I can only laugh at that because it's the same story as my own.
Dave: So, and I've told that many times in the podcast too. It's all about aesthetics. But then, as similar to you, as you dive in and you start to see the changes in your body, and start to talk to other people about their transformations, it really does become quite interesting. Aside, like, nothing to do with the aesthetics anymore, but just about the body's ability to change and adapt.
James: Yeah, and for me, it also transformed into, I mean, obviously just seeing that there was a major obesity problem in this world, it transformed into, "Well, how can I use all this knowledge to help all these people out?" So, there's definitely that aspect as well.
Dave: And I was interested to have you on this podcast because reading your bio, it's obvious that you've done your research. And one of the questions or complaints, I get a lot of people that will vent to me, they'll send me messages after listening to the podcast and they'll say, "I heard you talk about this," or "I heard your guest talk about this, but I read another article and it said the exact opposite."
And there's so much, nowadays it's so easy to publish something online and for people to read it, It's very important to get back to the research and say, "Okay, this is actually scientifically proven. This is truth." And so, I'm excited to hear some of your opinions and your ideas based in research.
James: Yeah, yeah.
BMI vs. Body Weight: Which One Tells a More Accurate Story?
Dave: So, let's start off. We're going to dive into Kathleen's question, and maybe this is something that you've dealt with before, but she basically says, "BMI, I've heard that that's not reliable. My weight fluctuates like crazy. What do you recommend for me to track my progress?"
And let's break this down, start off with BMI. That's a metric that a lot of people throw out. What's your opinion od using BMI for tracking progress?
James: Well, I'm actually going to use BMI and weight as synonymous. Because really, because your height doesn't change, BMI is just an index of your weight related to your height. And the reason researchers use BMI is because on a population level, if you're looking at populations of people, BMI is a good indicator of health.
If you're just going to look at the average amount, a large population of people. I mean, most people, if you have a BMI over 30, and I'm going to exclude football players and people with a lot of muscle mass, we know that having a BMI of more than 30 which is classified as obese is associated with a lot of other health issues like diabetes and other things like that.
So, in that sense, BMI is perfectly fine. But I'm going to translate into weight, because again, your height, if you're an adult, your height doesn't really change. So, BMI is really just another index of weight. So, let's get into weight. And so, yeah, people say, "Well my weight fluctuates all the time" it depends on what level you're looking at.
If we're going to think of weight, and I'm not talking about day-to-day fluctuations in weight, but certainly, someone who is carrying so much body fat that they would be classified as overweight or obese, I mean, that's an issue. And in that sense, weight is reliable.
But if you start to narrow it down as far as getting to that level, that's the type of weight gain that happens over months and years. But if we talk about weight on a day-to-day basis, then you got to be more careful, because your body weight on a day-to-day basis is not necessarily a reliable metric of, let's say, your progress.
Your body weight fluctuates so much day-to-day. It is not necessarily a reliable way to measure your progress
How Much Do Day-to-Day Weight Fluctuations Impact Your Perceived Progress?
Let's say I'm trying to lose fat. And here's why: It's because really, your body weight on a day-to-day basis- and again, I'm not saying month-to-month basis or year-to-year basis- I'm purely focusing on kind of immediate timeframe- Your body weight on a day-to-day basis will fluctuate based on so many factors.
Like, you go to a Chinese restaurant and have this high sodium meal, chances are you're going to wake up the next morning a couple of pounds heavier, and the only reason you're a couple of pounds heavier is because, it's due to sodium-stimulated water retention. Okay, you're just retaining, your body has more water inside it, which is making you weigh heavier the next day.
Your body weight can change just in response to having variations in amounts of food. I mean, there's always residual food in our digestive track. Unless you've been fasting for days, or your going to do a colonoscopy, so they make you take that stuff that basically causes you to poop everything out, there's always some residual food in your digestive tract.
So, your body weight can change day-to-day just based on how much residual food is in there. So, you have things like that, fluctuations in body water, things like that, and that's why a day-to-day variation in body weight is not a reliable metric.
And so, some people they tend to freak out, like they weigh themselves one day and then they step on the scale the next day, and like, "Oh my God, I'm a couple pounds heavier!" Right? Let me put it this way, you're certainly not a couple of pounds of fat heavier. Because you don't gain a couple of pounds of fat that quickly.
Fat gain or fat loss is actually a slow process, both ways. It's a slow process when you're losing it, and it's a slow process when you're gaining it. It's not something that happens, unless you're feeding massive amounts of food, like in a scientific study where they might feed someone 10,000 calories a day or something, you simple are not going to gain large amounts of fat in a short period of time.
And likewise, it's true with fat loss, people will go on these extreme juicing diets and things like that, and they lose something like ten pounds in a week, and that is just basically water weight that they're losing, it's not actual fat weight that they're losing. You can't lose that much body fat in a week.
Water weight can be lost very quickly. Fat weight is a much slower process. Don't confuse one with the other.
James' Favourite Approach to Measuring Weight-Loss Progress
Dave: James, let me just jump in there, because I love the fact that you mention both sides of that coin. As a weight loss coach myself, I know sometimes there's a temptation to celebrate with clients when they're really excited about having lost "five pounds of fat" in a very short period of time.
But what you just said is so true, is that just like gaining fat, losing fat it does take time. What would you say is sort of a guideline, quite often in the media we'll hear one to two pounds of fat per week is sort of doable. Is that what you'd stand by?
James: Yeah, kind of. With my clients, I use a percentage of body weight, so I usually will do anywhere from a half a percent to one percent of body weight per week. Because we do know with people who are, say, very obese, they can actually lose fat relatively quickly without losing lean mass and things like that.
More quickly than someone who maybe is not carrying as much fat. And so I tend to like percentages in that sense. So, no, if someone's 300 pounds, one percent per week, that's like three pounds per week. And that's certainly doable for someone who's 300 pounds.
But, someone who let's say, is 180 pounds, I would not do three pounds a week. So, I like to base things off percentages, but also, one to two pounds per week is certainly fine. I mean, it is very, there is a limit to how much fat you can basically lose in a week's time, even if you're on a pretty high deficit. And so, it's more of a marathon than a race. That's not to say that there's no benefit to some rapid weight loss initially.
I mean the research does show that sometimes, when people experience, some people call it the "whoosh effect," where when you first start dieting, this is especially true with the low-carb diets, but really it can be true with a lot of different types of diets, sometimes there's this rapid initial loss of water weight the first week or so, and you suddenly see the scale down, and it can be motivating.
Of course, that can be a double-edged sword if you don't realize that a big chunk of that's water weight, then what can happen is, let's say you lose a bunch of weight, and then you, let's say return to, let's say, a more maintenance calorie diet, you may gain a few pounds, but that's just water weight and extra food now that's in your digestive tract. That's not actual fat weight that you've put back on, so.
Dave: That's really important, the psychological aspect of it. I know I had a woman in one of my weight loss groups recently who in her first week, she lost, I don't know, five or six pounds. And then, in the subsequent week, she, in her words, lost "only one-and-a-half pounds."
James: Yeah, but one-and-a-half pounds is great.
Dave: It's awesome, but it's all that, it's framing it.
James: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Dave: What is the actual goal? What is sustainable. And so, your advice is right on.
The More Tools You Use, the More Reliable Your Conclusions Will Be
Dave: What would you say then, so I'm going back to Kathleen's question, she's basically looking for what is a good metric? What are some expectations that you can set for measuring progress? So, what do you say to people? What do you give them? How often are they measuring? Is the scale the best way to measure? What do you suggest?
James: So, I like to use a combination of tools. So, for me the scale is just one tool. And it's one tool to help us give an idea where you're at, but it's not the only tool. And with every tool that we have, there are flaws within that tool.
So, we have to consider the flaws in the tool that we use to measure where you're at, and that's why I like to use a variety of tools. So, body weight certainly is a valid tool because you can only gain so much muscle, especially if you're in an energy deficit.
So, if your body weight's staying the same, yeah, you might be gaining some muscle and losing fat at the same time. But eventually, especially if you are, let's say, carrying a fair amount of body fat, eventually your weight is going to have to start going down at some point.
Simply because when you think about the density, muscle is more dense than fat. It takes up less space. And so, even if you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, your body weight might stay the same, but measurements will change. I'll get to that in a second, but, usually, I mean, you're going to have some loss in body weight at some point.
So, body weight is still a valid tool, but it's not the only tool. And the reason I say that is because, like I said, you can have situations where, you could go, say, three weeks no change in weight, but you may have actually, let's say, added some muscle and lost some fat at the same time, but your body weight stays the same.
And actually, I have a friend in the business. Her name's Sohee Lee, and she presented a picture of one client at one time. It was a very interesting picture, and I've actually shown it to some of my clients before, but she had one client whose weight hadn't budged for, oh man, I want to say it was a fair amount of time, about, I want to say it was something like two or three months.
Or, maybe it did change, but it only changed a little bit. But she had a big change in her measurements. Pretty sizeable change in her measurements, which indicated that she was making progress, it just, it wasn't necessarily showing up on the scale because she had gained some lean mass and lost fat at the same time.
So, I use the scale as one tool, but I like to combine that with just basic measurements like waist circumference, leg circumference, things like that, as an addition to the body weight, because it can help, because again, the scale, the one thing it can't tell you is if you're necessarily gaining some lean mass and losing fat at the same time, that's one thing it can't tell you, so.
Now as far as how often would you measure, things like that? For body weight, I like to have my clients weight on a daily basis, but under the same conditions. Like basically I have them weigh themselves in the morning, after they've gone to the bathroom, before they eat anything.
But, what I do is I want them to take their weight on a daily basis, but I like to go by a weekly average. So, I want them to take their average for the week. Because I'm not going to go by the day-to-day fluctuations, because like I said earlier, you can have day-to-day fluctuations based on changes in what you ate the night before and stuff like that.
So, I'm not going to go off that. What I like to do is compare the weekly averages, so I'll take average for week one, compare it to the average for week two. And then I'll start to look at the averages that way.
And I think that's the best way to do it because taking the weekly averages tends to eliminate some of those day-to-day fluctuations. Now, even with weekly averages you may get some fluctuations, but and we smooth out some of the fluctuations if you do it that way.
And then when you combine it with measurements, and I like to have my clients do measurements every one to two weeks, again, whether it's waist circumference or whatever, and we combine it with that, you can get a reasonably good gage on your progress over time.
Dave: When you frame that with your clients and say that we're going to be taking your weight on a daily basis, but we're looking at the average, does that eliminate the trauma that they might experience if they saw a big jump in their weight? Because they [inaudible 00:18:05]
James: I think it depends on the person. But I think it helps though, when I tell them that, "Hey, we're going on average." And if they do get a jump in their weight, basically I always just reassure them. Actually, a lot of times, I'll actually even run the numbers for them. And I've actually done this for a few clients who were kind of concerned about their body weight.
Because again, I wanted to explain to them how that the process of fat gain is slow just like the process of fat loss. And I actually would calculate the numbers for them, and just to demonstrate, and I would even use myself as an example of some of the fat loss phases I've gone through, and just shown them actually how slow it actually happens.
For me, who's a professional, and I know what I'm doing, and still it's a very slow process. So, and I even show them how my body weight, I will actually show them how my body weight jumping up by two or three pounds, and I explain it to them that, "Hey, this is perfectly normal. It happens to me and it happens to everybody, and it's not indicative of whether or not you're making progress.
How Reliable Is Your Scale?
Dave: I totally agree with you. Kathleen she doesn't mention specifically measuring body composition with body fat percentage, but I'd like to get your input on that. For the average person who has maybe an electrical [inaudible 00:19:26] scale, like a body fat scale at home in their bathroom, how reliable would you say that is, and would you recommend that as a tool to measure progress?
James: Not very reliable at all. I'm not a big fan of body composition assessments because, and I've actually written a series of articles on my website about this, they're very inaccurate. And I think that the reason people like to use them is because, they are accurate on an average level if I'm looking at a group of people.
So, if I'm a researcher, I'm a scientist, and I want to take a group of people and test their body fat on average, and then I want to see what's the effects of an exercise program on their body fat. So, I take the average of the whole group, and then I put them on some, say, three-month exercise program, and then I take the average of the whole group again.
That body fat testing like BIAA or other techniques, works fine for that, works very well for that, but when you start looking at individuals, individual persons, the error rates are actually extremely high. In fact, they are so high that they're much higher than the changes you often see within a short period of time.
And you can have people, and I have examples of this of people that I've worked with, who have obviously lost body fat. I mean, their measurements have changed, their strength has gotten better in the gym, so we know they haven't lost any lean mass and yet, the BIAA machine will actually show their body fat percentage going up.
And so, this would be after say, a five-week period. And so, again, I've written a series of articles on this, these type of techniques are highly impacted by a lot of different variables including your hydration status, the accuracy of the regression equation that's used in the device, they're all very, very rough estimates.
And when I say rough, I mean very rough. I mean, we're talking a certain device might show, say it shows your body fat percentage is 30%, it could be as low as 25 or as high as 35. I mean, that's how rough of an estimate it is.
So, I generally don't, like personally I don't have my clients assess their body fat. If they want to, they can, but it's not something I use. And if someone is going to use it, it is that I recommend very long periods of time between measurements. And I mean like months.
And so, I would say, I you want to do body fat percentage testing, wait at least three to six months before you test yourself again. I would not test yourself on a weekly basis or anything like that, because the devices are simply not accurate enough for that type of testing, so.
Dave: James, I completely agree, I remember when, this was years ago when I opened my own gym, and I bought quite an expansive body fat scale, and as I was reading through the documentation that came with it, it said the variance was about plus or minus two-and-a-half percent. And at first thought, that doesn't sound like that much, two-and-a-half percent. But in total, that's a five percent range.
Dave: And that's huge. If you're measuring yourself on a weekly basis, and especially if there's an emotional connection to that, "Wow, my body fat just went up .6%. What am I doing wrong?"
Dave: It's just completely meaningless.
James: Yeah, well I mean, I can tell stories around that of clients crying because, so like for example, like I said, I was the head researcher of an obesity management program that primarily focused on Microsoft employees. Microsoft insurance covered the program if you were obese, so basically almost all of our clients were Microsoft employees.
Well the thing about Microsoft employees is that they are very numbers-oriented. So, you would have situations were they would have their body fat assessed, and then they'd have their body fat assessed, at the time when I was there, we're doing it every five weeks, and the clients would actually, and we'd have a few clients cry, because it showed their body fat percentage go up.
And in fact, it was those type of situations that the CEO of the company asked me, he's like, "I want you to do some research into body comp testing, because what's going on here?" And so, I did a big research review for the dietitians and doctors on the staff, and it was that research review that eventually led to my article series that I wrote on body comp testing, and so yeah, it was, it can really upset people who put too much faith into the accuracy of a technique that is not very accurate, especially on an individual level.
But I Still Can’t Get Results! What Can You Do Next?
Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And some of the listeners, they might think, "/oh, that's ridiculous for someone to cry over a body fat percentage that goes up," but I challenge anyone who's listening to this, to think about, have you ever put in some work, so say you started a new diet or a new exercise routine and after two weeks stepped on the scale, and again, "It only went down a pound," or maybe it didn't even move at all, and thought, "What a waste of my time."
And maybe James, have you experienced that with clients who say, "Why am I doing this? Why am I busting my butt, and I don't see any change?"
James: Yeah, it can be very, because it's such a slow process, it can be very frustrating for people and so the body fat percentage can sometimes make things way worse. If you've been doing all this work, you've been paying so close attention to your diet, and you've been attending all your exercise sessions, and to not see much progress, it can be very, very frustrating, so.
Dave: What would you say to someone who is in that position then? So again, they've done the work, and let's use the scale, because that is the most common measurement that people use, and the scale isn't doing what it "should." What do you tell a client like that?
James: So, what I do, and I've had situations like that, is a lot of times when I do have situations like that, there are other things that have improved. So, what I will so is, is first I will show them, "Look, look at these things that have improved."
And then, basically I then discuss with them the weaknesses of why the scale is not telling you everything. And a lot of times again, I've used myself, I have data on myself of where I've actually shown my clients my own daily body weights. And I will take that client and show her like, "Look, look what's happened to me.
I've had situations like this before." And then I will show them, "But look. Down the road, it eventually changed in the direction I wanted it to. It obviously sometimes just doesn't happen very quickly."
And I think that helps a lot when, especially with me helping the client, if they can actually see that it's happened to me as well, and they can see what the eventual outcomes were, I think that helps a lot, and it helps them realize that, okay this is just a short-term blip, and it's not necessarily indicative of what's going on over the long term.
Goals that can only be achieved over a long period of time are the most rewarding ones to achieve!
Dave: And I think that's super important, the fact that it takes time. One of my frustrations as a coach in the fitness industry is that, everyone wants to use the most exciting stories. And it makes sense, right? As a fitness coach, I'm not going to promote that client that lost ten pounds in a year, even though that client might be ecstatic and so much healthier and happier.
But it's just not a sexy story, and so that's why in the media we see these outrageous claims, "My clients lose 25 pounds in the first three weeks," or whatever it is. And it might be true, but because that's publicized so much, that becomes what people expect as the normal, when it's anything but.
James: Oh yeah, every coach and trainer is going to advertise their best results. But it can create a distortion on what the actual typical results are for people, so.
How Weight and Hormonal Changes Go Hand-In-Hand
Dave: I like the fact that you refer back to your story, because that is powerful to say, "Hey, I'm someone," and you'd say to yourself, "Hey, I'm a professional, and I've been frustrated before, but I knew to stick with it, and this is the long-term result."
And I knew that that's probably a harder case study to find, because so many people after a month, if they don't see the changes that they're expecting, don't stick with it. And so, those cases of success that took a longer period of time, are harder and harder to find.
James: Oh yeah, yeah, and not just sticking with [inaudible 00:27:44]. Sometimes things need little tweaks here and there, I mean. If I have some clients that after a month are not really making any progress, we don't just stop doing everything. We might make some tweaks here or there, and maybe this needs to be changed a little bit, maybe this needs to be tweaked a little bit. But, the overall plan, we stick with the overall plan, because [inaudible 00:28:12] that it's more of a long-term process, so.
Dave: I like the way you said earlier too, when you're talking about body composition changing, using an example of someone who's been putting on muscle mass, and that might be offsetting the fat loss, so the number on the scale has been staying consistent.
But at some point, I really liked what you said, "At some point, muscle addition is going to drastically slow down or stop." And I think about, I work only with women, and that's so true with women. At first, they're going to be putting on muscle for sure when they start hitting the gym and doing resistance training.
But at some point, that's going to stop, and the weight will go down. But that point, it might not be in a month. It might not even be in two months. But at some point, it will.
James: Oh yeah, exactly. And the other issue with women is because they have the hormonal fluctuations through the month that men don't have, that alone, that causes shifts in water retention and things like that, which can actually mask, it can kind of mask progress, and I've seen other coaches who work with women, that are pretty smart.
Sometimes, they won't even do weekly progress, they'll do monthly progress, just because. Or they'll compare, rather than comparing this week to last week, they'll compare this week to the same week from the previous month, because of the hormonal fluctuations that women's bodies go through every month, and so, which causes such significant changes in water retention.
I mean, you can have very large fluctuations in scale weight that have absolutely nothing to do with fat loss or fat gain, it's just all changes in body water through the month because of changes in hormones, so.
Dave: What would you say, or what have you seen with female clients in how much the scale could change, based likely on hormones? Like, are you talking about a shift in a couple of pounds, or can it be more than that, or is it less?
James: I think it might depend. But I mean, I would say, you can get two, three, four pound shifts maybe. And that alone, I mean, can mask, I mean, if someone's losing a pound per week, and then all of a sudden, they have one week of the month where suddenly they're retaining three pounds of water, suddenly it's going to look like they haven't lost anything.
So yeah, I mean, it can be sizeable enough to where it can actually sometimes mask any progress that actually has happened. And then again, that's why it's important to stick it out, because then eventually it's going to normalize and come back, it's going to change back down, so.
Make Your Body Work Takeaway
Dave: Yeah, I completely agree. James, we like to wrap this show up with what I call Make Your Body Work Takeaway, and this is just sort of an action step people like Kathleen who are looking to measure progress. They want to see reliable progress. What would you say is the best place to start? Someone who's looking to lose weight, how do they begin to measure that reliable, accurate progress?
James: So I would say, I think it's like what I said earlier, I would use a combination of your average weekly weight. So again, I would say weigh yourself daily, but take an average for the week, and then combine that with measurements.
And I would say the most important measurements for pretty much anybody would be waist circumference and hip circumference. I think those measurements alone will basically tell you over time if you're making fat loss progress or not.
And then obviously, you can combine that, like if you are doing strength training in the gym, really it just comes down to, "Hey, are you getting stronger? Is your weight improving? And if you add that onto it, really, I mean that's pretty much all the metrics you need really to assess whether you are actually losing body fat and maintaining your lean mass at the same time, so.
Dave: I love it. So simple. You don't need any fancy equipment. You don't need to pay anyone to do any tests. Like I completely agree with you, that's a great place to start.
James: Yeah, and I'll say that's pretty much what I do with my clients. I mean, those are the main things that I look at week to week with my clients. I mean we look at some other things, but that was more related to, like I have my clients rate their hunger rate levels.
For example, because I want to know, is their calories too low? And things like that. So, there's other things I assess, but as far as the fat loss progress, really those are the main things.
Dave: Awesome. James, if anyone's listening to this and wants to learn more about what you do, or maybe to learn more about some of the research you've done, where's the best place they can connect with you?
Connect With James
James: So, best place is my website, Weightology.net. That would be w-e-I-g-h-t-o-l-o-g-y.net. I've got a lot of stuff on there. I've got a lot of free articles that people can read, articles ranging from, like I had mentioned earlier in this podcast, I have a series of articles on body composition testing. I've got articles on insulin, the hormone insulin.
I've got articles on non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. Also on my site, I've got a research review for people who are interested in the science part of things. I have a research review where I cover basically the science of losing body fat and gaining muscle, and I cover all the most recent research. But I do it in a way that people can understand.
And then I also, like I mentioned, I have online coaching clients, and that's on my site. And then I also have, I've been a guest on a number of podcasts, so if people want to hear me talk about this stuff in more detail, I've covered a lot of different topics, and that's on there as well.
And then if people want to follow me on social media, all my social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are all on there as well. So yeah, that's where people can find me, and there's also a contact button if people want to send me a message, there's a contact button on the site as well if people want to e-mail me.
Dave: Ah perfect. I'm going to go through actually after we get off this interview, I'm going to go through and pick out a couple of articles that are related specifically to what we talked about today. So, for any of the listeners, if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/107, this is the 107th episode, so one-zero-seven.
I'll put links to James' website as well as to some of his articles that are relevant to what we talked about today, and some of the ones that he just mentioned there. So, be sure to check that all out.
James, just want to say, thanks again for joining us, and thanks for sharing research-backed information, so people can rely on what we talked about today. Really, really appreciate it.
James: Thank you so much for having me.
Dave: Thanks again James, for being on the show today, and for sharing some of your research, sharing so much of your personal experience in working with clients when it comes to losing weight and measuring progress, and getting through some sort of those mental blockages when progress doesn't seem to be happening as fast as we might like. And thanks to all of you for listening. I hope you're coming away from this feeling inspired.
First of all, you have some tools to actually measure your progress reliably. And second of all, hopefully, you heard that message that it is common, it is normal for fat loss to be a slow process. And hopefully again, when you see in the media some of those advertisements or TV shows that have these astronomical weight loss measurements over a very short period of time, remember a couple of things…
First of all, those are usually the absolute best or most impressive results. Number two: A lot of that probably isn't actually fat loss. And number three: That that instant gain isn't necessarily going to be something that's sustainable. So, if yours is a slower process, that maybe is okay, because we're looking for sustainable results, not just quick, short-term fixes.
Quick fixes feel great momentarily, but aren’t sustainable. Think about where you want to be in a year, not in a week.
So again, think about what did you learn from this episode? How are you going to apply this to your life? And how are you going to start to measure your progress?
So, as always, thanks for joining me in this episode. I'm going to be back here again next week with another great guest, another great question, and hopefully some more inspiration for you that'll help you live a healthier and happier life. So I'll see you again here next week.