#4 of 7 Ways to Track Progress — Your clothes feel just a little looser (or tighter)

Are we having fun yet?

I met with a client today and she said “So the scale isn’t moving but I’m satisfied; have more energy; and sleep better.  What’s up with that?”

Luckily at the start of her program, we had taken the time to do PN’s tip number 4 . . .

4. Your clothes feel just a little looser (or tighter)

Today’s the day. You reach into your closet, into the back, for that piece of clothing. You know, the one that almost never fits unless you’re massively dehydrated, wrapped in Saran Wrap, and holding your breath simultaneously.

Wow. It fits.

Not just suck-it-in-and-suffer fits. But, like, really fits. It feels good. It looks good. No pulling fabric, no weird wrinkles, no strangling collars, no bulges of buttons or belts or bra straps.

Or maybe you’ve pulled out some other piece of clothing. The one that normally drapes over you like an oversized beach towel over a coat hanger. The T-shirt you can’t seem to fill out, the armholes with room to spare and a flapping curtain where you feel like billowing pecs should be.

Wow again. It doesn’t fit.

And that’s great. Because your chest and arms and shoulders and back are now too muscular for it. The shirt is still flapping loose in one area, though: your newly whittled waist.
What progress looks like:

Muscle and bone are denser than body fat. When we build this lean mass, we often get heavier but smaller (at least in certain areas).

If you’re male, you may find your shoulders broadening, chest filling out, back wings fluttering, and a new case of “hockey ass” from muscular glutes… but your waist shrinking.

If you’re female, you may find that your scale weight goes up but your clothing size goes down (and you ace your bone density scan!)

This is why, in addition to tuning into how clothes fit, we suggest using a tape measure to track the circumference of various body parts. To do so, here are Body Measurement Forms.
For Men:

    

For Women:

  

How does lean mass compare to fat?

Muscle cells are tightly packed with myofibrils. When these contract with enough intensity, the body adapts by generating more myofibrils and sarcomeres (assuming proper training and nutrition), increasing the density (and strength) of the muscle.

Even denser, bone is composed of complex combinations of calcium and phosphorus, heavy minerals that provide strength, flexibility, and support for all the stress we put on them. Bones also contain a significant amount of protein (mostly collagen-type proteins).

Adipose (fat) tissue, on the other hand, is loosely composed of adipocytes, cells that contain light, fluffy lipid molecules (mainly triglycerides). Unlike bone and muscle mass, fat tissue provides unlimited storage all over the body, so it will continue to grow when we over-eat.
This means: Muscle and bone are 18 and 33 percent heavier than fat by volume. It also means that your exercise and nutrition plan can help you look (and function) better without leading to weight loss.
Thank goodness for measurements!  We were able to see the difference in her body composition in inches.  Much better proof and better way to judge.

So then I said “I told you so!”  Ha . . . just kidding.  Then we celebrated (not with food) but with high fives and doing a little happy dance.

More to come . . . Check back tomorrow as we make our way down the list to number 5.   Prepare yourself to be in a better mood.

1. You feel satisfied after meals
2. You have more energy
3. You’re sleeping better
4. Your clothes feel just a little looser (or tighter)
5. You’re in a better mood
6. You’re stronger and have more endurance
7. It feels more like a lifestyle than a “diet”
Reply to this email if you’d like the measurement forms sent separately or if you have any questions.