Can You Track Progress In A Nutrition Coaching Program Without Tracking Weight?

by | Aug 23, 2021

When you think of tracking progress in a nutrition coaching program, most people think of stepping on the scale every morning. While that’s certainly one data point to measure, that is definitely not the only or most telling data to measure. The truth is, stepping on that bathroom scale each morning may not be right for everyone. Whether you’re a nutrition coach or just someone who wants to improve their health and fitness, it’s important to know other methods to track progress. 

Before we dive a little deeper into today’s topic, however, allow me to introduce myself!

My name is Tony Stephan, and I’m a dietitian business coach. I help RDs make more IMPACT and more INCOME through nutrition coaching. Before becoming a dietitian business coach, I was a dietitian nutrition coach. I served thousands of nutrition coaching clients over a time span of 12 years. My successful nutrition coaching business is what led me to where I am today. Now, let’s discuss how you can track progress aside from measuring your weight.

If I Want To Track Progress, Why Not Just Track Weight?

There are a number of reasons why the scale is not necessarily the best measurement. Weight can fluctuate regularly based on fluid balance, sodium intake, alcohol use, time of the month (for anyone with a menstrual cycle), and more. One of the biggest reasons that makes weight unreliable is because weight doesn’t take body composition into consideration. You can have two people who weigh the same yet look completely different. One person could have a lot of lean muscle mass while another could have a higher percentage of body fat, but the scale shows the same weight. Weight is one point of data in a single moment during the day. 

Track Progress Through Body Circumference Measurements 

One other way to track progress without a scale includes taking body circumference measurements of areas like the hip, waist, arms, thighs, and chest. Depending on the goal of the individual, they could want to see some of these numbers increase or decrease. Measuring these once a month would likely be adequate to track progress. You can also do body composition testing as well. This helps determine how much lean muscle mass you have vs how much body fat you have. Keep in mind that there is a wide variety of methods to measure body composition, some of which aren’t very accurate. So it’s important to do your research and consult with a professional to find what will work best for you!

Track Progress Using Photos

Taking photos of yourself on a monthly basis can be another useful way to track progress without a scale. You can compare your photos side by side and notice small changes in your overall body composition or distribution of lean muscle mass.

You can also use how your clothes fit as a way to observe changes in weight or body composition. For example, if you’ve gained lean body mass in your hips and thighs, your jeans would likely start to feel tighter. If your fitted shirts start to feel loose around your chest and waist, that may be a sign of losing fat mass in that area.

Track Progress Of Physiological Measures

How you feel can be a good measurement of progress in a nutrition coaching program. When people start developing healthier lifestyle habits, they often tend to feel better and have more energy. If you notice that you have more energy and better sleep quality, these are examples of positive outcomes from living a healthier lifestyle. Other factors to assess might include hunger/fullness, stress, and mood. 

The Takeaway

Tracking progress in a nutrition coaching program shouldn’t just be about weight. In fact, focusing mostly or solely on weight can have detrimental effects on one’s mental health! Whether you’re a nutrition coach or just someone looking to improve their health and fitness, I encourage you to track non-scale progress as described above. 

Do you have follow up questions about tracking progress without tracking weight changes? How else would YOU measure progress? Send me an email at and let me know. Seriously, I want to hear from you! 

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