Ditch The Scale: Why Photos Are More Effective For Tracking Fitness & Weightloss


There’s an old saying that goes, “What gets measured, gets managed.” It might have come from an economist who lived in the last century, but it’s timeless and true: measuring your progress with objective evidence is essential for meeting your fitness goals.

So why ditch the scale, the single most common tool for tracking fitness and weight-loss? Because using photos might be more effective.

The problem with the scale

Weighing yourself can be a useful way to track fitness progress, especially if you have significant body fat to lose. But if your goal is to have a more toned appearance or drop the last 5-10 pounds, the scale can be your biggest foe for tracking fitness progress.

Why? It’s probably not news to you by now, but it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you were to lose 20 lbs of fat, and gain 10 lbs of muscle, the scale would say that you’ve “only” lost 10 lbs. If you swear by weight as a measurement, this might set you up for discouragement and ultimately result in your surrender to a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Why bother trying when after all of that hard work, you’ve only lost 10 lbs?!

When body fat is decreasing, muscle becomes more visible. Aside from using calipers or doing expensive hydrostatic testing on a regular basis, fat loss might be more effectively measured by visual assessment than by weight alone. This is why I strongly recommend using photos either alone or in combination with the scale for tracking fitness and weight-loss progress.

Visual representation of body fat percentage

Visual representation of body fat percentage. Photo via http://bamboocorefitness.com/

Keeping yourself honest

Another benefit of the progress photo is that it can discourage you from falling off the wagon. Maybe you feel amazing from hitting the gym for a few weeks, and decide to treat yourself with a weekend long splurge. Look at your progress photos first, it might just save you from making decisions that derail your fitness goals.

How to track fitness and weight-loss progress with photos

The best way to do this is to strip down to your undies first thing in the morning in a well lit room, and take a photo in front of a full length mirror (or have someone you trust take it for you). Take a picture at the same time every week, so you can compare the pictures. I suggest setting a reminder in your calendar to do this every Sunday morning, until you meet your goal. Not progressing? Maybe it’s time to rethink your routine.


Why Keepsafe is ideal for storing progress photos

While the best photos for tracking fitness progress are taken half naked, most of us don’t want these hanging out on our camera roll. There’s nothing like attempting to show your boss a photo of your cute niece and then, boom! There it is, a picture of you with no clothes on.

Using an app like Keepsafe will save you from mortifying moments similar to these. Simply open the app, enter your password, and access your secure folders where you can upload progress photos. If you switch to another app, Keepsafe will lock again to keep you protected. You can also share these folders by giving permissions to specific people, for example your personal trainer.

Take credit for all your hard work, and keep yourself honest – snap away!


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19 thoughts on “Ditch The Scale: Why Photos Are More Effective For Tracking Fitness & Weightloss

    • I couldn’t agree more! I can’t tell you how many girlfriends freak out of they don’t drop lbs after a few months of weight training, even when they look amazing.

  1. Great tips. Thanks! I have definitely started feeling and looking better since I began thinking of the scales as my husband’s vice. I’m sure it will help for me to take my photo more often – vacation pics are always tend to inspire – to keep up the work or to get back on the wagon. 😉 xo
    Janea recently posted…Shall We Dance?My Profile

    • Such a good point about vacation pics. They can be daunting, but motivating. Thanks for the comment, Janea!

  2. I’m glad you posted this, I’ve never taken ‘progress’ photos, because I’ve always wanted to be just a little smaller before I took my first one. I never thought of using a photo vault or the like. Maybe I should start today. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully ditch the scale but I certainly cant use it every day. Thanks for your tips, as always!

    Katie @ Beyond the Clothing recently posted…3 ways We Do Birthdays DifferentlyMy Profile

    • Thanks, Katie! It is definitely hard to completely ditch the scale, but the scale can be so discouraging.

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