We take a diverse approach to track progress on a keto diet because the diet brings so many more benefits than just fat loss. For some of us, fat loss isn’t the first indicator of progress.
Mental clarity, cognitive improvement, suppressed hunger, and more energy throughout the are all very profound changes that may occur before the body begins burning fat.
Put in 100% effort and track your results so you can easily identify patterns and measure changes objectively. Consider the many symptoms of ketosis as you track progress and gauge if you are on the right track.
8 Ways to Track Progress on Keto (more than just fat loss!)
We recommend you start a journal to track your progress, meal plan, and record special “notes to self” as you go along this journey. Store all keto-related notes in one place, like a scrapbook. Add images, body measurements, sleep patterns, mental changes, and more as you begin to track progress on keto.
Recommended: If you prefer a meal planning app, REAL PLANS is the best one I have ever seen!
Any kind of journal will get the job done, the point is just to put your pen to paper. If you are a highly visual person, consider creating a bullet journal just for your keto transformation. It’s a great all-in-one place to artistically express the impact keto has on your life.
“Before” and “After” Pictures
Avoid a daily check-in with the mirror and take before/after images instead. It can be hard to see progress when we look at ourselves every single day. Snap a picture of yourself on day 1 of your new diet, then follow up every 30 or so days. By the end of a year, you will have clear visual evidence of changes from 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months down the line.
Take the photograph on the same day of every month. Stand in the same place, wear the same clothes, and style your hair the same way if you can. As much as possible, try to mimic the same light, body angle, and general condition of the room.
Our weight fluctuates daily, women’s weight tends to change more dramatically than men’s, especially before and after menstruation.
Keep the scale weight in perspective! It is not the most reliable guide. If we lose fat and gain muscle, overall weight may not change (or even increase!). We may also notice a drop in pant size but no change on the scale. Fat loss is non-linear and more closely relates to a slowly decreasing sound wave over time.
Weekly weigh-ins are sufficient for tracking progress on keto. For the most precise results, weigh yourself at the same time of day and under the same conditions. Check weight first thing in the morning, fresh from bed, before consuming water or food and getting dressed. Don’t do something silly like measure barefoot one day and then weigh in with your shoes on another and wonder why you gained two pounds! Finally, a simple scale will to the job. The “fancy” scales that claim to report body fat are riddled with errors and often wrong. Tristan has been measured as obese by one of those (he’s not even close)!
Much more precise than scale weight, weekly body measurements are a good way to gauge body composition changes. It can be very motivating to see your measurements over a period of time.
With a tailor’s tape measure your waist, hips, thighs, and chest. I record changes over time in these FREE worksheets that help me track marcos on keto (and other important things too!)
Also, consider how your clothes are fitting, are they getting looser? Are you dropping full sizes?
Use this image below as a guide:
Calmer Emotions and Less Stress Triggers
Take note of your mental state, ability to react to stress, and the ease of which you become irrational and emotional. You might want to rate each day 1-10 and write about why you chose that rating.
Better Eating Habits
Are your cravings going down? Is it easier to be around sugary foods and not feel tempted? Under pressure, can you stay calm when others are drinking or eating junk food around you?
Meal plan to simplify your food prep routine and normalize daily meals around animal protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Use our cookbook for inspiration!
Muscle & Strength Gains
The scale might not be changing but are your workouts?
Write down your workouts. Do you see strength gains? Are the number of reps increasing? How was your energy before and after?
Recommended: StrongLifts 5×5 is a great (FREE!) full body program
Sleep is a major factor in recovery and fat loss as well as managing blood glucose levels. Track hours slept and sleep quality. Take notes on how you fall asleep, if you wake up during the night, and how you feel in the morning. Align your sleep closely with the natural circadian rhythm (light cycle) of your area.
Mimimize the electronic frequences around you. Keep your phone, computer, and other devices outside of the bedroom. Turn off the wifi at night.
Doctor approved adjustments to lower doses of medication are an excellent signal you’re your health is improving! Many individuals are able to reduce and in some cases eliminate the need for pharmaceutical drugs after following a ketogenic diet.
Always be honest with yourself when you set your goals. A ketogenic diet can benefit us in a variety of ways but we must be realistic with ourselves and situations. Keep your plan flexible enough to adapt to new information but rigid enough that you stick to it and can track progress on keto. There is nothing wrong with fine-tuning your approach or changing your plan, make adjustments as needed.
It takes time to refine our daily habits, stay patient and be consistent. We are here for long-term results!
If you have a nuanced situation or prefer someone to help dial in your diet and lifestyle, don’t hesitate to contact us for coaching.
As long as you are experiencing one of these benefits – you are on the right track. Keep going, learn to tune into yourself, and enjoy the journey! One day you will have all this information saved and compiled, ready to help your friends and family on their own path to greater health.