Over tracking / under tracking and motivation

In coaching we often talk about tracking your progress as you work towards your goals. It’s a vital step to be able to see the progress you have made so that you can:-

  1. Congratulate yourself on real progress that may have gone unnoticed
  2. Make course corrections if needed
  3. Learn from previous attempts to improve

However, often we don’t go into much detail on how much and how often this kind of tracking should be carried out. If you join any weight loss club they generally tell you DO NOT weigh yourself every day! So let’s just think about that for a minute. Your goal is reduce your weight so how can it be a bad thing to check every day how you are doing? Well the idea is that unless you check your weight at the exact same time each day after consuming the exact same amount of food and water your weight can fluctuate by several pounds / kilos. Personally during my own journey of losing 2 stone (28lbs / 12kg) I did at first check my progress every day. Even though I knew I wasn’t meant to I still was interested in the progress. The really interesting part was:-

  1. They’re absolutely right! Your weight does fluctuate hourly and daily! I found that even just having a large cup of coffee would make a difference on the scale.
  2. Wednesdays were the BEST day for me to check my weight! I guess this was because I’d burnt off the few extra calories from the weekend.
  3. Once I’d learned how my body weight raised and lowered during the week I was able to directly correlate that to how the previous days meals affected me. This resulted me in being much more careful about the add on options I was using. For example if I added extra salt to my meal my body would retain more water for the next day or so.

So once I had tracked progress on a daily basis, I had given myself the confidence that I knew what I was doing by eating certain thing and the consequences of them. Now I Under Track, I only weigh myself once a week, if that. I still track it but not to the intensity I had to when I first started. This really worked for me as I hit my target weight and have been able to keep it at that give or take 4-5lbs (2kg)

If you have a goal that is something completely new to you, then you might find that Over Tracking your progress is a great way to start. This Over Tracking will give you a lot of data to work on, however the draw back is it can make your progress appear to be painfully slow. Don’t let it de-motivate you if you are not progressing as FAST as you think you should be! Use this time as simply a learning curve or a training session and not the time that you should expect to progress in leaps and bounds. Once you have built up a pattern of what works well for you and what are the pit falls are that you need to avoid then you’ll be able to reduce your focus on tracking the progress an simply enjoy the smug feeling that you know what you are doing because it works for you.

So my question to you is “What are you currently Over Tracking that you should be Under Tracking and of course the other way round too?”