Pretty much anyone who’s made the effort to lose weight has a love/hate relationship with the bathroom scale. It ends up being more hate than love when the weight doesn’t come off as quickly or completely as expected. A surprising number of experts advise you to ignore the scale because what you weight doesn’t matter. What you look like is more important than any number of pounds.

One of the best ways to gauge your progress is objective feedback. Tools such as the scale, the tape measure and body fat calipers offer valuable information on the effectiveness of the training and nutrition plan you’re following.

Most physique changes occur over time. Losing fat is a slow process, especially when you’re trying to build or at least maintain muscle mass while getting leaner. That’s why a scale doesn’t tell the whole story. It measures only your total body weight. You may be losing muscle along with fat. It’s hard to gauge progress by a single number.

If you insist on weighing yourself every morning, keep in mind that weight fluctuates from day to day. Even those who follow a very strict diet will experience ups and downs in body weight. This is completely normal because your body doesn’t lose weight in a linear fashion.

It’s fine to weigh yourself every day, even more often if that serves as diet motivation. Try tracking your results over a weekly period instead of daily. Take measurements of your waist and hips every week and measure your body fat each month to make sure the diet plan you’re following is moving you in the right direction. If you’re losing 1-2 pounds a week and your waist size is gradually shrinking, you’re on the path to goal attainment.

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