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30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 4: Why the Scale Isn't Enough

author image Valaer Murray
Valaer Murray Goldsworthy has previously worked at LIVESTRONG.COM, AOL, and Whalerock Industries. She's a founding editor of, served as the head of programming for the Webby-honored YouTube Original Channel, and has written for numerous outlets.
30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 4: Why the Scale Isn't Enough
Today's the day to take your measurements! Photo Credit: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM

You've made it to day 4, so let's talk about how to track the progress you're making. Documenting your starting point by taking photos, recording your measurements and weighing in is an important part of the get-lean journey. How will you know how far you've gone if you don't know where you started? Having a reference point is also key to staying motivated.

Video of the Day

Why Your 'Before' Photo Matters

You might be embarrassed or uncomfortable taking your before photo. You might even be unhappy with how you look. We get it. But here’s why it’s so important to capture the beginning of your fitness journey: Often, the scale doesn’t move at all when your body composition begins changing.

As you exercise, hydrate and eat healthier — using the MyPlate Calorie Tracker on desktop or on iOS and Android devices to stay accountable — you’ll start seeing results. Most importantly, you'll feel better. Your clothes might fit better, you'll have more energy and you'll even sleep better and look more well-rested. But the numbers on the scale may not reflect all of these awesome changes.

In addition to recording your starting weight, you'll want to measure your upper arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs. Then take your "Before" photo. You don’t even have to smile. Here are some tips for taking your "Before" photo.

As much as you might not want to do it right now, you’ll be glad you did it later. When you look at that "Before" photo, you’ll be proud of your progress. Because once you take that photo, everything that follows is part of the "After" that you’re working toward!

Imagine looking at that picture and those numbers and watching them shrink day by day, thanks to your hard work and discipline. You're not just going to feel better, you're going to feel... STRONGER!

Plus, you might be able to enter your transformation story and photos into LIVESTRONG.COM’s weight-loss contest and win $250 for sharing them and inspiring others. It’s another way to pay it forward.

How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge

Download MyPlate today!
Download MyPlate today! Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

1. Download the MyPlate App

Documenting your food and activity might seem like overkill, but it’s not. People who track their calories and physical activities enjoy greater success losing weight and keeping it off for good!

Tracking everything honestly is essential to making the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge work for you. Sometimes you’re not even aware of everything you consume, but once you start tracking it, you’ll think twice before you make poor choices. And that’s a good thing.

With LIVESTRONG.COM’s free MyPlate Calorie Tracker — available on desktop and for iOS and Android devices — you can track it all:

  • Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks
  • Exercise and activity
  • Weight
  • Water/hydration
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

2. Print Out Your Daily Calendar

Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge, you're accountable for five key steps: tracking breakfast, lunch and dinner; tracking your water intake; and either walking or running.

We created a helpful calendar to keep you on task for all 30 days. Print it out and check off each activity as soon as you complete it.

Photo Credit: Gracie Wilson/LIVESTRONG.COM

3. Stay Connected on Facebook

For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.

4. Get Inspired and Get Snapping

Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge? If so, what's your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight-loss challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.


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