Are You Monitoring More Than Weight?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/13/2011 11:56 AM   :  67 comments   :  15,095 Views

See More: healthy living, diet,
Earlier this week I encouraged you to use a simple tip to take control of mindless eating to help you with the secrets to a strong start.

Another of the secrets is to weigh yourself weekly to help track your success. I know how frustrating it can be to work really hard, watch what you eat, exercise faithfully and see little results on the scale. Because we are not all metabolically equal, it is very important to limit comparison of individual success with the success of others. It is also important to see success to spur you on in your new habits. Measuring progress without the scale can be very important to maintain motivation. Here are some tips to help you begin using other measurement tools.

  • Weight and Body Measurements - Weight is influenced by so many things. It is an arbitrary snap shot measure. When we use weight as our primary measure of success, we can easily become frustrated when it doesn't move in the direction we want. To keep from being discouraged when working hard doesn't move the scale, include body measurements to help you see your progress more clearly. Take regular measurements of various portions of the body such as your waist, hips, thighs and bust using a measuring tape. Although you may not see the scale move, you are likely to see the inches you are losing as you burn fat and tone muscle.

  • Wellness Measurements - Learning new habits to create a healthy lifestyle brings other positive responses to both body and mind. If you aren't looking for those changes, you might not notice them. Assessing parameters of well-being such as your energy level, stress level, sleep quality and self-esteem helps you see trends and patterns related to your exercise and food choices that may be influencing your scale. Perhaps you will find you are eating more on days you are really stressed or that you don't exercise when you haven't slept well. Maybe you will be able to see that you don't sleep well after you exercise in the evening. Keeping track of overall wellness will provide you with additional pieces to the puzzle of healthier living and weight loss.

  • Fitness Measures - Finding exercise you enjoy is important when it comes to staying motivated. Hopefully the exercise you enjoy and participate in also increases your energy, reduces your health risks and improves your level of fitness. If it doesn't, perhaps it isn't helping you meet your weight loss goals either. Regularly assessing your fitness level will help you evaluate if you are making progress toward improved muscular strength and aerobic fitness. When you compare them with wellness measures you may also find trends that can help you put more of the pieces to your weight and health puzzle together.

  • Health Measures - More than likely if you have medical conditions such as Type II Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, or High Cholesterol your medical team is monitoring a variety of health measurements. If you keep track of your blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol and can compare them over time, you will likely see consistent improvement that coincides with the improvements you see in your body measurements, wellness, and level of fitness.
The Bottom Line

I stopped weighing myself about five years ago. I get my weight checked when I visit my endocrinologist every few months but besides that, I don't step on the scale. The biggest reason I gave up the scale was that it tended to decide if I had a good day or bad based on the number it showed me in the morning. My healthy living success and self-worth had become tied to the number on the scale and whether my weight went up or down. Even though I had knowledge of body composition and all that goes in to influencing weight including medical conditions, I had allowed the number to define me.

Once I started looking at other measures of fitness and healthy living and allowed them to define success, I started to feel better about my body and myself again. Would I love to be 15 or 20 pounds lighter like I used to be before thyroid disease entered my life? You bet. Do I work out regularly, watch what I eat and commit to a healthy lifestyle? You bet. When I stopped letting weight define my health success and started only seeing it as another piece to a complex puzzle, my outlook and commitment to me improved.

As you begin your healthy living journey, make weight only one piece of your puzzle. Seek to make your puzzle one with as many pieces as possible. This will allow you to see your healthy living picture most clearly.

Are you keeping track of other measures besides just weight? How does it help you succeed?


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Comments

  • 67
    Wow. Good shares. I have that same love/hate relationship with the scale. But I know I have to weigh myself daily. That is how that extra 15 pounds snuck on. Clothes still fit good but I felt uncomfortable. I can't afford to let it keep creeping up. I need to weigh daily, track my foods religiously, take my measurements and keep reading what you all share. It lets me know I am not alone. Regardless if I agree or not. Thx all...and have a yummy weekend. - 7/21/2012   4:32:33 AM
  • 66
    So many things can affect the number on the scale. It's important to keep eating healthy foods & exercising. People can get discouraged when the scale doesn't have the number they're looking for & just give up. That's why it's important to have other ways to measure progress. - 1/18/2011   1:09:15 AM
  • 65
    Thanks so much for this info! I also have thyroid disease & my family thinks my weight gain is just an excuse. I know thyroid is not the only factor for my weight gain, but it is a factor. I have fallen back into my emotional eating habits & it's hard to get up and try again! I start to feel hopeless that I can ever lose weight again! Nice to know I am not alone! - 1/17/2011   6:51:53 PM
  • SOCALDEBBIE
    64
    In my head everything you've all said makes a lot of sense. But I've had the healthy lifestyle for years, my cholesterol and blood pressure are low, but my weight and size (yes, they move together) are still an issue. Hard not to let it play with my mind. - 1/15/2011   8:35:13 PM
  • 63
    I hardly ever weigh myself. I also use other things to measure my success. Did I eat right for the week? Did I keep up on my workouts? When I got off my treadmill and I had just done a 5 k I realized I had success. The day I was on my treadmill and I decided to do a 10k. When I had done it I knew I had really good success. The number on the scale is not who I am as a person. It defines my health in one way but so does eating right, working out and taking care of me. - 1/15/2011   4:38:54 PM
  • CHELSEAANNE8
    62
    That's exactly what I wrote about today in my blog ( http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p
    ublic_journal_individual.asp?blog_i
    d=3927734
    ). My health measurements are just doing great in just 6 months! I have only lost 6 pounds but my blood work shows important improvements. WooHoo!
    Chelsea - 1/15/2011   4:06:36 PM
  • 61
    Every time I went to the doctor, his comment was about my weight, even before we started my exam. When he took my pressures, read the lab results, he refined his comments. I may be overweight, but my blood pressure, sugars, cholesterol levels and thyroid were, and are, in the lower part of the normal range.....which is more than he can say!

    I have seldom used the scale as the yardstick that I measure my health. The focus on health was one of the reasons I joined Sparkpeople. It still holds for the most part, although there are more and more articles, blogs and exercise tips aimed at targetted areas [which doesn't work, according to other articles and the premise that Sparkpeople spouted originally] that I take Sparkpeople with more than a grain of salt these days. - 1/15/2011   1:54:17 PM
  • CATHYUNEW
    60
    Thank you for a blog that speaks to me. I too have thyroid disease and sometimes have little control over what the scale does! - 1/15/2011   1:02:09 PM
  • 59
    I am measuring my fitness by how much I can walk and jog. This is exciting to see improvement every time I do it. - 1/15/2011   12:34:49 PM
  • 58
    This year I plan to do less weighing and more tracking of fitness minutes!
    Move it to lose it! - 1/15/2011   1:51:39 AM
  • 57
    I weigh myself once a week but I also do my measurements once a month also. I go by how my clothes are fitting to judge whether I am doing well or not. I log my food and my fitness, all this lets me see the big picture of how I am doing. - 1/14/2011   10:54:10 PM
  • 56
    My doctor weighs me. That is definitely enough! I haven't actually measured any body spots but I am so aware of how much better I feel. How much farther I can go on a walk. I am able now to take a Sparkpeople's challenge. Perhaps, if I actually took note it would help remind me in my low days. I need to think about this. Thanks for the article. - 1/14/2011   8:02:15 PM
  • PRESHA811
    55
    I have lots of goals related to my health. I'm bound to be doing well with at least one! :) - 1/14/2011   7:34:31 PM
  • 54
    The last time I was on SP, I measured all my success by the scale. That set off a chain reaction: if I didn't lose much, or I gained, I'd give up, or binge eat. Now, I measure my success on how well I did during the week. I got out my cross country skis and went skiing 3 times this week. That's the first time in years I've been, and the first time since buying new skis and boots.

    Of course I want to lose weight, but I also want to be toned and healthy. What good is it to be thin if I'm still out of shape and have wrinkly skin. I will still weigh myself weekly, buy I will not let it break me. Thank you for the encouragement. - 1/14/2011   6:35:32 PM
  • SUGARSMOM2
    53
    yes it is good to watch what we do and what we eat .you must remember that every bite and every motion counts . so make the most of it all . - 1/14/2011   5:46:28 PM
  • 52
    Yes, I do love to lose inches, besides pounds. I keep track of my food and exercise. - 1/14/2011   2:51:06 PM
  • CAMERYNJAYMZ
    51
    Thank you - 1/14/2011   1:00:31 PM
  • 50
    Excellent blog. I learned a long time ago that allowing the scale to be the ultimate 'god' of weight loss was a mistake. My measurements are done every 90 days, giving me time to achieve a change. - 1/14/2011   11:47:56 AM
  • 49
    Hey, thanks for reminding me of this! I need to go add these to my custom measurements. - 1/14/2011   11:29:26 AM
  • 48
    I also track my blood pressure and my flexibility, although more so in my head. They don't change as much as my weight fluctuates. I have also tried measuring, but my measurements pretty much stay the same as well. So I do tend to use the scale probably more than I should just because it actually changes! - 1/14/2011   11:28:32 AM
  • 47
    Yes...I track my food and check for proper balance of nutrients and I track my exercise ( walking) - 1/14/2011   11:03:36 AM
  • 46
    I weigh myself everyday and then at the end of the week I add up all the days and average them. This seems to work for me. If I only did it once a week or month I'd likely forget. This week I think I might be up by half a pound but I take into consideration what's happening in my life and know that next week I probably will go down again. I also watch my sleep patterns, energy level etc. every day and take body measurements once a month. The number on the scale is just a SMALL part of what's going on in my body and my life! - 1/14/2011   11:02:54 AM
  • 45
    I weigh in weekly and I hate it so much but I found it keeps me in check - I didnt get this big by weighing in weekly. I weighed in when i went to the DR. and I didnt want to even know what the scale said because i had brainwashed myself to believe that number was 225. As long as I didnt get over that I could manage. I often look at people and wonder how they let themselves go. Guess what I let it happen to me its called DENIAL! So I weigh in weekly and I measure monthly. - 1/14/2011   10:58:15 AM
  • 44
    Thanks for the information. I need to know what else to monitor as I lose weight and become healthy. - 1/14/2011   10:57:41 AM
  • 43
    How my do my jeans fit? Do I have to suck in to zip or do they zip easily? Do I have saddlebags poking out or have my thighs become streamlined again? - 1/14/2011   10:55:17 AM
  • 42
    I had to stop weighing. It just wasn't working for me. When the number would go down a bit, I'd celebrate with food. When it would go up a bit I'd console myself with food. The number is really not what I'm going for anyway; I want to get fit and stay healthy. I want to improve the quality of the food I put in my body. The scale was just distracting me from all that.

    I weighed myself on my birthday and I will certainly weigh in on my next birthday. I may even weigh monthly, I haven't decided yet, but I'm going to try to hold off as long as I can. - 1/14/2011   9:08:27 AM
  • 41
    It's interesting that we all have different reactions to the # on the scale. I find I need to weigh once a week or less because the fluctuations can set me back, others find daily weigh-ins very helpful. So, there isn't one answer that fits everyone, and we each have to find what works for us. - 1/14/2011   8:45:26 AM
  • 40
    Race results - water intake - how my clothes fit - exercise - weight once a week! - 1/14/2011   8:43:58 AM
  • 39
    I think I'm the only person to disagree with the advice not to weigh every day. As an intelligent adult, I'm aware that weight can fluctuate frequently. That's pretty much common sense, IMO. Weighing daily, before I have coffee or eat anything, keeps me on track. I find each potential outcome - up, down or the same - an incentive. If it goes down, there's no way I'll cheat during the day. If it goes up, there's no way I'll cheat during the day. If it stays the same, there's no way I'll cheat. LOL Each has its own way of making me want to eat well that day. - 1/14/2011   8:24:44 AM
  • 7WORSHIPS
    38
    This article was right on time for me. It made me realize that I need to reassess my relationship with the scale. Despite the fact that my blood pressure is now ideal and I am down several dress sizes, I was getting upset because the scale shows little or no weight loss. I think i will just start weighing once a week and rejoice in the fact I feel better, have less joint pain and look better. I will also pay attention to measurements and how much better I get at getting in the recommended nutrients I need while staying within a healthy calorie range.
    Thanks Tanya. - 1/14/2011   8:08:17 AM
  • 37
    I agree! I'm a slave to the scale - I weigh everyday, twice a day. I even took it along on a week-long family vacation last year, because I couldn't stand the thought of not being able to monitor myself!
    I do use measurements as well - that helps me keep things in perspective. If I feel bummed about the number on the scale, I'll check my measurements and usually find they haven't changed, or at least not enough to cause me concern.
    I expect fluctuations - especially since I loosen up my eating habits on weekends, so I always "gain" a few pounds, but by Friday they're gone. I feel dependant on the scale to keep me motivated and on track - seeing higher numbers makes me more committed to eating healthy and passing on extra sweets, my weakness.
    I DO sometimes beat myself up and get bummed about the number, but I always try to counter any negative thought with a positive or motivating one (i.e. "You know you can get it back off, you've done it before. Stay focused, be tough!").
    When I read how people had to give up the scale, I feel a little guilty that I use it so much - like I'm doing something "wrong." But we all have our own little "secrets" to success, and if this is working for me, I'm going to keep it up! - 1/14/2011   8:05:57 AM
  • 36
    It's been a big step for me to go from weighing everyday to once a week. It has definitely helped my outlook. - 1/14/2011   8:01:46 AM
  • 35
    I totally and completely agree!!!!!! The scale can be a miserable little tool used to severely sabotage a person's success! It is totally all about feeling better, clothes fitting better or getting too big all together and better health, etc... as you mentioned. Thank you for writing this all out! It is a great blog to print and read often!!!!! - 1/14/2011   6:54:42 AM
  • 34
    Great article! I have recently hit a plateau and my new strategy has been to weigh myself every week rather than every day so as not get discouraged but keep myself in check. I know since I have restarted working out my energy level during the day has improved. Whenever I do not get a chance to workout of for a period of time my sleep quality definitely goes downhill. - 1/14/2011   6:29:08 AM
  • AMAZONMOMX2
    33
    I have to do other measurements or I would always feel like a failure! I had thyroid cancer and had all those glands removed so it seems like I lose weight at a snail's pace, even slower at times. It's taken 3 months to lose 7lbs, stupid slow, huh? - 1/14/2011   5:41:24 AM
  • BABS4625
    32
    I agree with you the scale plays a big part in how I measure my success. I have considered taking my measurements and after reading your article I am going to do that today and look at the whole picture not just my weight. Thank you! - 1/14/2011   5:23:41 AM
  • 31
    Yes. - 1/14/2011   1:25:57 AM
  • 30
    I have just really comitted recently to making a change but I do have a plan. I am taking a weight weekly. Using a tape measure to measure once a month and also taking Biggest Loser style photos once a month too.

    Also one of the ways I am working out is with EA Sports Active 2 which does a weekly fitness progress test.
    - 1/14/2011   1:02:14 AM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    29
    A girl after my own heart, Tanya...why is it that this little metal device can make or break a mood in just a second's time?

    I read in a Sport's nutrition book that we should treat our weight, just like we do every other vital sign--blood pressure, heart rate, body temp...our bodies are designed to have weight fluctuations...it took me almost 33 years to discover this, but better late than never, right? - 1/14/2011   12:41:09 AM
  • 28
    I monitor everything! Not just weight! Calories, carbs, sugar, protein, sodium, potassium........ - 1/13/2011   11:23:32 PM
  • 27
    I get it that I might be gaining muscle and losing fat and the numbers on the scale look the same. But this theory does not explain the presence of a well-established, non-budging layer of fat around my waist. However when I'm assessing my fitness level I'm seeing huge changes compared to a year ago and that keeps me going. - 1/13/2011   10:01:08 PM
  • 26
    I had been weighing myself weekly and entering it . Come October I was almost 30 pounds down from January. Then it stopped. I have tried to keep with ti I have upped excercise considerably and i have also blogged 40 days called Busting the plateau but I have failed and it is so discouraging. Oddly enough I have so many other accomplishments in my healthier lifestyle, BUT I cannot bear the weigh ins they really get to me.
    So glad to read this tonight. Pat in Maine. - 1/13/2011   9:47:28 PM
  • 25
    I weigh once a week at home and at my Weight Watchers meeting. It is on the same day of the week. My home scale measures body water, body fat, abdominal fat, muscle weight, BMR, bone mass in addition to weight. I do body measurements- hips, waist, and neck. Check blood pressure and resting pulse rate, too. Seeing changes in anything each week keeps me motivated! - 1/13/2011   9:21:34 PM
  • KINGMOVER2002
    24
    Muscle weighs more than fat so this makes sense. If you are exercising, eating right and leading a healthy lifestyle you may not lose weight because you are replacing fat weight with muscle. That's why the goal to loose weight can actually be a loaded gun...pull the trigger and you have failure. Others can lose weight and actually be losing muscle and replacing it with fat! That's why starving yourself is bad. I like the balanced approach! - 1/13/2011   9:02:45 PM
  • 23
    I do weigh in weekly but I also use the tape measure once a month. I also had my doctor compare my most recent visit with my last visit. I consider my performance during my exercise routines. And lastly, how my clothes are fitting week to week. - 1/13/2011   7:27:37 PM
  • 22
    Just what I needed to read today. I think I hit a plataue because each week i weigh same number appears. I made a promise to myself not to weigh myself for three weeks. Meanwhile I am changing my workout routine and continuing monitoring what I'm eating. Thanks, it's nice to know I'm not alone. - 1/13/2011   6:54:06 PM
  • PIXIEDUST13
    21
    This too however like everything else is individual- I personally need to keep a close watch-or I get complacent. - 1/13/2011   4:52:53 PM
  • 20
    I weigh myself every morning because it's easier for me to notice if I've gained weight by the scale than by the mirror. I do it to keep myself grounded. If I gain a few pounds here and there, I don't mind. I just know I have to make wiser health decisions. - 1/13/2011   4:37:56 PM
  • LADYMACKAY
    19
    Excellent point - I still weigh myself every morning, even though I know I should only be getting on it once a week! - 1/13/2011   4:09:30 PM
  • 18
    Track just about everything. Weight, body measurements, body fat, water percentage and how clothing is fitting. Also how I feel and what I look like in the mirror. Also get feed back from wife.
    - 1/13/2011   4:05:07 PM

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