Are You Monitoring More Than Weight?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  71 comments   :  21,702 Views

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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    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
    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
  • 17
    It is very difficult to see that number fluctuate up and down when you're a slave to the scale, especially when you're making good choices and exercising regularly. It's hard to step away sometimes but I know it truly is just a piece of the puzzle! - 1/13/2011   3:44:44 PM
  • 16
    Thank you so much for this encouraging article. I, too, have allowed the scale to haunt me and to halt my attempts at losing weight. Now I am determined to lose the weight but when I weigh in, I depend on that number way too much and it can really discourage me. I appreciate this and other encouraging articles. - 1/13/2011   3:06:39 PM
  • 14
    The scale is only a snapshot of a moment. I'm hesitant to take the least not yet.
    Thanks for the different points to consider. - 1/13/2011   2:07:19 PM
    Thanks for sharing this, Tanya! This is a great blog post. - 1/13/2011   1:43:52 PM
  • 12
    Sometimes we get a surprise monitoring. Example - the other day, I was on a plane. Didn't need an extender, and wasn't in real pain. Yeah!! A month ago, went to a recital in a school auditorium. Scanned for foldout chairs... nothing. Resigned myself to squeezing into the seat, or listening in the hallway. But no - slipped right in there! Little things like this give a real boost! - 1/13/2011   1:43:23 PM
  • 11
    The scale and I used to have a very unhealthy relationship. Instead of measuring my was measuring my worth. But not any more!! I step on a scale every week or two just to make sure I am in range. Generally if my jeans fit. I am in good shape!! Occasionally I check my measurements...but mostly just the jean test! - 1/13/2011   1:26:47 PM
    Thank you . I am realizing I am letting the scale define my success with the program. I need to start using other tools to measure my progress. - 1/13/2011   1:13:32 PM
  • 9
    I understand about the scale thing! I still weight myself, but I go by the way I feel or look in my clothes. I do take my measurements that helps me better then any number on a scale that could change depending on if its a doctors or mine. - 1/13/2011   1:06:32 PM
    Like everyone else, weight loss signalled a good day and weight gain a bad one. I find the way my clothes fit more reliable. However, I savour the days when my trainer indicates that I have lost weight and all I have to do is remember that when I am tempted to eat something I should not... - 1/13/2011   12:29:06 PM
  • 7
    For the month of January, I gave up my scale for that very reason. I was tired of the emotional roller coaster that I was on every time I weighed myself which was daily! I still want to weigh myself like everyday but I am trying to go for monthly rather daily! - 1/13/2011   12:29:05 PM
    I couldn't agree more about the scale. I started working out for the first time in four years about 3 months ago. After the first 2 months of working out 5 days a week including running, I had only lost 5 pounds. BUT I lost 10 inches. Third month in and the weight is now sliding off, but had it not been for keeping those measurements, there is a pretty good chance I would have given up. - 1/13/2011   12:28:47 PM
    You are so right. I've been known to weigh myself several times a day (in the past, thank heavens) and my mood would be based on what the scale said.
    I was obsessed with seeing downward movement, and if I didn't get it, I'd set the stage for a day of binge eating. Or, even worse, I'd do a few days of starvation to try to catch up. All that did, of course, was to lower my metabolism and make it harder to achieve my goals. A friend of mine loves to say, "Scales are for fish."
    Thanks for the blog.
    - 1/13/2011   12:22:32 PM
  • 4
    When I see the numbers go down...I'm encouraged right away to continue. But when the measurements go up I'm discouraged at first then I have to talk myself down and rember Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will my new body be. I then get back up after downing a sweet tasty treat to consule myself...gotta break that habit... - 1/13/2011   12:17:01 PM
    I really needed this article today. My scale told me I'd gained 3 pounds overnight, which made me feel super awful. I'm trying to go by whether or not my clothes fit better - 1/13/2011   12:09:46 PM
  • 2
    Thank you. Very helpful. I also have thyroid disease. - 1/13/2011   12:09:11 PM
  • 1
    Great article! I used to only weigh myself but since joining SP have starting taking body measurments and notice when my fitness level improves and when my eating habits change for the better. It is amazing - 1/13/2011   11:12:39 AM

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