Wednesday, September 19, 2012
( Questions from TANYAP71's blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
7. How do you measure progress towards or maintenance? Scale weight? Body fat percentage? How your clothes fit? Other?
Fitness level is my primary measure, though that does end up sounding a little vague. Short-term it is a comparison of what I can do today compared to what I could do a week ago or a month ago. Long-term it is things like the condition of my joints and tendons, infrequency of illness (getting sick) or injury (such as spraining my ankle or how long it takes to recover if sprained), and developed strength / muscle tone. I'm very aware of trouble areas and how they are improving.
Body fat percentage and scale weight are the secondary measures, used to watch trends in my progress toward a healthy ratio of lean body mass. Measurements and how my clothes fit give nice NSV (non-scale victory) boosts. If they don't change, I'm unlikely to be panicking, though I do review my trackers for the reason(s) why.
The last component is another thing hard to measure exactly -- lifestyle changes. A few years ago, I hated house-cleaning in any form and avoided as much as I could, claiming laziness as a personality trait. Gradually over time I've changed my approach to chores. I still hate house-cleaning, but I recognize the necessity. I sweep my room, clean the bathroom, keep my dishes clean, wash my towels and linens and clothes, and so much more. I didn't immediately change all that. I added little bits here and there and built on them. But looking back now I can see the differences.
When I go shopping, I don't even think about buying bags of Chips Ahoy or Oreos. Those used to be "staples". When I decide to visit Starbucks, I get one pastry rather than two - and it has probably been at least a week since I last went. When I buy a pound of lean ground beef, I split it into single meal servings rather than buying a hamburger helper and eating the entire 3-5 servings it generates. I'm more likely to have a half-gallon of milk go bad than drink it all in a couple days. No matter what food I'm eating, I take the time to actually taste it, appreciate it, and decide whether I want to eat it again in the future - rather than gorging myself on it. Those are all minor changes in the grand scheme of my life and yet together they add up to a much healthier way of eating and approaching food in general.