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.
The Bottom Line
- 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.
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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