Making the decision to get fit and healthy is exciting. You begin to picture the “new you” who will be the result of your commitment to your new healthy lifestyle. You sign up for the new fitness program or gym membership, buy some cute new workout clothes, plan out healthy meals, and get off to a strong start. You put in the work, sweat and maybe even a few tears. After a little while you step on the scale, anxious to see the hard earned fruits of your labor on the display. You peek down and ….NOTHING. The scale didn’t budge.
For many people this is the moment that derails their commitment to losing weight, getting fit and living a healthier life. The number on the scale can cause disappointment, a sense of failure and even a little anger. You may be tempted to give up. But I’m here to tell you DON’T! The scale can be a useful tool in your fitness journey but it isn’t the only one or even the best!
We have been trained to think of the number on the scale as the best measurement of our fitness journey and it just isn’t true! Relying on the scale causes many people to judge their worth by a number. There is so much more to you than that! There are many factors that affect weight. For instance; the time of day you weigh yourself, water retention, hormones, and even how much water you drank! It is completely normal for weight to fluctuate several pounds from day to day-or even over the course of one day! If you choose to use the scale make sure you weigh yourself no more than once a week and at the same time of day for the most accurate weigh-in.
It’s time to break free from the scale. Here are five alternative ways to measure your success.
1. How do you feel?
Visible changes to your body take time. You will begin to FEEL those changes long before you see them reflected in the mirror. You may notice an increase in energy, less fatigue, better sleep and even better skin when you begin to eat clean and workout.
2. How do your clothes look and fit?
Your body will begin changing even if the scale doesn’t reflect that change. Fat deposits will shift or begin to disappear. Fat will be replaced by muscle. Pay attention to the way your clothes fit and how they look on your body. You may soon need a shopping spree to replace all those baggy pants and loose tops!
3. How does your body look?
I can’t stress enough the importance of taking progress pictures. I know no one likes taking a “before” picture but you WILL regret it later when you want to look back and see how far you’ve come. No one ever has to see it. One day you will look at those pictures and be so proud of yourself! Continue to take them periodically and you’ll see your body change. I suggest taking them in the same place, in the same pose, wearing the same thing each month. Watching muscles appear and your shape changing over time is great motivation to keep going!
4. Are you stronger, faster, better?
When I first began my weight lifting program DVD’s I couldn’t get through without pushing pause repeatedly. I couldn’t keep up with the pace and sometimes had to drop my weights to get through the set. I used the lightest weights we owned and in some cases no weights at all. The day I made it through without stopping or dropping my weights was a proud day!
Judge your progress by what you can do and how you feel during the workout. Measure your gains by tracking the weights you use and the reps you can lift with good form, the miles you can put in or the simple fact that you can finish a workout that you thought would kill you a month ago!
5. How has your overall outlook changed?
Every journey is unique and personal. This will look and feel different for each of us. Think about your attitude-you may be more confident, have a more positive outlook, feel less stressed and anxious. Maybe you feel energized and proud for the first time in a long time. You may celebrate your new found will power over cravings or celebrate conquering fear of new challenges. Maybe it is the simple joy in wearing a pair of jeans you never thought you'd fit into again! Whatever it looks like for you-it’s so much better and more life changing than that number on the scale!
Hi! I'm Erica, a fitness and healthy food loving wife and mother of three here to inspire you on your wellness journey!