Have you ever felt controlled by what the scale is telling you? Maybe you’ve got that “magic” number in your head: “All I need is to reach X pounds…” “Just X more pounds to go and I’ll be happy!” And, when you do step on the scale, you’re holding your breath, praying there’s been some progress, after all you’ve worked so hard…but then, crushing disappointment!
Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. So many of fad diets talk about losing a crazy amount of weight in a short amount of time; yet it’s unrealistic to assume that’s the only way to measure progress. Progress isn’t all about weight on the scale.
As we make healthy lifestyle changes, we must educate ourselves. The scale is only one part of the puzzle and while it is so easy, fast and convenient, it is not the whole picture of your body’s composition. Let’s consider these other factors:
- Body Fat vs. Lean Muscle Measurement
When you use a home scale, it doesn’t account for body fat percentage – that is, the percentage of your body weight that is fat versus the muscle, water weight and other components.
For these most accurate measurements, hire a professional trainer to measure body fat, take measurements and provide you with a baseline report. We all need a starting point. Body fat reduction is the goal when losing weight, but it is important to maintain or increase lean muscle at the same time. Without these measurements, we honestly cannot gauge the success of the program other than an overall body weight reduction. The ratio of body fat to lean muscle is key.
Once you have this report, you can choose to purchase a scale that tracks the information at home. You will also be able to determine how accurate the scale is once you have your professional report. Alternatively, you can set appointments every 6 weeks with this same professional to remeasure. Here is a great article by Healthline to help you understand the importance of having a baseline. How much should I weigh?
- Starting Photos
When starting a new weight loss or healthy living program. Take BEFORE photos in workout clothes. These photos are invaluable. Retake them every 4-6 weeks and place them side by side. I recommend that you take 3 pictures: Front, Side and Back each time. You will be pleasantly surprised as to the changes that occur. Also, take a close-up picture of your face and compare it after 4 weeks. Our faces tell so much.
- Accountability Partner
Changing your eating and exercise routine at the same time can be overwhelming and potentially a recipe for failure. I recommend that you take it slowly and give yourself grace. Ideally, you would work to incorporate the changes in a manner that fits with your lifestyle to sustain long term. How about finding a loved one, friend or co-worker to join you on your journey? You might even choose to have one person who wants to embrace a healthy eating lifestyle, one who wants to exercise with you and one who wants to meditate together. Personally, I love this idea of doing activities with different people. The target here is to have someone to share in the experience as well as keep you motivated. Consistency is a major factor in your success and having others to lean on is so helpful.
Ask yourself: “How do I feel?” When you’re out and about shopping for groceries, do you find it easier to move around and carry heavy shopping bags? Are your aches and pains getting better? Are you thinking clearer or sleeping better? If you feel more confident, stronger, happier and overall healthier, that is the real progress!
How much do you rely on the scale? What are some other ways you’ve tried to keep track of your progress? Comment below!
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