Measuring progress, whether it is for weight loss, toning up or just over all healthy habits, it is important to measure progress in a variety of ways. Yes, the scale is important to keep track of our weight, but sometimes taking a break from that dreaded device is all we need to get through the changes. The scale is just one measurement; so why do we get so hooked up on that one number?
Using a variety of sources to measure our progress can show changes you never thought were possible. Each day, our bodies can fluctuate a substantial amount of weight and that can be frustrating and discouraging. I have tested this theory myself. I have had days where I eat great and exercise well and think I had a wonderful day. I weighed myself in the morning and then again before bed. There have been days I have gained 3 pounds.
Three pounds in one day, how!? So many factors go into these fluctuations; time of day, time of month, time of year, hydration status, sodium, inflammation, schedule of meals, hormones, etc. That is why basing our progress on one measurement does not tell you exactly how you are doing! There are plenty of ways to measure progress beyond the scale.
1, How your clothes fit - this is a biggy. I have clients daily tell me the scale isn't moving, but they were able to fit into an item of clothing they had not been able to wear in years! That is because they're body is leaning out. More times than not, they have increased their workouts, gained muscle, which has stalled their weight. But they are turning fat into muscle, thus, are leaning out.
2. Body measurements - when was the last time you measured your waist, arms, legs, bust? Just like the clothing, different parts of your body could be taking shape and cutting down in size. This is a great measurement to see those inches fall all around.
3. Energy levels and how you feel - have you ever had a day where you ate so well and think you could run a marathon? Then the next day might not be as great and you feel a little sluggish? That's because you are changing your habits and your body is responding in a positive way. Our bodies adapt quickly to change. Measuring our energy can help us make day to day decisions on what will make us feel good.
4. Sleep - nothing makes me happier than hearing clients say this is the best they have slept in years. Ever since they started making healthy habits a priority, their sleep has improved drastically. Sleep has such a large effect on our health and weight. When we have poor sleep, it effects every decision we make the following day. Small changes here and there will improve our sleeping patterns.
5. How your body moves - setting goals to eat better and workout more is great. But setting smaller goals to work up to is more motivating. Have you noticed your workouts are becoming easier? See if you can get to 25 push ups, or hold a 2 minute plank, run 3 miles in 30 minutes. Work towards a physical goal as it becomes easier to move.
While the scale is important to use, it is also important to have a variety of ways to measure progress. Weighing in daily can be good to see how our bodies respond to day to day eating and activity, but we tend to get caught up on that one number. Don't let that one number define you! You're the only one who knows it. How you look and feel can trump those numbers. Most importantly, don't give up when you see a fluctuation. It happens to us all, in a matter of minutes. That fluctuation is not there to stay. Remember all those times you started over, don't let it happen this time. Your future self will thank you for not giving up over a number.