Though I can’t deny that looking good in a new pair of jeans or feeling confident in your summer shorts is very motivating, there are so many other factors that go into health, fitness, and weight-loss success. Or at least there should be…I’m a girl, so not being a slave to the number on the scale is a battle. I don’t know exactly why so many of us find this number to be of such value, but alas…it is. The truth about the scale is that it is only one tool of many that we should be using to measure success. Some scales measure hydration and body fat percentage and that is more helpful, but all in all, the scale is just a number. A woman can be 140 pounds and a size 8, or 140 pounds and a size 4. The difference here is of course muscle versus fat!
As a nursing mom, the scale has been my arch nemisis. Over the last 12 months post-partum, I have worked so hard eating healthy and tracking to ensure Baby and I are getting optimal nutrition. I have also been killing it in my workouts. Over the months I am so much stronger-probably stronger than even before I got pregnant! However, no matter, the last of the baby weight remains. But, I am constantly reminding myself that it’s just a number, and this is just a season. I love my healthy whole foods diet, I workout and feel great, my core is strong again, I am sleeping better than I have in years, I have less bad headaches, my skin is clear, my digestion is great, and…best of all… I am so happy! SO…the number on the scale hasn’t went down to where I would like to see it, BUT when I think about all of the other good things surrounding my health that has happened, I am quite pleased with my progress!
As satisfying as it can be to watch the numbers on the scale go down each week, here are some other much needed tools for you to use to track your success!
Dig through and find some old shots of where you were last month, last year, over even 5 years ago! A picture really is worth so much in tracking your progress. Or, even better, start taking weekly bathroom selfies (this can be for your eyes only!) instead of weighing in weekly. The visual will help you see progress that the scale can’t!
If you’re losing inches or gaining muscle, your clothes are going to fit different. Take note of this as you get dressed!
Listen to Your Body:
Practice becoming more in-tune with your body, because if you listen, it will tell you much more than the scale ever will. “I often have clients come in and say, ‘I don’t know if the scale moved, but I feel so great,'” says Stephanie Middleberg, R.D., of New York City–based Middleberg Nutrition. “This means their energy is up, their skin is clear, they are going to the bathroom consistently, and their cravings are way down.” –shape.com
Can you do a push-up on your toes rather than always doing them on your knees? Can you hold a plank longer? Are your mile times getting faster? Are you less tired/winded doing every day tasks like going up the stairs or working in the yard? Are your aches and pains better? If your body is getting strong, faster, and/or leaner, it will show up when you go to use it! This is no small thing. Celebrate this!
Eating crappy foods, smoking, drinking, and sitting all day will cause a tons of issues and one of them is inflammation. Your skin won’t like all the garbage and it will show you. When you start exercising, sweating, and feeding your body the right foods, your skin will clear up and even glow! If your skin is looking better, you are succeeding!
Set a Scary Goal:
Maybe you never thought you would attend a group fitness class, eat weird foods like quinoa, or sign up for a race. If you are finding yourself doing these types of things, and actually looking forward to the next one, I would totally count that as a success!
(This past Spring I got certified to teach PiYo Live. I love the workout, but teaching this format is NOT in my wheel house. It’s definitely scary to try to lead a group of people in this new style of class, but I needed the challenge and my body needed the workout! Pushing myself to do something new in fitness is a big deal!)
Medication Needs Changing:
From cholesterol meds to anxiety pills, if you have less of a need for your prescriptions because of a healthy lifestyle change, you are totally killing it! I firmly believe that
I have seen this in my trainings time and time again. A person will come in shy, timid, frowning, grimacing, quiet, afraid, and stand in the back. Fast forward to 3 moths later and they are smiling, chatting, jumping around, and high fiving! Fast forward to 6 months later and they are running races and telling me about this killer kale salad recipe they found and made last night. Confidence shows up, and it’s a big deal. Want more of it? Simple: start exercising.
So, as you can see there are SO many ways for us to measure how we are doing. I promise to practice what I preach and worry less about the scale and celebrate all my healthy victories! Will you?Your Trainer,