Many people believe that to improve their health and stick to their fitness goals, they should weight themselves every single day. While that may work for some as a motivator, scale weight can often be misleading and demoralizing as a measure of progress toward better health. Why? Because body weight alone doesn’t provide a complete picture of health, and can fluctuate dramatically based on what you ate the day before, how hard you exercised, monthly cycle status, and so much more. Instead of obsessing over the scale, try focusing on these factors instead.
#1 – How your clothes fit
This is perhaps the single most important measure of progress towards improved body composition. When following a strength training program coupled with moderate cardio exercise, you will replace fat tissue with muscle. Everyone’s heard the misnomer “muscle weighs more than fat.” What’s really meant by this is muscle tissue is denser and heavier than fat. While this is in no way scientific and just for illustration – one-half cup of muscle tissue weighs more than a whole cup of fat tissue. Get the picture? So if your clothes are getting looser, but the scale doesn’t change, just stop weighing yourself.
#2 – Your energy level
The scale can’t measure how you feel in your day-to-day life. If you have more energy, focus and drive since you’ve been working out and eating healthier, that’s a much better indicator of your overall health than the number on the scale.
#3 – How hard you’ve worked
Exercise and healthy eating do so much for your overall wellness – especially to reduce the risk of chronic “lifestyle” diseases that plague our society in today’s world. The scale can’t measure how your success at maintaining these new habits is benefitting your wellbeing every single day.
#4 – Your overall health
Your body’s inner state, as measured by blood composition, hydration, inflammation, bone density, hormonal levels, and blood pressure (any many more) are more important markers of overall health than scale weight for those who are not obese. Rather than obsessing over those “last 10 pounds” consider how healthy your entire system is – and focus on improving those areas that need it most.
#5 – Your strength and endurance
Regardless of what the scale tells you on a particular day, you’ve developed strength and endurance from your workouts even if you haven’t reached your goal weight. The scale can’t measure your toned arms, or how you can climb a flight of stairs without getting winded anymore.
Most of all, remember that your weight does not define your value as a person. You deserve love and care no matter the current composition of your body. What’s most important is that you are taking steps to care for yourself and your health!
Laurie Kelly is a Precision Nutrition Certified Level 1 coach, specializing in exercise and sports-based nutrition coaching. She is also a NASM-certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, and a Road Runners Clubs of America Certified Adult Running Coach, and a Certified Professional Triathlon Coach by the International Triathlon Coaching Association. She’ll work with you one-on-one to help you live a healthy and active life and achieve your unique fitness goals. Contact her here or follow her blog at www.dragonfly-fitness.com.