Have you ever woken up feeling great only to step on the scale and have your entire day ruined? How crazy is it that a number you have almost no control over can dictate how you feel about yourself? Although many of us fixate on our body weight, the truth is that the number on the scale tells us truly little about our health or even our body composition.
For years, teenagers and women have spent and still spend a large portion of their lives focussing on how much they weigh. If they don’t weigh what they want their days are spent feeling bad about themselves to varying degrees.
Being too hyper-focused on body weight can do more harm than good to both your mental and physical health.
Instead of hopping on the scale, focus on Tracking Progress with these 3 changes that really matter.
Track Your Waist Circumference
The number on the scale can fluctuate for so many reasons outside of body fat changes. But one measurement that won’t fluctuate is your waist circumference. A widening waistline can indicate an increase in visceral fat, a metabolically active fat that can increase body-wide inflammation and disease risk. Tracking changes in your waistline can be a great way to access body composition changes as well as future health risk.
Track Your Goals
Let’s face it, if you have ever said you wanted to lose weight, the number on the scale isn’t your sole goal. The intended impact weight loss may bring, such as improved health, is the true goal. So instead of tracking an arbitrary number, track the actual goal. Work with your healthcare provider to have routine bloodwork done to track changes in blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. These numbers will provide a much more accurate picture into your current health status than the scale ever could.
Track Your Energy Level
If you were to close your eyes and envision yourself at your goal weight, what would you see? Would you see the scale, or would you instead see a person full of energy and waking up each day feeling their best? My guess is it would be the latter. When you make lifestyle changes to improve health, weight loss may occur. But the number on the scale is not what is important. How you feel is! So, track it.
Every day, ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your energy level with 1 being the lowest possible energy level and 10 being the highest. Over time, watch how it improves as you continue to make healthy lifestyle changes. This improvement in how you feel each day will keep you far more motivated to continue with making these changes than the number on the scale ever could.
Find all new Ways to Track your Progress in 2021.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, CPT: A nationally recognized nutrition, diabetes and fitness expert who shows busy individuals how to make time for health. The founder and owner of the New Jersey based Vernon Nutrition Center, a nutrition counseling group specializing in weight management, diabetes, and family nutrition.
She is an author of multiple publications including the “2 Day Diabetes Diet,” (Reader’s Digest), “Love Your Age” (Prevention/Rodale), and the “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies,” (Wiley), she also contributes regularly to publications including Diabetes Forecast and EverydayHealth.com. Her work can be viewed at ErinPalinski.com