In the beginning of every year, we’re overloaded with so many weight loss messages, that even the most confident of us can feel under pressure to lose weight…And those of us who may not even need to shed a few pounds, question if they should be trying to or not.
So a lot of us end up logging into our Amazon accounts and buying a brand new scale to keep ourselves on track. Or dusting off the old scale and putting it to good use again. But being healthy is ultimately about feeling healthy – and has very little to with the number on the scale.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the scales don’t have their place – they do, especially if you’re tracking your weight-loss progress. But spending too much time focusing on the number can discourage you. Often times when you think you’ve dropped weight after a strict diet and sticking to your exercise plan, you discover you haven’t lost as much as you thought you had, or you don’t see the number you were hoping to see (which can be for many different reasons by the way!)
So if you dread stepping on the scale, instead of getting disheartened by what you weigh, why not resolve to monitor your health and fitness in a more positive light this year? Here’s a few ways you can track your progress after putting those bathroom scales to the side – I use these ways to measure my health too, and I’ve never felt better!
Let’s start with the most noticeable one – your energy levels. Taking note of whether you feel sluggish or full of ‘juice’, can be a good indicator of your overall health. Chances are, if you’re eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising daily, you’ll be feeling the benefits. You’ll feel more alert, have a better night’s sleep and won’t feel that ‘afternoon slump’ so many of us suffer from.
Feeling healthy is the first step in looking and feeling your best, so don’t brush off the inside-out effects of your new lifestyle, even if weight loss is your main goal.
Next let’s talk about sleep. We spend close to a third of our lives doing it, and when we get enough of it – we feel great! It’s a fact that we need sleep for our physical, mental and emotional health. The number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of sleep is just as important. If you’re unable to get a good night’s sleep it could be a sign that you’re not experiencing peak health and fitness.
Cutting down on alcohol and stimulants like cigarettes and caffeine before bed should help you drift off easier, as well as making time for you before you switch the lights off. That you time can’t be staring at a phone, tablet or TV screen either, as studies are showing blue light can affect your ability to ‘wind down’ as well.
How we start our day is just as important as how we end it. What about mood? Your mood is closely linked to healthy eating and fueling your body. If you’re in a good mood, that’s great! It can be a reflection of good health. But on the other hand, if you’re feeling a little low, or you’ve got a short fuse, this can be a sign that it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. Losing your temper can happen when your blood sugar is low, so eating balanced meals is key. Also adding more exercise into your week can help as movement releases those feel-good chemicals.
How your skin looks can also be a good reflection of what’s going on inside your body – especially as it’s the biggest organ in the body. With hundreds of different skin problems, there’s multiple signs that your skin can indicate you’re not experiencing peak health. Three of the most common signs being acne, paleness and dry/itchy skin. So pay attention to how radiant (or not so radiant) your skin looks, and switch up your lifestyle habits if needs be.
At the end of the day the most important question to ask yourself is “what are your real goals?” What do you want? Not what you’ve been told to want. The scales don’t measure how strong you’re becoming, how much better you feel, if you can walk the stairs without losing your breath, or if you can play with your kids (or grandkids) for hours.
Don’t let the number on the scale rule your life and how you feel, judge your progress by ‘health’ instead and you’ll learn how to listen to your body and your efforts will pay off.
For more ways on how to stick to healthy habits and feel great no matter what age you are, click here to get your copy of, The Healthy Habit: A book written by a physical therapist collegue of mine. www.thehealthyhabitbook.com
And if you’re wanting real in-person support in office or online, contact us HERE and let us know what help you are looking for.