Measuring Your Success (Without the Scale)

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When it comes to your diet and exercise program, how important to you is your scale weight as a measure of success?

I’m sure we are not the only trainers who sometimes feel like we spend half our time actually getting people healthier and the other half of the time convincing them they are making positive improvements despite the scale not moving as much as they would have liked.

The scale can be a great tool for giving feedback and finding trends/changes with your body. It also can be highly variable depending on what scale we use, what we are wearing, what time of the day it is, what time of the month it is… etc. We also can put unrealistic expectations on how fast we expect the needle to move. In addition, some of us approach the scale with extra baggage and negative feelings about the number. This is a recipe for feeling negatively about yourself which could be quite unwarranted if you stop and look at other factors that reflect a lot of success. Regardless of the emphasis you put into your scale weight, here’s a reminder of a few other ways success can be showing up for you:

  1. Your energy has improved and/or sleep normalizes. Increasing activity and cleaning up your food choices can absolutely make it easier to wake up the morning as well as promote more productive sleep at night. We all know how important good quality sleep is for overall health and wellness.

  2. Your good habits have stuck and bad ones have dropped off.  Whether it’s creating new habits or ditching old ones, change is hard and should be acknowledged. This could be something as simple as putting less sugar in your coffee. Small consistent changes everyday add up and will lead to permanent improvements in health.

  3. A pain or discomfort has gone away or diminished. This is an important one to take note of! This can look like less low back pain at work, less knee pain during running or even the removal of regularly occurring heartburn.

  4. People are starting to notice. Sometimes our family and friends recognize positive changes before we do. It does feel good when someone says, “You look great, what have you been doing?” Soak it up!

  5. You notice strength and ability improvements. Being able to do movements you haven’t been able to do before (or in years!) or you’re moving heavier weights is a huge win. This usually will cross over to being better at doing activities in your daily life.    

  6. You keep showing up! If you have gone from working out intermittently to working out consistently, your cells and heart are thanking you.

  7. Your clothes are fitting better! Enough said.

It would be a shame to overlook any of these accomplishments because your “scale weight” is not where you want it to be or where you think it should be. Remember, no matter how small of a step you think you took, they will add up quickly.


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