So, you’ve been on the go since January trying to exercise more and eat better, but how far have you come? It can be tricky measuring progress and no one method is perfect. You may feel progress has been slow but if you’ve only been using one method to measure your progress you may not be seeing the bigger picture. You may not realise how well you’ve actually done…
If you are on a diet or fitness regime you will no doubt head to the scales to monitor your weight and in turn measure your success for the week. If you see you have not lost any weight or have ‘only lost a pound,’ it’s easy to become disheartened and confidence and motivation can take a knock. But weight is just one figure which cannot tell you other important information about your body and health and how they may be improving.
You can weigh more but look and feel leaner because weight does not distinguish between muscle and fat. Rather than just focusing on one number such as your weight, how you look and feel in your clothes can be a much bigger indicator of your achievements. In turn, getting the tape measure out and taking measurements of yourself can indicate change where the scales cannot as muscle takes up less space than fat.
I am not saying you should throw out your weighing scales but I would highly recommend getting a set that can provide you with other stats like your muscle mass, bone mass and body fat percentage. This can give you a clearer image of your body composition and how healthy this is for someone of your gender, age and height. This is why controversially your BMI can provide an inaccurate description of your weight as it only accounts for how much weight you have per unit of height in your body.
Both weight and measurements can fluctuate daily so these figures should never be obsessed over. Similarly, when you look at yourself every day in the mirror as we all do it is hard to notice changes in how your body looks. Others will see them before you do so learn to listen and take on board compliments. If friends have noticed a change in you then this is a fantastic signal of your progress.
One way of helping you see these changes for yourself is looking back at old photographs. Some of the women who come to my classes have shared before and after photos of themselves and I often see that this is the biggest reward giving them pride and a source of further motivation.
Lastly, one of the best and simplest ways to measure progress is how you feel. If your old sluggish and bloated self has gone and you are now more energetic and able to run for the bus or stride up the hill without getting out of breath you will definitely know about it. In the same way you know when you are run down your body tells you when it’s feeling good. Your skin and hair may look healthier, you may feel brighter and getting out of the chair may no longer warrant a groan of effort.
To conclude, I advocate using as many methods of measuring progress as possible to give you a clearer picture of your hopefully improving health and fitness. Don’t get hung up any one number without taking into account all the evidence of your progress!