You know, it's important to measure your weight-loss progress. However, did you know that your success can be measured on a number of levels? You can have successful results even without weight loss!
Are you adopting new healthy habits? Are you getting look better? Are your medical problems, injury, and other long-term health risks decreasing? Are you improving the quality of your life? The factors above, with or without weight loss, are the most important measures of success.
You can also measure your short and medium-term changes regularly during the process. These include obvious changes in health- related behavior patterns such as:
If you've started making slight changes in how your food is cooked or prepared, or if you're reading labels at the grocery store and are discovering new tastes and textures, you're making great improvements towards a healthier lifestyle. When you feel good about yourself and acknowledge the changes you're making along the way, you're more likely to keep moving forward on your path.
Also, there are a number of physical indicators of progress, incuding:
KEY POINT: Whatever method you decide to use to measure your physical progress, never use the scale as the only indicator. Your weight does not reflect how healthy you are or the progress you've made.
When you step on the scale, your weight reflects the combined total of both your lean body weight (muscle, bone, organs, fluids) and body fat weight. Two people with identical body weights do not have the same body composition. They could, indeed, have entirely different body types. For example, a 170- pound man might have 60 pounds of body fat and 110 pounds of lean body mass. A healthier, more muscular man might only have 25 pounds of body fat and 145 pounds of lean body mass. Even though these two individuals weigh the same, one is in much better shape than the other.
When you use the scale to measure your progress, it doesn't give you information about the body composition (fat vs. muscle) changes that are actually occurring. The scale may show that you've lost seven pounds, but it can't tell you that half of the weight was muscle and water, not fat. Similarly, you may be discouraged when you haven't lost any weight on your weight-loss program, even though you have actually lost pounds of fat and replaced them with pounds of firm, fat-burning muscle.
KEY POINT: When you develop healthier eating and physical activity habits, it will most likely result in a loss of body fat even though the scale may indicate that you weigh the same. Learn to pay more attention to improvements in how you feel, in your self-esteem, and in your physical appearance.
Don't forget to notice and acknowledge your improvements in energy, performance, self-esteem, and the many other benefits you'll gain from this healthier lifestyle: improvements in health risk factors and medical conditions, improved quality of life and psychological functioning, healthier eating, and more enjoyable physical activity.
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