By Helaine Krasner, RDN CDN
It’s easy to get distracted by the number on the scale. Many of us use it as the only measure of success in our weight management journey. It’s true that body weight is an important indicator of health risk and is definitely worth keeping an eye. However, focusing exclusively on the scale can undermine our ability to appreciate many other important markers of success.
A healthier body weight is only one benefit of practicing healthier lifestyle habits. You can be at a healthy weight and still be unhealthy, or have an undesirable body fat to lean muscle ratio. In addition, for those who weigh themselves frequently, there are many factors that contribute to daily fluctuations in weight:
- Time of day (early vs late)
- Time of month (premenopausal women)
- Recent food and beverage intake (sodium, alcohol, sugar)
So, what are some examples of non-scale victories?
- You have more energy and you’re sleeping better
- You don’t get winded climbing the stairs or performing your daily activities
- Your clothes fit better or you’ve even gone down a size or two
- You no longer need the seat belt extender on airplanes!
- You can cross your legs when you sit down
- You can put on your socks and shoes with ease
- You are finally off some medications!
- You no longer have to check your blood sugars
- You’re exercising regularly and notice improvements in fitness and strength
All of these are important indicators of improved health that result from changes that you’ve made. The best strategy is to weigh yourself regularly on a schedule that works best for you, but try to select the same time of day (first thing is best). Weekly weighing works best for most people. If the result is not what you were hoping for, reflect on what may have undermined your efforts so you can make changes. Keep a list of non-scale victories nearby to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made that can’t be measured by the scale.
When you focus on non-scale victories your proverbial glass will always be at least half full!