When I ask people what they want to improve about their health, the answer I get the overwhelming majority of the time is . . . "I want to lose weight".
In fact, most people look to the scale to measure their health. However, you can have very little body fat and still be unhealthy. On the other hand, the scale could be reporting a higher number than you like, but other health markers could indicate good health.
When you are moving your body more and making better food choices, there are changes going on in your body at the cellular level. These changes won't show up on a scale! For that reason, I like to gauge the progress of my health with other indicators.
Our lifestyle choices can bring improvements such as reduced use of medications, better sleep, reduced asthma symptoms, less frequent reflux, fewer headaches, improved mood, and decreased pain and inflammation in our joints - that is IMPROVED WELLNESS.
How would those types of changes improve the quality of your life?
If this kind of wellness interests you, let's talk about 5 ways to gauge your progress toward getting healthier other than how much weight the scale says you gained or lost.
1. Energy Levels
Take note of whether you feel sluggish or full of energy each day. This can be a good indicator of your overall health. Chances are, if you’re eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly, you’ll be feeling the benefits. You’ll feel more alert, have steady energy, and won't feel that ‘afternoon slump’ so many of us suffer from. You know you are on the right track when after work you still have the energy to play with your kids and get in some exercise.
2. Sleep Quality
We spend close to a third of our lives doing it, and when we get enough of it – we feel great! The number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of sleep is just as critical. You should be able to fall asleep easily, sleep soundly, and wake up refreshed. If you’re unable to get a good nights sleep it could be a sign that you’re not experiencing peak health and fitness.
3. Better Mood
Your mood is closely linked to healthy eating and fueling your body properly. For example, 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. Signs your lifestyle is improving your brain include feeling generally happier, responding better to stress, fewer mood swings, and less anxiety. Your kids may even say you're more fun!
4. Physical Appearance
I'm not talking about how you look in a bathing suit here. Your skin is a good reflexion of what's going on inside your body - it's your bodies largest organ. Signs that you are experiencing peak health include clearer skin, no more under-eye circles, improved rashes, stronger nails, healthier hair, and a generally more youthful appearance. So pay attention if your skin is not looking so radiant and switch up your lifestyle habits if needed.
5. Physical Performance
Your body will perform well if your body is well. You will see signs including less chronic pain, less fatigue, resolution of tendonitis and other inflammatory conditions, as well as less back and joint aches. If you are able to exercise more consistently, move faster or for longer periods of time, or lift heavier things - your body is performing better and you are progressing toward better health.
In the end, the most important question to ask yourself is “what are YOUR real goals?” What do you want for your health and your life?
A scale doesn'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 grandkids for hours.
Recently I have celebrated with clients these nonscale victories:
Having eyesight improve with regulated blood sugar
Comfortably playing with kids on the playground
Performing yoga poses more easily
Carrying luggage through the airport with ease
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 guidance on your journey to health and happiness, get some tips from our Wellness Coach. We Help People Harness Healing Habits by Coaching them on Nutrition, Movement, Metabolism, and Mindset. Find out more by clicking the button below: