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No, we’re not going to tell you to stop checking your weight. Sure, it is one of the factors to measure progress and it keeps us in check, warns us and helps us at various stages in our fitness journey. But it is also important to understand why it is not everything that matters and should not be given all your attention. There are other factors of fitness as well.
When working on your fitness journey or towards the road to fat loss, we often get into the habit of checking our weight on the scale every morning, after a cheat meal, a holiday or a festival spree. And to your surprise, that is the worst habit you can get into because either you will find yourself being demotivated and/or under a lot of pressure. That will often lead you to take shortcuts in your journey.
The journey of fitness will never be progressively linear, but to make the most of it you must start to notice and understand the other factors which contribute to little victories through the entire process.
Being aware and focused on non-scale victories will help you keep going forward, making the journey more enjoyable as well as relaxing. This will help especially if your aim is to achieve a sustainable lifestyle and be able to maintain your progress which is what one would wish for long term.
If there is any physical activity that you are working on – lifting weights, playing a game of badminton every week, going for a run/walk every night, then the progress or scale at which you achieve more while doing these activities, is a big win. The rush of lifting something heavier than you did last week, is like no other. The happiness of not panting and being more swift after a game is tremendous. The feeling of being stronger and faster outweighs the number on the scale. Slowly, you will begin to notice these achievements are as a result of your adequate diet and the nutrition and quantity of food you fuel yourself with.
As someone who frequently works with women with PCOS, irregular cycles, hormonal imbalances or migraine pains, I see how frustrating it is when they try their hardest to get healthier. For a lot of them, it’s not about the number on the scale. It is about not having to deal with painful periods, feeling relief in their pain each day, being able to stick to a plan for longer without getting sick, etc. Health is greater than fitness. Improving your digestion, gut health and sleep cycles through your diet can greatly affect not just your physical but mental health too.
While mental benefits are only apparent when you are consciously focused on noticing them, this is one of the most crucial and apparent non-scale victory that goes a long way. Better mood, lift in focus at work, successfully accomplishing a lot more in the same amount of time, are all signs that when you nourish your body, your mind feels the effects. But when you starve to achieve a certain weight on the scale, you are tired, lethargic and are constantly cranky.
Progress in your mind set can spill over to other aspects. If you obsess about food and experience constant guilt over food, it is going to affect your mental health more than you realize momentarily. Focus on nutrition, improvement in your relationship with food and learning about food by eating right will actually make this a lot more sustainable for you. Changes in mindset will mostly be your slowest victory of all but it will eventually be the magic wand you were looking for all this while.
Focus on non-scale victories is more likely to keep you motivated in the long-term than checking weight every day. These are the little victories which will keep you on a sustainable plan for life.
Don’t let a number on a gadget define you or your worth. It’s great to want to lose weight, to work on your fitness/health or physique just know your true why for the goal. You will find yourself shifting goals as well as a shift in setting new ones when you start to value the true victories in the journey.