Measuring Success Beyond the Scale

The bathroom scale is synonymous with diet and exercise. Most of us are obsessed with it and find ourselves stepping on it at least twice a day, every day. Now that you are in wedding mode, you may be stepping on the scale a lot! 

Some days it will make your day, while other times it will put you in a funk. We often hate what it says, yet we still feel the need to use it. For many of us, the scale does more than measure weight; it somehow defines who we are. And sadly, it can determine our self-worth.

When used properly — weighing only once a week — the scale can be a useful tool for weight management. But it shouldn’t be the end-all for measuring success. It’s imperative that you look for other ways to measure your progress. After all, good health isn’t only measured in pounds. Try these non-scale tips to measure your success and keep you motivated when the scale doesn’t budge the way you hoped or wanted it to.

  • Go Shopping in Your Closet. Most of us keep clothes that we just know we are going to fit into some day. Why not try on those jeans or that body-hugging dress that you’ve been waiting to wear. Are they snug? Are you able to ease into them a little more easily? Can you zip the zipper while standing instead of laying down on the bed or couch? Take a good look at the clothes you wear every day. Is the waist loose? Is the pant leg baggy? Are your sleeves hanging?
  • Document Your Progress. Each month take a new photo of yourself and create a body measurement chart to see your progress. Use a tape measure to measure your neck, upper arms, waist, hips and thighs and record monthly. Also consider creating a size chart to record your monthly size in shirts/blouses, pants, jacket, skirt and dress. Other ways to document your progress include your annual physical, blood pressure and body fat percentage. Start a journal on these numbers and compare every six to 12 months.
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Are you seeing improved muscle definition in the arms, legs and abdomen? Look at your backside. Is the curve of your back and spine more pronounced? Does your buttock look firmer? What about the dreaded cellulite, is it tightening up or disappearing?
  • Ready, Set, Go! A good workout plan that is followed on a consistent basis and coupled with a healthy eating plan provides health and weight-loss benefits. In addition, it gives you more energy — and you need it now that you are under way with wedding plans. Take a minute and evaluate your energy levels. If you’ve been consistent in your routine, you should find that you are able to work out longer at higher intensity levels and everyday chores that once were a challenge are getting easier.
  • Things We Take for Granted. Everyday moves are also measures for success. Do you find that you can walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath or walk further without pain? Can you sit more comfortably in a booth or chair? Are you able to cross your legs? Can you bend down and pick something up on the first try or tie your shoes without putting your foot up on a chair or step? It’s these little things that make your efforts worthwhile.
  • Love Potion No. 9. Hard work pays off in so many ways, including a boost in self-esteem, confidence and happiness. As you recognize your success, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own body and begin to look at yourself differently. The inside chatter will become positive and your efforts to stay motivated will deepen.