How to stay motivated when the scale is bringing you down.
Ive heard it a lot as a trainer, I hear it even more now with the real ease of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. Im eating perfectly, Im exercising, why hasn’t the scale moved. I understand that not seeing the scale go down when you are working hard can be frustrating. There are a lot of reasons the scale might not be moving. If you just started eating better and exercising you need to give it more than a few days. People are to quick to jump on the scale every morning to see if the number has changed. If you’re a female and its close to that time of month, well hard truth is we retain water and that makes the number go up. Are you being honest with yourself, are you really eating as clean as you can? Are you pushing as hard as you can in your workout? Did you have a little slip up that you are “not counting?” All of these things affect the scale but thats actually not the point of this post at all. The point of this blog post is that the scale is not the end all be all. Get off that damn thing! There are a lot of other things you can look at to asses your progress when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. Here are my top ten NON -SCALE victories that I encourage clients to look at when the number on the scale is bringing them down.
1. How do your clothes fit?
This is a big one. Sometimes we lose weight (i.e. the number on the scale goes down) and sometimes we lose inches. If you ask me I want to see my inches go down (well except on my butt, that Im trying to grow but thats just me). Ok back to how your clothes fit. Pay attention. If jeans that used to barely zip or button are going on without a problem you are doing something right. If a shirt that used to hug you a little to tight is now a little lose you are dong something right. If you need to tighten your belt an extra notch give yourself a pat on the back, you are making progress.
2. Are you stronger?
Pay attention to how you are doing in your workouts. Is the workout that used to kick your butt getting easier? Are you using heavier weights? Are you going longer, harder? These are all signs that you are getting stronger. This is a NON-SCALE VICTORY!!! Be proud
3. Do you have more energy?
Believe it or not eating bad food sort of sucks the life out of you. When you fuel your body with healthy food you will have more energy. It will no longer be a short burst of energy that you get from a cup of coffee or sugar, it will be all day long all day strong energy. Exercising gives you more energy as well. Maybe not in the moment when your getting your butt kicked but in the long run it does. One because you release endorphins which make you feel good and two because a body in motion stays in motion. The more you move the more you will want to move.
4. Are your cravings gone?
This is huge when it comes to eating healthy. Cravings are the worst, fighting one is an epic battle. Heres the good news, when you start eating healthy food and rid your body of all the excess sugar and crap it will slowly stop craving it. It takes 21 days to break a habit ( yep thats why my programs are 21 days, we are breaking bad habits and forming new, healthy ones) so after a few weeks the craving for crap should be gone. That is a huge victory in my book. It takes a lot of mental energy to fight off a craving, that onhealthy pain relief energy is better spent elsewhere, like on prepping your healthy meals for the week.
5. Are you sleeping better?
Another one that is important. Sleep is where all the magic happens, thats when your body repairs itself, rejuvenates and gets ready for all that life will throw at it again tomorrow. If you have trouble sleeping you know how hard it can be to get throughout a day. You a tired, crabby, craving sugar because your body is looking for an energy source. It is a vicious cycle. Once you start moving your body a little, exercising, fueling it with some healthy food, watch what happens, those restless nights will turn into sweet dreams. You will wake up ready to take on the day.
6. How does your skin look?
I know this wouldn’t be the first thing you think of paying attention to when it comes to working out and eating better but its an important one. When you workout you sweat, the sweat is releasing toxins from your body. Toxins that dull your skin and make it break out. When you eat healthy you are giving your body vital minerals and nutrients that help with cell repair, sun damage, aging, all things that affect your skin. Are bodies are over 60% water, when you hydrate properly it shows in your skin. This is a HUGE NON-SCALE victory. We all want to look younger.
7. Has your mind set changed?
Are you happier, do you feel more confident in yourself? Are you proud of yourself for getting in your workout, for sticking to your healthy eating plan? Having a positive attitude about life and about your body shows in everything you do.
8. Can you see definition in your muscles?
Sometimes you don’t have a lot of weight to lose, YOU might think you do but in reality you just need to tone up a little. So how do those shoulders look, what about your biceps, are your legs thinning out, is there definition peaking through in those abs? All things to pay attention to instead of the scale.
9. Have your relationships improved?
When we don’t feel good about ourself we tend to become more introverted. We stop going out as much because we don’t want to be seen in public, we don’t like the way we look in clothes. Maybe you have become less intimate with your partner because you don’t think they like the way you look. Pay attention to this stuff, has it changed now that you are exercising at eating right? Are you having more fun, enjoying life more? Happy to be around friends and loved ones? This is a huge victory and this has nothing to do with a number on a scale.
10. Are you able to come off of medications that you needed to be on because of a poor diet or lack of exercise?
I think this might be the biggest NON-SCALE victory. A poor diet and lack of exercise leads us to have to take a lot of medications. Things for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, acid reflux, and many other things. Check with your doctor and see if your medication can be reduced or stopped all together after being on a healthy eating plan and exercise program. This just might be the biggest reward there is. How good will it feel to not have to take those medications, to be in control of your health, to save the money you would have spent on medication and put it toward something you want?
The scale is just one tool, one tiny bit of information to help asses where you are in your fitness journey. It is NOT the end all be all. It does not determine if you are working hard and doing something good for yourself. Yes, its fun to see the number on the scale go down but you can’t let it discouraged you from continuing on your healthy journey just because it doesnt move as fast as you want it to.
Your partner in health,