It’s important to measure your weight-loss progress. However, did you know that your success can be measured on a number of levels? You can have successful results even without huge weight loss!
Are you adopting new healthy habits? Are you getting look better? Are your medical problems, injury, and other long-term health risks decreasing? Are you improving the quality of your life? The factors above, with or without weight loss, are the most important measures of success.
You can also measure your short and medium-term changes regularly during the process. These include obvious changes in health- related behaviour patterns such as:
- a decreased reliance on medications
- increased ability to perform physical activity
- a reduced intake of fat and/or carbohydrates
- increased intake of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your diet
- increased intake of fat burning fruits
If you’ve started making slight changes in how your food is cooked or prepared, if you’ve cut back on sugar in your food, or if you’re reading labels at the grocery store and are discovering new tastes and textures, you’re making great improvements towards a healthier lifestyle. When you feel good about yourself and acknowledge the changes you’re making along the way, you’re more likely to keep moving forward on your path to losing weight.
Also, there are a number of physical indicators of progress, incuding:
- the waist circumference
- waist to hip ratio
- hydrostatic weighing
- electrical impedance
- skinfold calipers
If you need help to take any of these measurements, you could try asking your family doctor or find a personal trainer in your area that can help you to make the measurements.
KEY POINT: Whatever method you decide to use to measure your physical progress, never use the scale as the only indicator. Your weight does not reflect how healthy you are or the progress you’ve made.
When you step on the scale, your weight reflects the combined total of both your lean body weight (muscle, bone, organs, fluids) and body fat weight. Two people with identical body weights do not have the same body composition. They could, indeed, have entirely different body types. You can use our BMI calculator for more info on your body type.
For example, a 170- pound man might have 60 pounds of body fat and 110 pounds of lean body mass. A healthier, more muscular man might only have 25 pounds of body fat and 145 pounds of lean body mass. Even though these two individuals weigh the same, one is in much better shape than the other.
When you use the scale to measure your progress, it doesn’t give you information about the body composition (fat vs. muscle) changes that are actually occurring. The scale may show that you’ve lost seven pounds, but it can’t tell you that half of the weight was muscle and water, not fat. Similarly, you may be discouraged when you haven’t lost any weight on your weight-loss program, even though you have actually lost pounds of fat and replaced them with pounds of firm, fat-burning muscle.
KEY POINT: When you develop healthier eating and physical activity habits, it will most likely result in a loss of body fat even though the scale may indicate that you weigh the same. Learn to pay more attention to improvements in how you feel, in your self-esteem, and in your physical appearance.
Don’t forget to notice and acknowledge your improvements in energy, performance, self-esteem, and the many other benefits you’ll gain from this healthier lifestyle: improvements in health risk factors and medical conditions, improved quality of life and psychological functioning, healthier eating, and more enjoyable physical activity.
Think Like a Winner
Think like a winner, and not a loser – remember that emotions are like muscles and the ones you use most grow the strongest. If you always look at the negative side of things, you’ll become a downbeat, pessimistic person. Even slightly negative thoughts have a greater impact on you and last longer than powerful positive thoughts.
Negative thinking doesn’t do you any good, it just holds you back from accomplishing the things you want to do. When a negative thought creeps into your mind, replace it reminding yourself that you’re somebody, you have self-worth and you possess unique strengths and talents.
Contemplate what lies ahead of you. Investigate the weight loss programs that appeal to you and that you feel will teach you the behavioral skills you need to stick with throughout the weight- loss process.
KEY POINT: Losing weight is not just about diets. It’s about a whole new you and the possibility of creating a new life for yourself.
First you should look for support among family and friends. It can be an enormous help to discuss obstacles and share skills and tactics with others on the same path. You might look for this support from others you know who are in weight loss programs and you can seek guidance from someone you know who has lost weight and kept it off.
There are success stories across the country today on television and in newspapers, magazines and tabloids about people who have miraculously lost untold pounds and kept it off. In all instances they say their mental attitude as well as their outlook on life has totally changed.
Learning New Skills
Diets and weight loss programs are more flexible now than they once were and there are many prepared foods already portioned out. They are made attractive and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. Low-fat and low-calorie foods are on shelves everywhere.
You will probably need to learn new, wiser eating skills. You will want a weight loss regimen that gives you some control, rather than imposing one rigid system. Look for one that offers a variety of different eating plans, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. Take a little time to learn about fat burning fruits and foods that burn fat.
Keep in mind, too, that your weight loss program will most likely include some physical exercises. Look at the exercising aspect of your program as fun and recreation and not as a form of grueling and sweaty work. The fact is that physical fitness is linked inseparable to all personal effectiveness in every field. If you are willing to take the few simple steps that lie between you and fitness, you will shortly begin to feel better, and the improvement will reflect itself in every facet of your existence.
Doctors often say that walking is one of the best exercises. It helps the total circulation of blood throughout the body, and thus has a direct effect on your overall feeling of health. There are things such as aerobics, jogging, swimming and many other exercises for a flat belly which will benefit a weight loss program. Discuss the options with your doctor and take his advice in planning your exercise and weight loss program.