You’ve been thinking about eating a bit better and getting a bit more active for a while. You finally got yourself to get started, and are excited to start seeing results. You got yourself some cute new bright colored running shoes and some nice yoga pants. Or, you got the basketball shorts on and a t shirt with the sleeves cut/ripped off. IT’S TIME FOR FITNESS!!!
After a couple days, you take out the ollll scale.
“What?! I didn’t lose any weight?! But I ate brown rice and lettuce!!! I even ate a carrot!!!!”
Okay, okay. Maybe a bit of an over-dramatization of the internal dialogue that goes through your head when you weigh yourself often, while first getting on a consistent fitness routine. Or, maybe it wasn’t an over-dramatization. If it wasn’t, I feel your frustration about that carrot not making you meet your goals in two days. I mean seriously, carrot, help out a little.
A few things to think about when talking about tracking fitness process.
It’s going to take time. Time, as in, days, weeks, months, years. It’s unrealistic to think that your body will go through huge changes in a very short period of time. Our bodies are not built to physically change very quickly. It’s not healthy for it to happen. It’s also not helpful to expect such things, because then when it doesn’t happen that quickly, it can be depressing. How long it will take to meet certain milestones and changes, depends on many factors. This is not to bum anybody out. It’s just a reminder to manage one’s own expectations. If you stay committed and continue to educate yourself from credible resources, change will happen.
Take a break from the scale. It’s possible to make fitness improvements without it showing up on the scale right away. Many things can influence the number on the scale that don’t necessarily mean you aren’t moving towards your fitness goals. Instead, think about other ways to track progress:
- How do you feel? How is your energy level? Do you feel a bit lighter on your feet? Do you feel stronger?
- How do your clothes fit? Do you feel a bit more space where you didn’t before? Are some shirts a bit tighter in the back area, shoulder area?
- Progress pictures. It sounds silly, but it can be a great motivator. The ol’ take a picture of yourself in the mirror technique. It may feel silly at first, but comparing a picture from when you start to eat right and exercise, to a few weeks or months later, can show a change in body composition. If you have been working hard and staying committed, seeing the change can be a great motivator to keep working hard. Plus, later when you are nice and lean or super buff (depending on your goal), you can put the pictures side to side and be like “LOOK FACEBOOK, CHECK ME OUT!!!.” Go ahead and do it. You deserve the attention.
Now, the scale can be a great tool to track progress. Keep in mind, that it is exactly that. A tool to track progress. If weight loss is a goal, then you will see the weight on the scale go down over time, assuming you are following a sound routine. What I’m referring to here, is not weighing yourself every few minutes. Maybe space it out over a couple weeks. Maybe don’t weigh yourself for a month, or more! If you are working with a fitness or health professional, they can help you plan out a realistic way of using the scale.
The take home message:
Be patient with, and stay committed to your fitness plan. Manage your expectations. Track progress in different ways.
Fitness is one heck of a journey that we are lucky to be a part of. Enjoy it!