Beyond the scales - what to do when the scales aren’t working for you anymore! You’ve been doing everything right: tracking your food consistently, hitting green macros in your food diary, getting your cardio in, lifting weights, and going easy on the cheese and wine or chocolate on the weekends. But whenever you step on the scales, the same number stares back at you—or worse, the number is higher than it was last week.
When the scales start to become a dread, a de-motivator or worse – can ruin your whole day, it’s time to change your way of gauging your progress! There’s nothing wrong with stepping on the scales. It works. But the scale isn’t the be all and end all of your progress! The scales don’t always tell the whole story. Ever jumped on the scales after a heavy meal, during the week of your menstrual cycle, after consuming high-sodium foods? The scales can fluctuate up to 2kgs on any one of those days and the scales don’t explain this.
Using the scales in addition to other methods of measuring progress can lead to behavioural change that support long-term weight loss. If the numbers on the scales are stubborn and you aren’t motivated, shift your focus to something entirely different. If you focus solely on the number your motivation will eventually drop. Take notice of more subtle cues like:
- How you feel in the morning when you wake up,
- The increase in your self- confidence and sex drive,
- How your skin looks better from eating well,
- How you wake up earlier and with more energy,
- You feel your mindset is clearer and you feel more positive,
- You’re running further,
- You can complete more push-ups,
- How your clothes feel,
- How you feel eating healthier,
- How you feel cutting back on alcohol,
- How you feel having a healthy exercise routine,
- Performance goals such as gaining fitness or getting stronger.
All of these are valid measures of improvement to your health and overall well-being. A number on the scales does not define you. If you’re not feeling motivated on the scales perhaps it’s time to focus on a different measurement. One that gives you more indicators of progress. Tracking your progress makes your newly formed habits more satisfying. Each measurement provides a tiny piece of reassurance that you’re moving in the right direction towards a healthier you! The only thing more frustrating than not losing weight is hitting a weight loss plateau after making consistent and steady progress for months on end. Overcoming a plateau is often more about making small changes to the intensity of our training than it is going overboard with restricting your food or smashing your workouts.
Focusing on non-scale victories re-reaffirms your habits and shows satisfying improvement from when you first started. One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress! Relying only on the scales may make your training and all your healthy eating efforts feel like a waste of time, even though the those compounded habits each day helped you burn calories, lose weight, get stronger, provided you with better nutrition and made you fitter than you were before. If the scales make you feel like a failure its time to switch up your measurement for progress!