When is the last time you weighed yourself? How often do you weigh yourself? How does that number make you feel? If you are just starting your fitness journey or even if you are in the middle stages of it, here are a few reasons why you should stop weighing yourself often or even at all.
When I began my fitness journey, I would weigh myself daily and eventually became obsessed with the number looking back at me. If I didn’t lose any weight or even if I gained weight, I would immediately be so disappointed in myself and either quit on my goals, eat my feelings, or even stop eating altogether! I tried taking diet pills, working out 7 days a week, and doing everything I could healthy or not to reach a certain weight. Once I finally hit my goal weight, I had nothing else to look forward to. I knew I still had to keep working hard or else the weight would come back on but the motivation of working towards a specific goal was gone. So I started to think of other goals to reach and that’s when I found that the less I focused on my weight, the more I was able to actually see my overall progress.
I started to focus on other goal numbers for myself such as the number of pushups I could do up on my toes, how long I could hold a plank, the weight of the dumbbells I was using, and how far and fast I could run. I found that these are the numbers that have mattered to me on my journey. I don’t remember the moment I reached my goal weight but I definitely remember the feeling I had the first time I ran a full mile without stopping and the moment I was able to hold a 4 minute plank. These numbers are what stuck for me and were true markers of how much better my fitness had become. These moments are called non-scale victories and what I encourage you to focus on. Set some performance based goals for yourself along with a reasonable timeline and I promise you will find that reaching those goals is so much more rewarding than hitting a goal weight.
Are you a mom? Focus on how much more energy you have to play with your kids or even how much easier it starts to get to lift them! (fur mamas count too! 😊) How about your mental health? As I started to focus on getting stronger and discovering more non-scale victories, I became much more confident in myself and less focused on my body image. I have always struggled with anxiety and working out has been a huge release for me. The scale can’t measure your mental progress but it can definitely ruin it if you let it!
Here are some other options to track your progress besides weighing yourself. First, you can take progress pictures. Find tight fitting clothing or take a picture of yourself in a swimsuit. Make sure you have the same clothing, background in every photo you take. You don’t have to share these with anyone at all! They’re just good to look back on throughout your journey! Photos are a great way for you to SEE the progress you are making instead of relying on the number on the scale. The picture below is my most recent progress picture. I weigh 140 pounds in both photos but my body composition is much different! This is why pictures are great to have when the scale isn’t budging. You can also grab a measuring tape and measure your chest, hips, arms and legs. This will provide another insight to your progress by showing that you are losing inches even though your weight is staying the same. Lastly, take a fitness test to measure your endurance/strength progress. Think of 4 exercises you have difficulty with or would like to improve on. Set a timer for one minute for each exercise and note how many reps you can perform for each minute. It also helps to take notes on the exercises. For example, if you test your pushups, note if you had to drop to your knees or if you were able to do them all on your toes. Retake your photos, measurements, and fitness test every 4-6 weeks and see how much has changed. I promise once you stop worrying about the number on the scale, you’ll get better results while becoming stronger both physically and mentally. You got this!