Who else started the new year with a promise to lose weight? Yep, me too. While I began my pandemic motivated to do more strength training and cook at home more, by year’s end, I had gained a few pounds, my stretchy pants were less stretchy, and I was ready to get back to feeling energetic and fit again.
But when I noticed a fancy new scale in the bathroom, I was surprised. My husband was proud of his purchase - it syncs with his watch and tracks all kinds of details about his health (and besides, he couldn’t find our other one). There’s a reason for that, I told him. I threw it out years ago.
Yes, it is true! I used to live by the scale, weighing myself regularly to make sure I was maintaining my hard-won weight loss and fitness. But over time, I started to notice how much the digital readout on the scale impacted my mood. I noticed the exhilaration from a great workout evaporate if my weight had not changed. I felt resentment set in if I didn’t see the numbers I thought I deserved. As a health coach, I knew that there was so much more to good health than weight, so I decided to step away from the scale and turn to other ways of checking in with myself.
It wasn’t long before the scale was forgotten, pushed to the back of a closet with a pair of outdated jeans and some running shoes I can’t bear to part with. Eventually, it was gone completely. I didn’t need it anymore, and you might not either with these new options.
Start the Streak
Have you ever heard the adage that, “we are what we repeatedly do?” There’s a reason for that. Consistency builds momentum, and momentum creates habits. For a while I had a calendar hanging on my pantry door, and for every day that I met my goal for exercise and healthy eating, I put a smiley-face sticker on the calendar. Now there are apps that will track days of exercise, logging meals, not smoking, and more. Whether you go old-school with pen and paper or download an app on your smartphone, consistency leads to results in body, mind, and spirit.
Some goals are difficult to quantify. Spending quality time with family, reducing stress, or discovering gratitude, for instance, don’t fit well into a chart or spreadsheet. But, you still know whether or not you achieved it by how you feel. A narrative journal can be an effective way to track your progress, especially if you enjoy the social elements of healthy living. Some journals come ready for this purpose, with mood icons to circle and prompts to inspire. But, you can also use a simple notebook to reflect on the day about how satisfied you feel with your level of effort towards what you’ve decided is important to pay attention to.
Try It On
I knew that I had gained some pandemic weight when, on an unseasonably warm winter day, I put on my favorite blue hiking shorts and the button didn’t quite reach the buttonhole as easily as it had before. After checking to make sure I wasn’t trying to wear my son’s shorts, I made a mental note that by the time spring came around for real, they would fit better. I knew what I needed to do - cut back on portions and snacking - and that with consistency, I would get there. If you use this method of tracking, however, be reasonable with yourself and select a clothing item just one size smaller than you are currently in. No going back to your high school jeans! One size is about ten pounds, give or take.
Notice the Little Things
If you’ve ever been to a Wellview health screening, you’ve left with a snapshot of the big picture of your health: your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and more. As a health advisor, it is so much fun when a participant brings screening results from a previous year and is excited to see their A1C is lower; or their cholesterol; or their blood pressure. Even when the scale doesn’t seem to move much, these dramatic and important improvements to your health are happening in the background. Notice when you can make it up a flight of stairs without getting winded, or when ordering the veggies instead of fries becomes second nature. Notice when you haven’t had a craving for dessert, and when you finish a workout and feel energized instead of wiped out. These little things say so much more about your fitness and health than any result from a scale, and last longer, too.
Your health is a big picture, made up of a lot of little choices, victories, and changes. We’re here to help you see them, and celebrate with you. What have you noticed? We can’t wait to hear about it.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
Heather Fuselier, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather