Results we can see and measure – that’s what we want when it comes to weight loss. It’s a common frustration for those needing and wanting to lose those extra pounds. A step on the scale expecting affirmation that what you’re doing IS working and…nada! At this point, you let some expletives fly as you cry out “What the $&@#?!!!” Well, guess what? It’s ok! Not that it’s ok to not get results – but it is ok if every victory isn’t tied directly to the number you see on the scale. “How can that be?” you ask. It’s simple – weight loss and the improved health and wellness it brings actually consist of much more than just your actual weight. Don’t believe it? Keep reading.
It’s Not Your Fault
Our brains have been trained to measure success or failure based on numbers. From the very first days of schooling, we’re graded on how well we’re doing, so it’s no surprise that those attempting to lose weight can become obsessed with the number on the scale. But here’s the truth – even if the number on the scale isn’t budging, it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress in the right direction.
So how do you stay positive and not discouraged? Step back and take account of all the ways your life, wellness and health are improving, despite the stubbornness of the scale. This list of 5 ways your body is improving can help keep you motivated.
1. A Clear Mind
How well could you focus before you began your weight loss program? Many people find they have trouble staying on task and processing simple decisions. Becoming easily overwhelmed or confused when dealing with minor activities can be a frustrating part of being overweight. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can lead to better brain function making it easier to stay focused, leading to a feeling of increased productivity and calm. Research shows that when people modify their lifestyles and adapt to healthier behaviors, their mental clarity improves. It can make a huge difference in the quality of your day-to-day life – so give it the recognition it deserves!
2. Quality Sleep
It’s well known that a good night’s rest is key to your overall health. It’s also well known that obesity interferes with the body’s ability to gain quality sleep (hello sleep apnea!). So take stock of the sleep you’re getting now versus before you started your weight loss. Are you having fewer interruptions during the night? Do you feel like you want a nap or is your energy level good? Do you fall asleep more easily when you lay down? Better rest makes for a better you, so count it as a win!
3. Clothes that Fit (and are smaller)
One of the biggest sources of stress and frustration can be clothes. You may have been so uncomfortable with the way your clothes fit that everything you owned was two sizes too big – or maybe you simply avoided going out in public. Whatever your plight, look at where you are today. Noticing a little more room in the waistband? Maybe you find yourself actually getting excited about buying new clothes and no longer feeling overwhelmed when shopping. And if you’re not there yet, don’t get discouraged – it takes time.
4. Increased Energy
Think (honestly) about your energy level prior to your weight loss journey. Did you tire easily? Feel sluggish most of the time? Now, how is your energy today? Do you wake up ready to tackle your day? Does your energy carry you throughout the day? If you can answer that with a YES, then you ARE making strides toward a healthier life. Keep it going!
5. Finding Your Fitness
What about exercise? Before you started making lifestyle changes, you may have found that exercise was painful or just not practical for you. This may have caused you to avoid physical activity altogether because you felt like you couldn’t handle it. Now, with improvement in your health and lifestyle, exercise is a real option – and you actually enjoy it! Instead of avoiding the stairs, you now look for the opportunity to get physical activity – even incorporating it into your daily routine. However you’re getting exercise, pat yourself on the back for taking control of your health!
Pro Tips to Remember
We get it! It can be very tempting to step on the scale frequently and when it doesn’t show us what we want, frustration can take hold. Try this instead: keep a journal of your food/water intake, physical activity, mood and physical measurements. At the end of the month, retake your measurements. This will allow you to compare and actually see how much your body is changing (regardless of what the scale may be telling you.) And take a selfie! Before you start your program, take a full-length photo of yourself, then after several weeks, take another photo wearing the same clothes and compare them side-by-side. You’re likely to not notice the changes day-to-day, so this exercise can make the positive changes your body is going through more obvious…and easier to celebrate!!
Some Final Thoughts
Losing weight, improving your health and gaining confidence are all goals worth working for! So don’t let the scale or the perceived lack of progress get you down. Pay more attention to how you’re feeling. And know that muscle is heavier than fat, so while the scale may be taunting you, you’re very likely changing your body composition and becoming stronger! Be confident in your ability to reach your goals and take pride in the fact that you are taking control of your life and wellness! And as we like to say at Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas…You’ve Got This. We’ve Got You!