So many of us, particularly women, look at getting fit and healthy as an all or nothing scenario. If losing weight is the number one item on your to-do list and where you find yourself obsessing, it’s time to take a different approach. Weight loss is a process not an overnight solution.
We become so obsessed over the numbers on the scale that we forget to celebrate our many successes along the way. There are many ways to look at how healthy we are and those little digits on the scale is just one way – NOT the only way. Before you even begin setting yourself up for failure, let’s look at other ways to track your progress:
- Tape measure. So you have decided you want to do what you need to do to live a healthy lifestyle and that may include losing weight. Start by taking your measurements with a tape measure. Write these measurements down then do not look at them again for 30 days. That’s right – 30 days. Here are a few numbers for you to think about – it takes 14 days minimum for actions to become habits. It takes 4 weeks for YOU to see the changes in your body from eating clean and exercising. Putting those numbers away for 30 days not only lets you create a lifelong habit but also gives your body the time it needs to adjust and respond to the changes you are making.
- Waist circumference. This one little measurement could actually be the BEST way to measure your fitness. Rule of thumb is 35″ or less for women and 40″ or less for men. Large waistlines generally show that you have or will get cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or hypertension. Measure your waist monthly to first try to get under the recommended numbers then to make sure you stay under those numbers.
- Your clothes. One of the best ways to keep track of your progress is by how your clothes fit. This is the main way I keep track of what I’m doing. You may have read my comments before but just in case, let me write them again. Exercise has never been an issue for me and it’s something I enjoy. Eating clean is more challenging and there are days when I struggle to make sure what I am putting in my body is what I should be putting in my body. Some days are better than other days. If I were one that was so obsessed with the scale, this could derail my fitness journey – and yes it is a lifetime journey. That is why I go by how my clothes fit as a check and to keep on track.
- Endurance. This is an amazing way to track your fitness level. Remember when taking a one mile walk took you 25 minutes? Every time you increase your speed and knock one minute off the time it takes you to walk a mile, you have improved your fitness level. Shoot for a 15 minute mile if you’re walking and a 12 minute mile if you’re jogging.
- Strength. This was a huge one for me. I have rescue horses and 3 years ago I could not lift a 50 pound bag of horse feed. One day about a year ago, I went to my truck picked up a bag of feed and put it over my shoulder to take it to the barn to restock the barrel. About half way to the barn, I caught myself with what I had just accomplished and was astounded at how far I had come from not being able to lift 50 pounds to easily lifting it AND walking with it.
Hopefully you will look outside of the scale to see how far you have come on your fitness journey. Take the time to celebrate every step forward and be proud of yourself. No one took those steps for you – you did it yourself. Go you!
To your health,
Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area. She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses. She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com