Successful Weight Management: Beyond a Number

You see it everywhere, standing in line at the grocery store or while watching television: flashy weight loss programs that promise immediate results and dramatic drops on your bathroom scale. The truth is weight loss does not work that way! In fact, managing your weight is more like a rollercoaster ride rather than a steady decline. It can be discouraging when you dictate your weight loss journey by numbers on a scale…but you aren’t alone!

To measure your weight management success, you need to look beyond the scale and determine your own personal goals. To help you get started on your goals, check out this list of ideas:

1. Kick the scale and try using body measurements.
Measuring your weight on a scale can sometimes be deceiving. There are many things that influence a ‘number’: muscle mass, hydration, stools.  Weight can fluctuate several pounds in one day … it will never be a static number. This is normal! Often people will find that they are seeing dramatic changes with their body, but are not seeing the same results on the scale. To overcome this weight vs. scale battle, try taking measurements of your waist, hips, upper arms and legs, or by taking progress pictures. Don’t let the scale define you!

2. Learn to love being active and eat healthy foods.
Change can be hard; however, once routine it can feel like second nature! Learning to love being active can be measured through clocking in more time at the gym to increasing your distance and pace while running  (no scale needed). Similarly, choosing healthful foods may also indicate a successful measurement of kicking less healthy food habits.

3. Clothing size!
Dropping down a pant or dress size? Feeling more comfortable in your clothing? These can also be helpful measurements in defining your progress. Although clothing size can be a way to track your progress, make sure you don’t fall into the same trap of letting it define you like the scale.

4. Seeing changes in weight-related health conditions.
Health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or sleep apnea can sometimes feel like an extreme balancing act when you are in the midst of losing weight. However, with positive changes in your weight, you may also see changes to your health conditions. Taking fewer medications or managing fewer health conditions are amazing feats in your journey.

5. Feeling more energized and having greater mobility!
Being weighed down by extra pounds can be tiresome. By losing weight, you may feel more energized and have greater mobility in your day-to-day activities, allowing you to enjoy life more!

Bottom Line: The scale is only a small measurement of your success in weight management. Don’t let it define you! If you do start to weigh yourself more than once weekly, talk with your physician or counsellor.

Blog post contributed by Alyssa Ramuscak, Nutrition & Dietetics Student, University of Western Ontario