BY LINDA STEPHENS, RD
You’ve recently ventured on a new weight loss plan. But even with all the things you’re doing right—sacrificing favorite foodsOpens a New Window. and exercising daily—the darn scale is just NOT moving in the direction you want.
Short of throwing the scale out the window or hiding in the corner with a bag of chips to feel better, let’s focus on the things that ARE going in the proper direction which are signs that your efforts ARE working.
Here are 10 signs that you’re getting healthier—even if the number reflecting backat you isn’t what you want to see. Don’t throw in the towel just yet.
Linda Stephens, M.S., is an N.A.S.M.-certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and IFBB Pro Athlete. Read more of her work at her website.
Sometimes our bodies take shape, tone up, or drop body fat before the number on the scale does. Using your clothes as a gauge for weight loss or better muscle tone is just as, if not more, important than the scale. When your waistband has more room, that’s a definite step in the right direction.
Have you noticed you have more energy to do things you may not have had before? Do you find that trying new physical. activities like rock climbing, kayaking, or cycling may be part of your new exercise routine?
There’s no doubt that as you tone up and take charge of your life, you’ll want to experience things you didn’t want to before. Life takes on a whole new meaning when you feel fit and strong. Take advantage of that spring in your step.
People are noticing and commenting on how healthy you look—that’s because your body is getting stronger and it’s reflecting on your outer appearance. Exercise.keeps you feeling younger and happier. It truly is the fountain of youth.
One definite sign that you’re on the path to being healthier is that you do everything in your power to not miss your scheduled workouts, because missing a workout leaves you feeling disappointed. You schedule meetings, appointments, or events around your workouts to avoid missing them. You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth—so why would you ever skip your workouts?
Bingeing on processed foods doesn’t interest you anymore—you want to consume foods that do your body good, especially because you know how much work it takes to burn them off. That’s not to say you don’t enjoy some favorite cheats here and there, but the majority of foods you choose have more nutritional value. You now recognize that processed foods slow you down and make you feel bloated or heavy.
When your doctor comments on how your blood work has come into the normal range for cholesterol, triglycerides, and various enzymes that represent good health, that’s a sure sign you’re getting healthier. Your doc may even comment on lower blood pressure and resting heart rate numbers. All of these vital signs are markers of what direction your health is going in.
Exercise will definitely have you turning in earlier than usual. One reason is because you’re tired at the end of a long day. Aiming for seven to nine hours of Z’s a night is important to be ready to tackle another day of work and exercise. You won’t want to stay out late and eat poorly and drink alcohol. Now you aim for a solid night’s rest so you can kill your workout the next day. It’s a much more rewarding feeling than having to drag yourself to work because you burned the candle at both ends the night before.
When you eat quality nutrients every three hours, your metabolism stays at a nice, consistent energy level. Your blood sugar never drops and your energy stays in check. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy an afternoon cup of Joe, but it won’t be crucial as it was before.
Notice that you’re getting stronger? This is definitely a sign that you’re getting fitter and stronger. Increasing the weight on your lifts will surely help add shape to your physique while replacing fat with lean muscle. You may even see your weight go up a little as you add more muscle, simply because muscle weighs more than fat.
When you feel strong of body, your mind will follow. A strong mind can accomplish anything. There’s no greater feeling of empowerment and confidence. You’ll not only want to do things that affect you in a positive manner, but also want to help others achieve them as well. You will feel so secure in yourself that feelings of jealousy or envy won’t enter your mind. The greater good will always be first and foremost.
Regardless of what the scale reflects back at you, keep moving forward and never quit. The benefits are endless. Don’t get caught up in numbers. Eat right and exercise. Watch your body take shape—and watch people notice.