We start bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world and full of optimism that this time it will be different. This time we’ll follow our program with discipline, resist temptation, and the weight will steadily fall off.
And then reality rears its unwelcome head.
Despite best intentions, best behaviours, and doing everything right, sometimes the scales don’t want to cooperate.
The problem doesn’t lie with the program, the body or the behaviours. The real problem is with expectations.
Weight, at any given point in time, is influenced by many factors. Fatigue, mood, activity, bowel contents, hormonal fluctuations, day of the week, stress, gut bacteria, sleep quality, specific food and drink choices, inflammation, illness… the list of influences is long. Once this fact is accepted, expecting them all to align every time we step on the scales is absurd.
If you were to graph results, a lovely straight line going every downwards would be ideal. What’s real – and completely normal – is more like a mountain range. Peaks and troughs, ups and downs, highs and lows, all which contribute to a generally downward trend.
Some people like to weigh themselves daily. This is A-OK, as long as the daily fluctuations don’t lead to frustration or anger or, even worse, giving up. Daily weighing is suitable only for those who accept that the weight loss journey will be bumpy.
For the rest of us, weekly or monthly weighing might be better, or even not weighing at all. There are plenty of other measures by which to assess progress.
- Is your waist measurement decreasing?
- Are your clothes becoming looser?
- Has your sleep improved?
- Have health risk factors diminished?
- Have medical conditions improved? Have medications decreased?
- Is your skin clearer?
- Are your nails stronger?
- Are you able to exercise for longer?
- Have you noticed an improvement in how you deal with stressful situations or events?
- Do you look on the bright side of life more often?
Losing weight is often a side effect of better health. Looking for all the improvements, not just what the scales say, sees many people ‘accidentally’ lose weight. Focus on health, not a number, and the process becomes less frustrating and more rewarding.
The benefit? The program becomes much easier to stick to, and the new behaviours are more likely to become lifelong habits. Good health and weight control is within reach.