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Use Measurements Besides the Scale

What's So Motivating About Numbers Anyway?
  -- By Mike Kramer, SparkPeople Contributor

Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn’t exist. Everything is weightless, including your aunt Sophie, yet it all manages to stay on the ground. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health? After all, you wouldn’t be able to say "I need to lose 10 pounds" or "I weigh 150 pounds, so I must be overweight."

What would be your benchmark? You might still not like how you look. You might be tired of being tired all the time. You might need to trim down and take care of that blood pressure problem. You might want to avoid diabetes.

In a gravity-free world, those are all still good reasons to create healthy diet and fitness habits. Who knows, you might decide "Hey, I feel all right, I look all right, and I’m healthy. If I can just maintain the habits I have, I should be okay."

The point is, you can decide for yourself what shape you’re in. You don’t need the scale to tell you. Unfortunately, many times we get down on ourselves simply because something as trivial as gravity tells us we’re out of shape. Some people feel and look fantastic in every respect, but if the number on the scale doesn’t match expectations, they’re miserable. This doesn’t make sense. Gravity should not be able to wield that kind of power.

In this gravity-rich reality we live in, we have a fascination with the scale. While it’s good for giving you a general idea of your health, this can be the most discouraging and frustrating part of a diet. Your weight can fluctuate all the time and reasons why are never completely known. Time of day, temperature, the day’s activities, water level – all can skew the numbers one way or the other. In reality, you could be getting discouraged over something that’s not really accurate.

To stay motivated, try finding other ways to measure your progress instead of stepping on the scale. Try some benchmarks that actually matter. Some may be tougher to measure than others, some are more subjective. But we think you’ll find that these measurements can still be a lot more meaningful and motivating.<pagebreak>

Take some of these regular measurements to stay motivated, even if the scale isn’t moving:

Body Measures – dress size, waist, hips, neck, arms, fitting into favorite clothes
Performance – more endurance during exercise, doing them at a higher level, jumping higher, walking longer, running faster, playing a sport better
General Feeling – rate energy level, rate attitude and outlook, track how often you feel very sleepy during the day, rate your confidence level
Health – blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level
Intangibles – how you look, compliments you receive, how others respond to you