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Beyond the Scales: Rethinking progress in your wellness journey

Embarking on a weight loss journey is a decision many women make, for several important, individual reasons. When a potential client comes to me with this goal it often includes a number "I want to lose x number of kilos or I want to drop down to x number of kilos".

Having a clear goal is great, in fact in coaching we learn goals should be SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.... but HOW we measure is just as important and it turns out fixating solely on the number on the scales might not be the best approach for you.

In this article, I wanted to explore why weight is not always a reliable or sustainable method to measure progress and how focusing on holistic well-being can lead to more positive and lasting results.

1. The Fluctuating Scale Drama

Various factors like water retention, hormonal shifts, and daily fluctuations can influence your body weight. You might be stepped on the scales in the morning and evening only to witness a seemingly perplexing variance. This is completely normal and often has little to do with your actual fat loss or gain.

2. The Hormonal Rollercoaster

Let's talk hormones! Menstrual cycles, menopause, stress, and other hormonal factors can lead to temporary changes in weight. This doesn't mean you're not making progress. It merely highlights the need to look beyond the scale and consider how your body feels and functions.

3. Technology's Inconsistencies

Blame it on the scales? Well, sometimes you can. No technology is infallible and neither are scales. Inaccuracies can arise due to the scale's calibration, the surface on which it's placed, or even its age. Relying solely on this technology can lead to unnecessary frustration and discourage you from recognising your genuine achievements.

4. The Mental Toll of Daily Weigh-Ins

This one is serious and is the reason I ask my clients if they MUST weigh, to try and stick to once per month. Why? Because constantly checking the scale can become an obsessive habit, leading to a mental strain that affects motivation and self-esteem. Weight loss is a journey with ups and downs, and tying your success solely to daily weigh-ins might overshadow the positive changes happening in your body and mind.

5. A Holistic Approach to Wellness

Shift your focus from the scale to a more comprehensive view of your wellness journey. Consider increased energy levels, improved sleep, enhanced mood, and overall well-being. Celebrate the non-scale victories that contribute to your long-term health.

Here are some better ways (in my experience) to measure weight loss progress:

Journalling: As mentioned in point 5 above, you will likely notice more benefits to your new programme or healthy eating routine if you stop and reflect and notice, journalling can be helpful here and you can write yourself encouraging positive messages too

Progress photos: In my Health and Fitness App there is the option to take progress photos. A lot of my clients find this confronting and a little scary but it can be a great motivator and body shape can change quite rapidly we just forget how it all started!

Clothing Fit: Notice how your clothes fit differently. Sometimes, your body is reshaping itself even when the scale seems stuck

Strength and Endurance: I love this one, to me is all about being strong and functional over stressing about body image. Have fun getting strong, be playful and you'll find you lose weight naturally

The journey to a healthier you is multifaceted, and a number on the scales doesn't capture the full story. Embrace a holistic perspective that values overall well-being and long-term sustainability. Progress is personal, varied, and beautiful. Your body is a wonder of science, it is your forever home, a constantly evolving beautiful masterpiece – let its journey be defined by more than just a number.

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