It’s NOT All About The Numbers

It’s no big surprise that the vast majority of the population is preoccupied with either losing or maintaining weight.  One of the most-used tools for measuring weight is the dreaded scale. . . Yes, it IS an important number, but it is most certainly not the most important number!  Watching that number go up or down can do more damage to your motivation than you think.  

The first thing to consider is body composition.  Even uber fit, muscle-bound athletes with very low body fat will have BMI (Body Mass Index) numbers in the “obese” range.  This scale does not take body composition into consideration!  Anyone who carries a good deal of muscle can weigh the same as someone who carries a good deal of body fat, and have the same BMI.  You can see how this number is not really helpful!  Body composition is made up of:

  • Body Water
  • Bone mass
  • Muscle mass – skeletal muscle AND lean muscle mass
  • Body fat 
    • Body fat percentage
    • Subcutaneous fat (under the skin)
    • Visceral fat (around the internal organs)

Clearly the goal in any journey to a healthier lifestyle is to lower body fat and increase lean muscle mass.  Staying hydrated and getting in enough water is also key to maintaining a healthy body composition.  Depending on the type of scale you use, you may only have access to one overall number for body weight.  Do NOT let that number define you or cause you undue stress.  You also do not want to let this number guide your view of success.

Your overall body weight number on the scale is only a small part of your whole story.  Yes, the most common presumption is  to see that number drop daily.  However, if your training program incorporates any resistance training (which it should), you are building muscle.  While that number on the scale may not change much, your body composition very likely is changing!  Taking this into consideration, let’s look at what I LOVE to call NSV – Non Scale Victories.  These can be big or small improvements you notice in your body, health, and/or fitness level!  Here are a few examples:

1. Your clothes are fitting more loosely.  Maybe you’re even wearing pants or an outfit that you haven’t been able to wear in a while!

2. You have more energy for your workouts AND for your day to day activities

3. You find that you are sleeping better, maybe getting more restful sleep and/or waking feeling more rested and energized.

4. You’re seeing personal bests in your workouts!  You are faster, stronger, and have more endurance.  What once seemed nearly impossible is now easy.

5. You notice that your balance, flexibility, and mobility are improving.  These can lead to an increased ability for you to enjoy activities or hobbies you weren’t able to for a while!

6. Your focus and memory are sharper.  Maybe you even notice that your attention span has improved.  Cutting out sugars, processed foods, and increased activity all lead to improved brain function!

7. Your skin looks more healthy.

8. Keep track of ALL of your measurements!  You may find that you’ve lost inches!

9. You find that you’re managing anxiety and/or stress better.

10. You find that chronic pain is lessened!   More activity and lower body weight eases strain on your joints, and can certainly help keep arthritis inflammation at bay.

11. You realize that your mood has improved; you feel happier more often.

12. Additional and/or improved community – your new workout buddies are THE best!  You look forward to seeing them and to working out with them.  You find that you have incredible encouragement and support within this community.

13. Health and medical numbers are improving!  Maybe your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, as well as blood sugar levels are better.

14. Your financial accounts are a little healthier if you’re eating at home and not in fast food drive-throughs regularly.  You are also less likely to need over-the-counter medications or doctor visits due to improved health!

15. You feel more confident in taking on any new challenge.  You’re definitely more comfortable in planning healthy meals and in tackling new workouts.

Look back over these non scale victories again – how many have you already experienced?  I recommend starting a journal, if you haven’t already.  This can be hand-written or digital – it’s up to your personal preference.  Go back to your Ground Zero – your first few days.   Include photos of yourself, weight, and any measurements you had taken.  Date that first entry, include the things listed above, as well as your reason(s) why you began a journey to become healthier and more fit.  List any goals – short and long term.  Every two or three weeks, start a new entry that includes updated weight, body measurements, and make note of ANY of the above non-scale victories you’ve realized since the first few days.  List anything, any improvement, you want to celebrate that’s above and beyond the number on your scale.

Yes, I DID say celebrate.  I meant that – celebrate your successes!  That doesn’t necessarily mean you eat a piece of cake or 23 cookies.  Maybe you earned a new pair of leggings or a new workout shirt!  Maybe you earned a new gym bag, hat, ponytail scrunchies, shoes – some reward that feeds back into your new lifestyle!

If all of this sounds promising to you, but you’re unsure how to get started, I would love to discuss it with you.  Having an experienced, knowledgeable trainer in your corner can surely be a wise investment.  Feel free to contact me on my site through the Contact Me link, or email me at FitTeacherMom@aol.com!

3 thoughts on “It’s NOT All About The Numbers

  1. Ann

    I love everything about this post!!! NSVs keep me motivated & focused. While I would love for the number on the scale to drop (A LOT!), when it wouldn’t, I would get frustrated & give up. These NSVs, along with the friendships, keep me going!!! ❤

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