It’s not all about the scales

It’s just a number!

Weight loss is a numbers game, but the scales don’t always reflect the effort you think you are putting in. So, if you step on the scales and it doesn’t say what you think it should, apply a little perspective, take the knock and get back up again.

There could be a hundred reasons why the scales don’t say what you want them to, but you have to be honest when answering the question, ‘Have I really been on track this week?’

Also, whilst the calories game is scientific, it isn’t an exact science and some people see results at different times. Depending on what’s going on in your body with your hormones, whether you are feeling a bit off colour etc, you may not see your weight loss until 2 weeks after the ‘really good week’, or you could be one of those people that just loses a quarter of a pound each week for three weeks, then has a good 3 or 4 pound loss on the fourth week. We have to look at whether we are achieving our goals, across the month – if across the whole month you are succeeding, then a one week blip is ok!

Success in lifestyle change isn’t just seen on the scales. Success takes many forms, both in the visible and invisible. Rick Wilson


Before we pick ourselves up, draw a line under it and move on, it’s important to review your week, to make sure you are doing everything right so that you don’t carry on blindly and miss the opportunities to succeed.

Ask yourself these questions…

  • Do you know your daily calorie allowance to lose 1-2lbs per week?
    • When did you last check it?
    • How does that breakdown into different meals and snacks?
    • Are you checking the food that you are eating fits into your calories, or are you just guessing?
  • Have you tracked your food and drink consumption this week? Were you honest?
  • Have you created a meal planner – and have you been following it?
    • Do your planned meals match your calorie allowances?
    • Have you been skipping any meals – or have you been eating extra ones?
    • Have you been keeping an eye on your portion sizes?
  • Have your meals been balanced, following the eatwell plate?
    • What even is the Eatwell plate?
    • Are you including protein in all your meals? Protein is your weight loss friend – it makes you feel fuller for longer, slows down your digestion, burns calories digesting it, fuels fat burning and repairs and grows your muscles, and the more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently you burn calories.
  • Have you been bored this week?
  • Have you been mindlessly snacking more?
  • Have you been drinking more alcohol?
  • Have you been eating food which makes you feel guilty?
  • Have you been enjoying the meals you have been preparing? Or are you eating boring ‘diet food’ that leaves you unsatisfied and hungry, and makes you want to binge on chocolate and crisps every few days.
  • Have you been drinking enough water?
  • Do you have a weekly exercise plan – and have you been following it?
    • What is on your weekly exercise plan, is it enough?
    • How many calories do you expect each exercise activity to burn?
  • Do you reward yourself with food after exercise? Remember your calorie allowance takes into account your activity levels, so don’t kid yourself and treat yourself with food after exercise. You can’t outrun a bad diet.

It’s so important to be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable for the choices that you make. We all fall off the wagon from time to time, and we all let bad habits slip back in, but the key is to stop, take stock, assess where you are at and where you want to be and move forward, with a better plan. If you don’t do that, you will be right back where you started before you know it.

Non-scale victories (NSV’s)

Changing your lifestyle isn’t just about losing weight on the scales. There are so many other benefits that you won’t necessarily be able to see. This might be because they are internal, or because you just haven’t looked for them.

In times when the scales might not reflect your effort, it’s vital to focus on the non-scale victories that you might not even realise you are experiencing.

The scales measure one thing, and one thing only. Your body’s mass and downward force on the Earth.

What they don’t show you is your change in outlook, your increased positivity, and your new can-do attitude.  They can’t tell you that you have lost inches, because of the new exercise regime that you are following. They can’t tell you that your skin looks clearer and your eyes are brighter.

We have created below a list of potential non-scale victories.  So, next time you lose (just!) a quarter of a pound, or maybe have a little gain, check back at this list and see what non-scale victories you are experiencing.  Because this is what lifestyle change is…

  1. How better you feel for eating, moving and living differently
  2. Your commitment
  3. Your increased energy levels
  4. Your new-found confidence
  5. How much looser your clothes feel – maybe even fitting in a size smaller when you go shopping
  6. How you now look forward to trying clothes on when shopping, rather than dreading going in the changing rooms
  7. Your dedication
  8. Your clearer complexion when you look in the mirror
  9. Your ‘can do’ attitude
  10. How bright your eyes are shining
  11. How you’re less breathless when doing activities, feeling fitter and stronger by the day
  12. Your determination
  13. How you’ve become a role model for others – within the Be Strong community, your family, your friends, your work colleagues
  14. How happy you feel
  15. How content you are
  16. Your sense of achievement
  17. How parts of your body are changing both visibly and physically
  18. Your new found love of healthy, nutritious foods – opening up the doors to a whole new eating and cooking experience for you
  19. Your ability to be more active – whether that’s for exercise, or getting the chores done
  20. Less bloated, indigestion and improved digestion
  21. Your doctor reports improvements in your health – blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes risk
  22. How much more positive you’ve become
  23. How your sleep pattern has improved and how much more refreshed you feel in a morning
  24. Changes in people’s attitudes towards you – you are now that person who achieves things
  25. Maybe even noticing the admiring glance from somebody!

Next time, its not going your way on the scales, don’t dwell on it – you have two options in this process.

You can dwell on it, feel sorry for yourself and go away and eat the fridge and never achieve your goals, or you can get back up quick, reassess, learn from your mistakes and get back on with achieving what you have set out to – only you can decide!

Losing weight is hard, but so is living a life where you don’t feel able to achieve your dreams. If you want something, you have to work hard to get it! Rachel Wilcock

This week!

Make a mental list of the non-scale victories that you have already achieved. Keep them in mind for when it’s not going right on the scales. Share your non-scale victories with others, inspire them to remember it’s not always about the number between your two big toes!

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