Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Fitness

For today's post on fitness I thought I would quote my daughter:

It's been said lots of times, but it always could do with some saying again: the scale is not the most accurate measure of weight loss. In fact, it can be downright inaccurate at times. If I hop on one Sunday, and see no change, it could be one or more of several things... it could be that my muscles are retaining water, it could be that I ate something high in sodium the day before, it could be that I'm suffering from that time of month.

I like a scale to check in once a week... it reminds me of what I'm doing, and is encouraging if I see a loss. But I'm making my main form of really tracking my progress my measurements. If I lose inches and not pounds, I know I'm going somewhere. If I lose pounds and not inches, I wonder what's going on. I take my measurements every so often... sometimes on the first of the month, sometimes the first of every other month.

But if I'm exercising, eating healthy, and treating my body the right way, and see no losses in inches or pounds, I'm still determined not to despair and give up. Perhaps I'm not doing everything quite right, and need to figure out what little things I may be slipping up in (BLTs!), but I was that much healthier for a week, I have that much more energy now, and I'm that much closer to getting there. If there's nothing else to show for my hard work, at least I feel so much better, and that's something in itself.

I really think that's the bottom line. I personally step on the scale daily because it helps me gain a habit of accountability for that day. I've tried the once-a-week method but it is too easy for me to lose focus. However, I only record the weight once a week so that I don't end up recording fluctuations that are basically meaningless. Any day to day weight loss or gain is going to be pretty meaningless, because no one can really gain or lose more than a few grams a day unless it is water weight.

My other "daily" habits for healthy eating are:

  • Putting on good clothes in the morning. If you saw me during the day you would not necessarily think "well dressed" because my usual outfit is (nice) jeans and a long sleeved shirt. But this is actually a step up from my comfort outfit of sweats and pajama top ;-). Anyway, I think there is something psychological about taking a few minutes in the morning to try to get where you wouldn't be humiliated to be seen if you had to go to a meeting at short notice.
  • Eating regularly. So hard for me to do. I usually am not hungry at breakfast. But if I eat something in the morning and make sure to eat 3-4 times a day, things go way better.
  • Living actively. My first clue that I'm "slipping" on my healthy habits is that I don't want to exercise.

As my daughter said, if I am doing those things I can feel good about how I am doing even if there is not much of a loss on the scale.

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