The image of a scale has become synonymous with trying to get healthier. I would dare say that the first thing most people do when they decide to work on healthier living is record a starting weight. We love to obsess over weight in America, but is counting your pounds the best way to measure your progress?
Most of the people I’ve known in the health industry go as far as to suggest that tracking your progress by how much weight you’ve lost is actually counterproductive, especially if you’re weighing yourself on a daily basis. Between fat, muscle, and water, your weight on a given day can be misleading, and most people aren’t sure what their healthy weight should be anyways. This obsession over our weight has contributed to our national eating disorder dilemma. Our first instinct when we notice someone has lost weight is to draw attention to it and congratulate them. Of course, if that person struggles with depression (or any number of other health issues), the weight loss could be a sign that things aren’t, in fact, going well.
I’m not suggesting we toss out weight as a measuring stick altogether, but we should move it a lot closer to the bottom of our list.
If we’re not constantly checking in on our scale, what should we use to measure our progress along the path to healthier living? Really, it depends on the individual. You most likely know what areas you need to work on, and if you don’t, talk to your doctor.
Here are some things to consider. You could measure your progress by your blood pressure, your resting heart rate, how long you can run, how many push-ups or pull-ups you can do, your percentage of body fat, or BMI. And there are many more.
As I’ve said before, one of my personal measuring sticks is pull-ups. Since I started this trek to healthier living, I’ve been stuck at six pull-ups a set. This has been incredibly frustrating for someone who used to do sets of 30, weighted pull-ups, and frenchies. Finally, after working on it day after day, I broke past six today, and my max went up to nine pull-ups in one set. This change felt far more rewarding than any time I’ve measured my progress by pounds lost.
Whatever your measuring stick, finding healthier food that you can really enjoy and look forward to is a crucial step in the process. One of the factors that gives me more confidence in this attempt at healthier living than any of my past failed attempts, is my discovery of Twisted Noodle Café. (There’s a reason I sought them out as a sponsor for this column). Day in and day out, Twisted Noodle Café gives me something healthy to look forward to. Even when I hear the siren call of a KFC Double Down, the thought of discovering Twisted Noodle’s daily specials is enough to keep me headed down St. George Boulevard.
Today’s special was truly something special. I’d never tasted jackfruit before today, and I’m a little bummed out that it has taken me 35 years to be introduced to this delicious yellow treat. After trying a sample on a toothpick, I was sold. Minutes later, I was diving into a fresh strawberry and jackfruit salad that also included spinach, candied pecans, coconut, grilled chicken, and a strawberry vinaigrette dressing. This salad was unbelievable, and I hate coconut!
As we redefine what we consider healthy food (it’s not all bland weed looking stuff), let’s also redefine what we consider progress toward healthier living and how we measure that progress.
What are you thinking of using as your measuring sticks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.