Imagine No Gravity. That’s how a recent SparkPeople.com article begins. Use Measurements Besides the Scale: What’s So Motivating About Numbers Anyway?
Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn’t exist. Everything is weightless, including your aunt Sophie, yet it all manages to stay on the ground. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health? After all, you wouldn’t be able to say “I need to lose 10 pounds” or “I weigh 150 pounds, so I must be overweight.”
What would be your benchmark? You might still not like how you look. You might be tired of being tired all the time. You might need to trim down and take care of that blood pressure problem. You might want to avoid diabetes.
It’s a good article about a topic that interests me. I have such odd roller coaster movements on my weekly weigh-ins that I am working to convince myself that I can forgo the numbers and concentrate on feeling better and looking better.
The point is, you can decide for yourself what shape you’re in. You don’t need the scale to tell you. Unfortunately, many times we get down on ourselves simply because something as trivial as gravity tells us we’re out of shape. Some people feel and look fantastic in every respect, but if the number on the scale doesn’t match expectations, they’re miserable. This doesn’t make sense. Gravity should not be able to wield that kind of power.
The article offers five alternative measurements by which I might gauge my success:
- Body Measures – dress size, waist, hips, neck, arms, fitting into favorite clothes
- Performance – more endurance during exercise, doing them at a higher level, jumping higher, walking longer, running faster, playing a sport better
- General Feeling – rate energy level, rate attitude and outlook, track how often you feel very sleepy during the day, rate your confidence level
- Health – blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level
- Intangibles – how you look, compliments you receive, how others respond to you
I’ve tried #1 and find it unworkable. I cannot consistently measure the body parts involved and so don’t trust the numbers to measure anything other than my poor efforts at finding the exact same spot and using the exact same amount of tension as last week.
I use #2. I time my workouts and compare how I do to how I did before or how I want to do. Lately I’ve been switching away from speed and focusing on form. It’s tougher to gauge but I feel like this is an improvement over, once again, arbitrary numbers.
I don’t count #3 as a place to put my hopes. I’ve felt pretty good for the past few years (with minor exceptions) so working out and dieting to feel better hasn’t been necessary. I mean, I DO feel better after a good workout or run, and when I eat well, but that’s not my motivation as I haven’t been feeling bad to begin with.
I suppose I should track down some numbers for #4. I give blood every 8 weeks or so and that allows me to follow my cholesterol levels (they’re fine) but, other than that small nod to such things, I haven’t done any testing to supply a benchmark, much less enough data to show a trendline.
Finally, for #5, I do mark this. I take pictures occasionally and post them here and on Facebook. I also appreciate the kind words I’ve received about how I look (other than the compulsory “You’re looking great!” said by anyone who hasn’t seen a person in more than two months ;-)).
Exercise Tomorrow. I need to do my 200 squats test tomorrow. Should I do it before or after the rest of my workout?
Plan for Week 42. After last week’s epic extra Free Day at the Fair on Tuesday, and Free Days all this weekend including today because of traveling and staying with non-SCD relatives, and not running at all this week, I need to be really strict this week and follow a solid eating and exercising plan.
Red = a negative deviation | Green = a positive deviation | Blue = a note