We know that when people make healthy changes, they often measure success by measuring weight loss. The problem with tracking our weight is that it’s not the best marker of health. Weight fluctuates, day to day, week to week – with hormones, time of day, hydration and more. When weight loss slows or plateaus, does that mean our healthy choices aren’t paying off? Absolutely not! For all these reasons, we like to think of weight loss as a possible ‘side effect’ of healthy lifestyle changes, but not the main motivator! But, when we focus less on weight, how else can we measure success?
Improving your health markers
Reducing our risk of lifestyle diseases is, rightly so, a major healthy lifestyle motivator for most people. Some of our risk factors for developing lifestyle diseases, such as the amount of fat (lipid) and sugar in our blood, and our blood pressure, can be hugely impacted by any healthy changes we make. Thankfully, these markers can also be measured in a simple blood test. Talk to your doctor about checking your blood lipids, blood pressure, Hba1c (marker of your blood sugars over the last 3 months).
If any are higher than expected, setting some goals to normalise or improve these over time is a great objective way to measure your health improvements and progress over time!
Strength and fitness goals
For many of us, when we focus on our health, we try to increase the frequency we exercise too. With consistency, our fitness and strength will inevitably improve, but sometimes improvements can be subtle, and unless we set goals and monitor our progress overtime, we might not give ourselves the credit we deserve!
Write down measurable goals, perhaps the time it takes to walk or run around the block, the number of press ups you can do or the amount of weight you can squat or carry – and prioritise tracking these over time! Don’t forget, whether your goal is exercise once a week or once a day, if it’s an improvement on your previous self you’re heading in the right direction.
Energy and mood
Most people experience a huge improvement in energy and general mood when they prioritise their health – 3pm slump be gone! But, unlike the result of a blood test or time on a stopwatch, we usually can’t directly measure our energy and mood. With something so subjective, it can be hard to spot changes over time. To measure success here, make sure to jot down your energy and mood levels each day. Even something as simple as rating each out of 10 daily, can be a great way to see how far you’ve come. Of course, not every day will be marked with boundless energy, but if the general trend is an improvement – we say that’s a success!
Don’t forget that as with any measurement of change, progress is almost never linear. There will be ups and downs, and that’s okay! Focusing on your journey of sustainable day-to-day wellness, as opposed to solely a number on a scale, is a great way to stay motivated.
Let us know any creative ways you measure progress, we’d love to hear from you!
If you haven’t already joined our Fresh Start 6 Week Restart programme, you can join up here and get back on track for 2022! It’s free to sign up and you’ll get rewards along the way!
Dietitian, My Food Bag
As My Food Bag’s nutrition guru, Catherine makes sure all our recipes and products follow Nadia’s ‘Nude Food’ philosophy. She works closely with departments across the whole business including the Development Kitchen, Innovation and Marketing! “I have always loved people, food and science in equal parts, so I decided to base my career off nutrition science and become a Registered Dietitian. I like helping people to understand what I like to call ‘down-to-earth’ nutrition – no fads, detoxes, or buzz words here!” Her My Food Bag journey started a few years ago, when she was part of our Customer Love team during her studies. Before returning to My Food Bag, Catherine worked as a clinical Dietitian at a hospital.
When it comes to food, this foodie’s favourites couldn’t be more different! On the one hand, she can’t go without a good bread (especially a sandwich loaded with veggies!), and on the other hand she sneaks spinach into anything and everything that she can. When she’s not working, you’ll find her getting outdoors, escaping the city for a big walk and a picnic lunch, or enjoying the sunshine with live music and friends.