I’ve been trying to lose weight again for 2 months now. And in that time I’ve lost a few inches around my waist, arms, and legs. I’ve also discovered that my legs are two different sizes and that early morning runs are just not my thing! In the last 2 months, I’ve seen a drastic change in my body and the first question that comes to mind is… Am I doing this right?
The last time I tried to lose weight, I also saw results quickly. I dropped 2-3 pounds every week and I thought my body was adapting well to my new lifestyle. As we all know, unfortunately that’s not exactly how that worked out. But from having that history with quick results, it stands to reason that my new attempts at weight loss could end up quite the same – which is why it’s so important to take a few minutes to re-evaluate progress every few weeks. But even without a checkered past with healthy weight loss, doing a sort of quality control check on your goals and strategies can not only keep you on the right track, but it can help infuse your efforts with a little more motivation! The most important aspect of re-evaluating your goals is to make sure you keep yourself on the right path to feeling better and not measuring that progress by numbers alone.
Re-evaluating your goals and progress may seem like it should be a rare occasion, but in reality you should be doing it every few weeks. This doesn’t mean you should be revamping your program every week, but it also doesn’t mean you should be doing it once every 6 months. 8 weeks seems to be a really good amount of time to see some results and make a mental note of what’s working for you both physically and mentally, but it’s also not a huge amount of time that’s wasted if a certain program just isn’t doing you any good.
At 8 weeks, you should be able to analyze your path to your goals based on a few key areas:
- Exercise type
- Progress indicators
- Exercise: You may have started a certain exercise program that involves one very specific type of exercise or a few broad ones. But at 8 weeks, you should be able to tell if your program is helping, and make some adjustments if it’s not. It’s okay to keep some things the same while you change up other areas either for added variety – not everything needs to be a massive overhaul! Just make sure that you’re having fun and that your workout plans are working for you.
- Nutrition: You’ll be able to notice changes in your body from nutrition a lot quicker than you will from exercise alone, so this step will be somewhat easier in the context of revamping your goals to suit your needs as you’ll likely be tweaking your nutrition plan as you go. At this point you should be able to tell if you’re eating too little, too much, or just enough. You’ll be able to tell if certain foods agree with you or not, and if you’re getting enough fruits, vegetables, protein, and water into your system. If you have trouble keeping track of the servings you have, it’s a good idea to download a food/water tracking app like MyFitnessPal and Water Drink Reminder!
- Balance: Balance is arguably the most important aspect of re-evaluating your progress. You need to make sure that you’re taking adequate rest days and that you’re still getting your “fun” foods into your diet! Remember that effective and healthy weight loss means a lifestyle change, not a crash diet with tons of restrictions! Make sure you’re still eating the foods you love, even if they’re unhealthy – just make sure you’re eating these foods less often and as a treat, not a daily habit.
- Progress Indicators: Progress indicators are all of the ways you measure yourself, be it by pounds, girth measurements, or progress pictures. This step is highly emotional and you really need to take stock of how your measurement days make you feel. Are you weighing yourself once a week and finding the number ruling your day? Are you taking girth measurements and letting the progress (or lack thereof) take charge of your mood? Take a minute to think about the last time you checked-in on your progress. Did you feel pretty good afterwards on a good day? Did you feel like your day/week was ruined when you didn’t reach the results you were after? Tweaking the way you measure your progress makes the process easier by not making weigh in day a source of anxiety, and instead making it just another day!
Taking all of these points into consideration, it really starts to bring the big picture into focus. Each little step contributes to your overall health in such drastic ways, that changing up just one of the mentioned portions of your routine can leave you feeling miles better in just days! Taking a look at each of these aspects of your health can help you determine if you’re losing weight in a healthy way, or if you’re falling back into unhealthy patterns that do more harm than good.
After doing a little evaluation of my own path, I made some serious breakthroughs on the things that are holding me back and what’s just not working for me. I changed up my cardio routine to include more balanced activity, and I decided to stop measuring my progress with girth measurements. I’ve shifted my focus from weight loss to balance and overall health.
It took a lot of searching, but when I looked at the last few weeks, I realized that my previous obsession with the scale didn’t go away – I just transferred it to a different type of measurement. I was letting my bi-weekly measurements throw off my whole week and allowing those slow moving numbers to justify restricting myself from the foods I love most.
Those numbers are important because they show how far I’ve come and how determined I am to keep going. But what’s more important than those numbers is that I feel so much better lately! I eat better, I sleep better, and I’m having so much more fun. And if that’s the goal, why bother measuring myself? By removing my measurement days and putting a bigger focus on balance, I’ve gained a million things I thought I could never have again! Cookies, and ice cream, and cheesecake, and cheesy garlic bread, and pizza. I’ve gained so much pizza! 🙂
But really what I’ve gained is happiness knowing that I’ve made really big steps towards the lifestyle that I want, and that I have the means and the strength to continue working towards that goal. The point is, you need to continually redefine your path to success. Your body is going to change drastically while you put the work in – don’t let your outdated goals keep you down!