Ten years ago I bought a pair of jeans for a trip. Around that time I decided to leave my corporate job to hone in on a new career in health and fitness. Like many new careers, you’ve got to start somewhere. That “somewhere” for me was the bottom – and let me tell you, I wasn’t exactly raking in the dough. Thus, the jeans were cheap, but fit me really well. After trying them on for the first time, I remember thinking I wouldn’t have much wiggle room if I gained a few pounds.
Seasons came and went, and for the first couple years those cheap, well-fitted jeans came out of their drawer when the weather got cool. They still fit. A couple years later I was married with a newborn. Several months after having my first daughter, I tried the jeans on again. They still fit. Several months after having my second daughter, I tried the jeans on again. Hmmmm…they weren’t fitting so pretty anymore. No problem, I just needed to calibrate a few of the habits I formed, possibly not allowing me to get to where I wanted to be. You see, I’d fallen in love with almond nut butter during my pregnancy. The love didn’t fade after I had my second daughter. I curbed my almond nut butter intake, cut out refined sugar and maintained my workout routine. The jeans went back on no problem.
The point is not to make anyone obsess about their weight or their body, rather to illustrate that there are ways to maintain a healthy accountability for your body without becoming a slave to scales and calories. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea to have a ballpark idea of what you weigh and how much you eat, but it shouldn’t control your life and how you feel about yourself.
Provided you’re a healthy eater and getting a reasonable amount of activity, these simple tools might just do the trick to keep your body in check without obsessing about pounds, calories and grams.
This is my tool of choice. It’s easy. I don’t have to measure, write anything down. As long as I know I’m eating healthy and exercising, I’m doing pretty good. The same pair of jeans work for me, but fitted tops, or even a fitted dress would work as well.
Taking measurements from a few key points on your body could be useful, too. If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, taking measurements every week or two might help you stay on track to reach your goal. If you just want to maintain your weight, taking measurements every month (at the most) should suffice. Measure the same areas of your body. Typical places to measure include the hips, waist, chest, thigh and arm (around the bicep).
Writing down what you eat and drink (including water) can give you a good snapshot of how healthy or unhealthy you’re eating. If you journal your food, try to keep track of exercise along with cravings, sleep, etc. Journal for a week or two every couple of months, the review.
I’m not a big fan of scales and rarely step on them. Using a scale any more than once a week (which is still a lot!) has the potential to wreak unneeded mental havoc. Weight, for women in particular, fluctuates almost daily. Hormones, water retention, weather, and just about anything we eat with a fraction too much sodium can temporarily inflate weight. Two people of the same height could look exactly the same, wear the same size, but be double digits apart in weight. Muscle, bone frame and a myriad of other factors play into this. Why let a number rule (possibly ruin?) your day?
That said, if a scale is your calibration tool, use it wisely. Try to weigh yourself at the same time of day, and no more than once a month.