3 Ways to Measure Healthy Changes without the Scale

Published on March 07, 2012 by Guest Contributor

This is a guest post by Corrine Dobbas, a Nutrition Counselor and Registered Dietitian

Ninety percent of what I do, in the realm of counseling, is to help clients lose weight. I get them on a healthy eating plan and off they go excited to fit back into their skinny-minny jeans or fasten their belt a few notches less. Each client is different and each has their own plan, but one thing that is not different is that each wants to lose all the weight—now. And in today’s world of detoxes, diet pills, instant gratification, and sexified thin (perhaps “ripped”) models, it’s understandable.

Yet, the reality is that sustainable, long-term, healthy weight loss has you losing about one-half to two pounds per week—and two pounds per week is very difficult to do. If you lost two pound in two weeks, that would be great. For some though, that is not very exciting news, given their efforts. This is why I often stress other measurements of health beyond the scale because, my friends, the scale is just a number.

How to Measure Healthy Changes without the Scale

1. Focus on your actions: Recognize which areas in your healthy eating plan or exercise routine could use improvement; choose one or two to work on, then put together a plan of action. For example, do you eat lunch out most days of the week? If so, aim to bring lunch the majority of the week. Most importantly, decide what you’ll need to do to make that happen. Maybe you need to make it in the morning when you make your kids’ lunch or the night before when you have some down time. It’s your daily actions that add up. If you focus on one and continually make changes for the better, you’re creating an overall healthier you.

2. Honor your accomplishments: Often, we become so scale-oriented that we forget to look at the other markers of improvement. Perhaps you started a new fitness regiment and can now lift heavier weights, run farther, or keep up with those who before were “out of your league.” Maybe you started reading nutrition labels more, limiting unhealthy fats and sodium, and eating more belly-filling, artery-declogging fibrous foods, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, and beans, causing healthy cholesterol changes. Or, since eating more produce at each meal, your energy has improved, and you don’t feel as sluggish. Simply put, the scale doesn’t tell everything. Be sure to listen to how your body feels.

3. Find inspiration: Dig deep and think about all the reasons living a healthy lifestyle is important to you. It is your motivation that will keep you making healthy choices throughout the day. And once you continue making healthy choice after healthy choice after healthy choice, I guarantee you that you will see results in some form or fashion. But these choices won’t occur unless you’re motivated. In my experience, clients have found it most helpful to find or create a mantra, make a vision board, or simply post an inspiring photo or note on their bathroom mirror. Whatever inspires you, go for it! The goal here is simply finding what inspires you, so you keep moving forward.

Question: How do you feel about the scale?

Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD, is a leading nutrition counselor, writer, and speaker and trusted nutrition source for the media. She believes that optimal health starts with the activity that you do every day—eat. Corinne is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a Masters in Nutrition who adores helping people find health through nutrition. You can find Corinne in the San Francisco Bay Area counseling, speaking, and writing about nutrition. She specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, and disordered eating. To learn more please visit Green Grapes Nutrition. You can also connect with Corinne on Twitter and Facebook.



Photo credit for salad: Angela Lidden from

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