Nearly one-half (49.1 percent) of American adults tried to lose weight within the last 12 months. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 56.4% of those adults were women. The weight loss industry is a billion-dollar industry that throws men and women into an unhealthy cycle of yo-yo dieting while preying on their physical and emotional insecurities. Being one of those women for many years of my life as a dancer in the performance arts industry, I am now an American Council of Exercise certified health coach and fitness trainer. I have learned how to help break the diet cycle for myself and hundreds of clients. Achieving your non-scale victory can keep you moving toward a better overall wellness.
For one client named Sarah, stepping on the scale would determine if she could be happy or sad that day. Her mood would be dictated by the scale each morning after she rolled out of bed. The red, digital number she read would allow Sarah to shop in the “skinny” section of her closet or force her to shop in her “fat clothes.” Regardless of the addition of fruits and vegetables to her diet, or no matter her consistent exercise, she considered herself a failure because the scale wasn’t showing enough weight loss. For this client, we removed the scale from her home and determined many non-scale victories that she could use to lift her self-confidence. Here is the list that you can adopt as well.
Victory #1: Consistent Exercise
In the study, 63 percent of adults used exercise as their number one means of weight loss. It is non-negotiable in a person’s health and wellness journey. Not all clients can compete in triathlons but consistent movement in ways that make the client feel successful equates to a non-scale victory. Walking and swimming are excellent ways to get back into a fitness routine if rehabilitating an injury or for a person seeking low impact exercise modalities.
How to Achieve This Victory: Set a quantitative goal for weekly workouts. Attempt three strength workouts and three cardio workouts a week. Include one day of rest or recovery that includes low-impact yoga and stretching. Complete this goal for one month and notice better mobility, increased endurance and physical strength.
Victory #2: Replace Non-Nutritious Foods
On average, someone dies of Cardiovascular Disease every 37 seconds in the U.S. according to a 2020 American Heart Association study. An improved diet is the top way to prevent heart disease. Unfortunately, Americans have found cheaper and faster ways to eat. Fast and pre-packaged foods are simply killing us. Starting Monday, begin to replace your ultra-processed foods (five ingredients or more) with simple, whole foods. Replace your energy bar with a banana and ½ teaspoon of natural nut butter. Kick your boxed, rice pilaf to the curb and add whole, brown rice to your lunchtime dish.
How to Achieve This Victory: Make a weekly food plan. It is very difficult to eat well without the right foods in your home so make your plan. Before you head to the grocery store or farmer’s market, have your list of items for the week. Once you purchase the food, clean and separate your foods into grab and go containers so you are always prepared with healthy snacks. Eat like this for 30 days and the victory will be looser clothing and an improved immune system.
Victory #3: Quality Sleep
There are many consequences to lack of sleep including weight loss resistance. Often when seeking a culprit for a lack of weight loss in clients, we look for inconsistent sleep patterns. Not only does exercise help your overall physical function, regular exercise can also improve your quality of sleep. If you are not getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night, it’s time to reassess your late-day caffeine intake, decrease your alcohol consumption, avoid late-night snacking, or change your exercise behaviors.
How to Achieve This Victory:
Set a nightly bedtime. Turn off screens one hour before bed and instead use that time to read a book or listen to guided meditation to calm your mind. After 30 days of consistent sleep patterns, enjoy a lower body weight, clearer skin and an overall better mood.
In conclusion, the number on a scale is an important marker for your health and wellness but it is not the only representation of good health. Pick multiple goals to measure your success on your new wellness journey so you can feel confident and empowered as you move closer to better health.
Layne Bruner is the Founder of Wellthy Soul and helps adults over 40 lose 20 pounds in 8 weeks. After retiring as a professional dancer paired with 20 years in corporate America, Layne took her experience in movement, nutrition, and business and became certified by the American Council of Exercise as a health coach, sports nutrition specialist, and fitness instructor. Today Layne lives in South Austin with her husband, two young boys. Work with Layne here.