20 Ways to Measure Progress Beside the Bathroom Scales

scales caution.jpg

To weigh, or not to weigh: that is the question…

I know it can feel scary, or even dangerous, to even think about giving up our regular date with the bathroom scales. I mean, if I don’t weigh myself won’t I gain weight? How will I know if I’m making progress?

This kind of thinking makes sense for those of us who grew up immersed (more like drowned) in Diet World. But let’s stop and think a minute…

Has stepping on the bathroom scales gotten us what we wanted so far?

For most of us, the scales have been a source of self-condemnation rather than change. For thirty years I weighed almost every morning and those were the most self-critical and obsessive years of my life. Being hyper-scale-focused was a life-sucking way to live. And I’m not alone.

In TLE Workshop we learn to think of the scales as just one of many tools. Some of us use that tool. Some of us don’t.

Here’s what one liberated eater wrote in an email recently:

“I used to weigh myself all the time. This year, for 3 months, I stopped weighing in daily and I felt a lot of freedom. It took the power and approval away from the scale and allowed me to be rewarded by my non-scale victories which there were/are many. Recently…I decided to start weighing again. Now I find it gives me information rather than rewards or condemnation.”

It’s worth asking…

Does it really make sense to measure my new food-life by the old yardstick?

What might happen if we began to measure our progress by checking in with the changes below rather than focusing intently on that three digit number?

Benchmarks of Progress:

  1. I’m feeling less stressed about the whole food thing.

  2. I’m thinking about food less and less now - unless I’m hungry.

  3. I recognize my physical hunger more easily, and I actually like to wait for it before I feed myself.

  4. I don’t feel anxious about choosing what I’m going to eat.

  5. I enjoy eating now. I savor my food and feel nourished by it.

  6. I recognize when I’m no longer hungry and it’s getting easier to stop eating.

  7. I’m beginning to trust that I can eat every time I’m hungry. No more starving.  

  8. I don’t feel as sad about not cleaning my plate anymore.

  9. I can tell the difference between emotional and physical hunger now.

  10. I can deal with my uncomfortable emotions now. I’m not stuffing them down with food.

  11. My inner voice is more positive and hopeful.

  12. I’m feeling lighter and stronger in my body.

  13. I lean toward more nutritious foods now, because they feel good in my body - not because I “should.”

  14. I have permission to eat any food now. I also have the freedom not to.

  15. I respect my body more now. I feel a growing partnership with it.

  16. Exercise is completely different for me now. Its life-giving play instead of a “should.”

  17. My thoughts are no longer cluttered with constant food obsession or body-bashing.

  18. I feel empowered and hopeful about my health.

  19. I have more energy.

  20. I have confidence now that I really do know how to take good care of myself.

Wow! This list throws a whole new light on progress.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that reaching the health and weight we want can be A LOT MORE FUN than holding our breath and warily stepping on the scales in our birthday-suit each morning.