Progress is a strange thing; it is sometimes hard to know you are doing the right thing – especially while you are in the midst of a journey.
Airplane pilots say that they are off course about 99 percent of the time and only reach their destination by making thousands of tiny corrections along their course. You are the same.
Your journey to where you want to be healthy and weight-wise will take you down some roads that don’t serve you very well. It will also feel at times that you are doing the right thing and at others that you are no closer to where you want to be than when you started.
I’m going to suggest to you that you be kind to yourself when you feel that you are off course and know that you will eventually get to where you are going by following the principles of eating foods low on the glycemic index, avoiding processed foods, eating lots of veggies and exercising (even if you, like a pilot, veer off course from time to time).
But the question that most people want to know is how do they know that they are doing well on the program?
There are three tools that you can use to find out how well you are doing so you can track your progress.
- BMI: The first is the BMI or body mass index. If you have looked into the BMI, then you know that there are big problems with using it to determine fitness and health (it doesn’t work for everyone). But there is a mountain of research showing that having your BMI under 25 is a big determinate of health (if you have a BMI higher than 25 then you are at risk for heart disease, diabetes and even cancer). If you want to calculate your BMI, look here. What you want to see as you progress through the program is your BMI dropping.
- Body Fat Percentage: If you have a normal bathroom scale, stop reading this right now and go throw it away. Go to the store and buy a scale that also measures your body fat percentage. Once again, measuring your body fat percentage can be fraught with problems, but if you use the same scale every day then it is a much better way to determine how well you are doing than how much you weigh. This is because while you are exercising, you are gaining muscle mass (and that burns fat all day and night), so while you might not see a drop in your scale, your body fat percentage should be going down while you are on the program. Some gyms and fitness centers have scales with body fat percentage, so use them as well.
- How You Feel: No machine in the world can match checking in and noticing how you feel, but we tend to not trust it very much. Maybe you are sleeping better, or have more energy, or feel less bloated… all of these can tell you a lot about how you are progressing in the program. What do your friends, family, or coworkers say?
Instead of just looking at your scale to determine whether you are on the right path, use the above tools to help you understand just what a great job you are doing for your body.