7 Steps to Success (Nutrition): Step 6—Measure and Celebrate Your Results!It’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come when we don’t keep track. Our memories lie to us. Our emotions get in the way of seeing our progress. We compare ourselves to others rather than trying to be a better version of ourselves.
Seven Steps to Success (Step 6): Measure and Celebrate Your Results!
It’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come when we don’t keep track. Our memories lie to us. Our emotions get in the way of seeing our progress. We compare ourselves to others rather than trying to be a better version of ourselves.
I’ll give you a personal example of what I mean. I have faithfully followed my fall training plan and nutritional intentions. I logged every workout as I have done for decades with detailed notes. However, when it comes to certain other data collection, I have gotten “lazy.” I have not stepped on a scale, taken measurements, or checked my body composition in any way for several months. My clothes continued to fit, I felt good in and out of the gym, and I was pleased with the reflection I saw in the mirror. Two weeks ago, my husband and I attended a formal event, and I initially felt fabulous in my red dress. I hadn’t worn it in six years, and it zipped without a struggle. I was ready and excited to step out, confident in my appearance.
Fast forward to later that night, and I was devastated about how I looked. What happened? Someone took a picture of me that I didn’t like. My first thought when I saw it was, “How did my husband let me leave the house looking like this?”
Once I saw this photo, my entire sense of how I felt about myself changed. The reality is that my body did not change in the few hours since I had put on the dress. I hadn’t gained thirty pounds and developed poor posture during the dinner. It was a bad picture taken at a bad angle, and that is all that it was. However, it was devastating to me. My point is that we’ve all had moments like this. Moments that we failed to see how far we’ve come, how hard we’ve worked, how much progress we’ve made. It is important to measure our progress in some way to keep these irrational moments from becoming our reality.
How you measure your progress should be personal to you. Choose to track data points that have meaning to you. For instance, not everybody likes getting on the scale. Can you think of another way to measure progress with a weight-loss goal? Consider measuring which hole you are using on your lifting belt or trying on the same article of fitted clothing at the same time each week.
It is important to have both objective and subjective ways to measure. Objective measurements are data points like bodyweight, circumference measurements, blood pressure values, and weight on the barbell. Subjective measurements could be keeping track of how you feel (including energy levels), notating changes to behaviors and the learning of new skills, and having a rating system for your effort and consistency throughout the week.
Think of the collection of this data as a system of trail markers on the journey to your destination. They will serve to keep you on the right course, allow you to pause and reflect on where you have come from, and help put the challenging moments into proper perspective.