Yes we experts do use your weight on the scale as the primary number to track when assessing how you're doing on a weight loss program. But frankly, there are a lot of numbers we need to be concerned with, in terms of health. So if your scale has become an enemy, an item in your home that you simply do not want to face, why not agree to track some other important numbers, as you embark on a lifestyle change program in 2010.
Some important baseline numbers you should know:
Your waist size - 35 inches for women, 40 inches for men is the "cut off" for a healthy waist size
Your BMI or body mass index - you can view a chart online and see if you fall within 21-25, which is considered to be the healthy range. Above 30, you are obese and at risk for a number of health risks. (A bodybuilder can have a higher BMI)
Your dress and pant size
Your hip measurement
Your fasting blood sugar - so you know if you are at risk of developing diabetes
Your cholesterol profile - total cholesterol, HDL and LDL
Your triglyceride level - another way to assess your risk of heart disease
Your blood pressure
How many minutes you walk or exercise aerobically daily...weekly
How many times a week you weight train
Your bone density (extreme dieters and people who are sedentary can be at risk for osteoporosis)
If you really want to avoid weigh-ins (though I think a once a week weigh-in is important when you're trying to lose weight), decide with your doctor and other members of your medical team, how often to revisit these numbers.
Now let's talk about numbers that pertain to eating. One of the earliest habits I learned when I was on Weight Watchers, was to weigh my portions. That's an especially important habit to consider when you finally hit goal weight. We tend to become a bit cocky after we lose dramatic amounts of weight, and we often convince ourselves that we've been cured of our food and weight issues. Obesity is a disease, and it has to be treated with the same safeguards and prescriptions that we would use for any other troubling condition. That means really paying attention to portion control, measuring portions, tracking our calories, eating from a variety of food groups including fruits and vegetables and plant-based proteins. It also means tracking the types of fat in your foods, your salt intake and your sugar intake. Most Americans are overeating the grain category these days, and making healthier choices from that food group doesn't mean you can eat more. Swap outs are meant to offer you healthier fare, not necessarily more food. One of the few swap outs that allows larger portions - replacing processed food snacks with fruits and vegetables.
So go ahead and use different numbers this New Year, to track your weight loss and your improved health profile. The scale isn't the answer for everybody!!
Published On: December 14, 2009