Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Prices. Carnival rides. Our emotions.
What do these three things have in common? They all go up and down. It’s part of life. At some point, most of us have had a similar experience with the scale, but that’s not expected. And it doesn’t have to be that way. However, when our bodyweight consistently fluctuates, it’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated with what you perceive to be a lack of progress.
So how do we stay positive when we’re not moving forward? Whether you’re struggling to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight, the following methods provide the reassurance that you’re making progress and moving forward, even if the scale doesn’t budge.
1. Set a Goal
Have a dress you want to fit into six months from now? Want to complete 10 push-ups on your toes next month? Are you trying to reduce your trips to the drive-thru from five days a week to two? Have you replaced your morning donut with a protein bar? Write down your goal and put it somewhere you can see it. By focusing on a goal that isn’t tied to your bodyweight, you will free yourself from the emotional battle of routine weighing.
2. Focus on Your Health
You’ve been working out regularly and eating better. You’re even getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. The kids get home from school and you go for a walk outside each evening. Grocery shopping isn’t such a chore because you’re experimenting with a variety of healthy meals each week. Your workouts are becoming easier as you become stronger and more fit. These realizations may not be “milestones,” but they are certainly stepping stones toward your goal and should not be overlooked.
3. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
We live in a world that pays more attention to weight than self-worth. We spend more time in the gym and less time reflecting on how far we’ve come. Over time, the passion we once felt as we crushed goals while blazing trails on our fitness journey begins to fade. Need some convincing that you’re making progress? Remind yourself of the following.
- Your routine should be attainable and sustainable. Quick fixes are not long-term solutions.
- Journaling can help you identify and silence the negativity in your mind. Write often, record your thoughts and reflect on how far you’ve come.
- Letting go of physical clutter will result in emotional freedom as well. What can you get rid of?
- Your body weight will vary based on hormone levels, hydration levels, the amount of sleep you’ve had, what you recently ate, etc. Small, daily fluctuations are normal.
- Be patient with yourself.
Remember, this is your journey and the first step is identifying a realistic goal, then creating an action plan based on your current fitness level and resources. If you choose to weigh yourself, do it once or twice a week. Stay consistent with the day and time so you can compare “apples to apples.” For example, weigh yourself every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. after you have gone to the bathroom and before you have gotten dressed. Stay optimistic and steer your energy in a more fulfilling and rewarding direction, rather than the floor of your bathroom.