Metrics of Success

How do you measure weight loss success?

Is it just a number on the scale?  A clothing size?

Does success always have to be measured numerically?

The scientist in me likes empirical measurements and prefers quantitative measures of success to qualitative measures.   Why?  Because there’s a number associated with it, and that’s something concrete in my mind. I have always liked numerical data, because you can manipulate it in all kinds of ways–do statistical calculations, analyze it and make visual representations from it.

But the realist in me knows that those qualitative measures are the ones that will propel me through the times that the numbers don’t come back the way I’d like them to.  So how do I plan to measure my success at losing weight in ways that are not just a number?  Here are a few things I’ve thought of:

  • How well are my clothes fitting me?  Are they more loose than before?  How are they hanging on my frame?  Are they puckering anywhere, or are they baggy?
  • How much (or little) are my knees hurting me?  Are they wracked with pain?  Or is it no problem to get around?
  • How much more flexible am I becoming?  Can I reach my toes easier?
  • How much more loose is my car’s seatbelt becoming?  Can I let out a little more slack in it when I put it on?
  • Is my triple chin becoming a double chin?  Is my double chin becoming a single chin?
  • Do my shorter necklaces hang a little lower?
  • Can I see my collarbone?  Can I feel my ribcage?  Can I feel my hip bones?  Are my ankles becoming slender?
  • Can I say “no” to food enablers that offer me things that I once gladly accepted and ate right there on the spot?
  • Can I stay on schedule with my daily vitamin regimen?
  • Can I plan social events that do not revolve exclusively around a meal or food?
  • Am I trying a variety of foods to get my protein in so that I do not get bored with my food?

What ways to measure success that don’t involve numbers have you found to be helpful for you?

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6 responses to “Metrics of Success

  1. NSV’s (non scale victories) on my list- chairs and plane seats easier to sit in, crossing my legs, the thigh rubbing, Getting in clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn in some time.

    • I have a closetful of clothes waiting for me to wear them post-surgery. I’m excited about that because it means I won’t have to go back to school shopping in the fall!
      I’m also looking forward to sitting in plane seats easier, especially without the seatbelt extender. I’ve had to use one of those for the past 15 years, and I’m ready to ditch the damned thing.

  2. How does my ass feel in my car seat?
    Is it easier to hoist myself up on something high, to sit on?
    Can I go up the stairs without wheezing?
    Can I get my ass up off the floor without it looking like a series of yoga poses?
    Can I cross my legs?
    Can I sit with my knees together, without trying?
    Those are on my short list.
    🙂

    • I love the getting up off the floor one! I’d love to be able to get up off the floor unassisted by a chair or other stationary piece of furniture. I’d forgotten about crossing my legs since it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been able to do that! 😦

  3. Measuring my fitness goals/achievements honestly pushed me the most because I found that there was NO correlation to short term fluctuations on the scale. I recorded time/distant/speed etc of my workouts and tracked the upward progress. During some of my toughest stalls, I’d push myself to go a little further or a little faster, and those accomplishments meant much more than losing a couple lbs on the scale.

    I think it’s a great idea to keep track of non-scale related goals and record your achievments and keep it somewhere that is easily accessible and you can constantly to remind you of everything you have done.

    • I’ve got a journal that I plan on recording my weight weekly, plus my measurements and how well my clothes are fitting, etc. The last time I made a serious effort to lose weight, I photographed myself weekly. Seeing the pictures every week was really helpful because when the scale didn’t budge (or went up), I could see in the photo how much I’d slimmed down. I plan on keeping track photographically as well because I’m a visual learner, and being able to visualize my progress in that way was a big motivator.

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