Being fit doesn’t mean losing weight. Here are some parameters to help you look beyond weight loss and make your fitness journey sustainable.
Weight loss sells like hot cakes and you can safely add ‘fat burning’ as a prefix to any product and observe people go gaga over it. Majority of individuals start on their fitness journey with an intention to weigh lesser on the scale. What follows is a narrow minded approach that causes more harm than good. Quick fixes such as over training, fad diets, fat burners and overall an unsustainable approach to losing weight damages physical as well as mental health. This journey does come to an end because it is humanely impossible to lead a happy life if it is bound by restrictions and at the ‘end of this journey’, one can find themselves grappling with eating disorders and body image issues. Staying fit is a continuous process, one that does and should last a life time if adopted mindfully and incorporates the principles of sustainability.
That is the very reason I am penning this article. It is time we start looking at fitness beyond just a means of losing weight and to be able to do that, we should be able to measure progress beyond the amount of weight lost. In this article, I share a few indicators (questions to ask yourself every time you are tempted to give up because the number on the scale hasn’t gone down) to measure the effectiveness of the fitness program:
Increase in strength (weight increase, reps and sets) – if you have started weight training, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you able to lift better (form) than what you used to a month ago?
- Does the same weight seem easier to lift now?
- Are you able to do more reps with the same weight compared to when you just started?
- Do you need lesser rest time between two sets?
Improvement in timings – in case you incorporate stair workouts or runs, this is how you can measure progress:
- Can you run longer than when you started?
- Can you cover the same distance more comfortably as compared to your first month?
- Can you cover the same distance in lesser time?
- Can you progressively challenge your body to climb more stairs without panting?
Improvement in flexibility – here I want to cover both physical and mental flexibility:
- Are you getting a little closer to your goals? (able to touch your toes now without bending the knees? Hip openers working?)
- And more importantly are you flexible when it comes to your plans in life?
- Is your yoga practise bringing you the peace you are so fervently seeking?
- How do you feel?
- Does it leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the day?
- Does a particular meal plan help you exercise efficiently and give your best?
- Does a workout plan help you do your regular activities with more ease?
- Do you feel hungry at regular intervals and according to the routine you have set for yourself?
- Are you able to realise when you are full while eating a meal?
- Are you able to fall asleep immediately after hitting the bed?
- How restful do you feel after you wake up?
- Can you go on all day without feeling lethargic or sleepy?
Discipline and frequency of the need to deviate
This may not seem like an obvious parameter to measure the effectiveness of your fitness plan. However, on most days, it is discipline that will come to your rescue over motivation. Thus, the success of a plan greatly depends on how much you feel like sticking to it no matter how busy or difficult life gets.
This is personally how I measure the effectiveness of everything that I am doing. As someone who suffers from severe acidity when my routine is messed up, every time I implement something new, I observe how my acidity feels, if it’s better than before, this particular addition worked, if not, it doesn’t work.
Period and PMS for women
Working out, eating well and sleeping enough contribute to much more than reduction of fat around your waist. It helps balance the hormones that otherwise wreak havoc and are a root cause for PMS and difficult periods. So if your periods seem easier and more bearable than before, thank your current fitness plan, it’s working!