People tend to measure success in different ways. It can be wealth, family relationships or personal happiness. But when it comes to measuring the success of your health and fitness program what is successful and what is not. Certainly, one measure is the lack of illness or long term medical issues. Another can be the number of healthy living habits you have acquired or the loss of weight that you set out to achieve. People may be commenting on how good you look. These are all ways to determine if your program is working or not.
Medium and short term changes can also be measured in your health and fitness program as well as long term changes mentioned above. Perhaps you were on medication or prescription drugs that you no longer need. Because you now exercise regularly you may feel more limber and able to easily perform physical tasks that were difficult for you in the past. Another measure can be in the diet you now eat. You find yourself eating fewer foods that are high in fat and more that are nutritious and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
DIET IS VERY IMPORTANT
There are two important measures in the progress that you are making in your eating habits toward a healthier lifestyle. You may notice that you have become wiser in the way that you prepare foods. You may have substituted bad fats that you used in cooking with healthier fats such as olive oil or other oils that are derived from plants. You may be more aware and have a better understanding about food labeling. This is an area that we have made great progress in over recent years. We now have a better understanding about what is in the foods that we eat and what to is good and bad for us. You may have even substituted one brand to another healthier one.
Another way to determine the success of your health and fitness program is a physical measure of you waistline. Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have been associated with abdominal fat. Any reduction can result in an improved body fat distribution.
BE AWARE OF BODY FAT
Another good measure of your progress would be your total body fat. There are several ways to measure this, the simplest and most accessible method would be skin fold calipers. While methods such as hydrostatic weighing or electrical impedance are much more accurate they are really not necessary. Skin fold calipers will give you a good staring point and way to measure your progress.
Regardless of how you choose to measure your progress you should never rely on total body weight and a scale. This is a mistake that many make as body weight may have been the factor that initiated them to start their health and fitness program from the start. Total weight is only a combination of total body fat and your lean body weight. The more important measure is the ratio between the two. Many times people can have the same weight and one will be in much better shape that the other.
If you rely on weight as a measure of progress you may become unnecessarily discouraged at your efforts and have the tendency to forego your program. You have to realize that weight is not a measure of body composition. You can look at the fact that you lost a few pounds but you do not know if that was a loss in muscle and water or a more meaningful loss in fat. Or you can weight the same and have made progress because you have actually lost fat and replaced it with muscle that will help to continue to burn more fat. So it is more effective to measure the success or failure of any health and fitness program by metrics other than weight.