Measuring Health Without a Scale:

5 Ways to Step Off the Scale and Step into a Better View of You

By: Rachel Davidson-Evans

Reviewed by Atheana Brown RD

This modern world makes tracking a breeze- tracking weight loss, exercise, sleep, calories, and food consumption being just some of the common methods marketed to measure health and perceptions of “success” or “progress”. With many of these programs, one stubborn measure that has stuck around as an indication of “health” is weight. What if I told you that weight is not a good benchmark of health or success? When it comes to weight, there are several factors at play beyond one’s control such as genetics and even your community. Shifting focus from the scale may help you become truly intuitive with yourself and your health, much more than any apps ever could.

So, how else can you measure health? Here are 5 ways to help measure your health with no scale in sight. Remember, health looks different on every body.

Your relationship with food

Constant nutrient tracking can be exhausting, restrictive, and cause you to feel overly critical and ashamed of your natural cues. Learning to eat intuitively and be in-tune with body signals helps us connect our eating and reflect on how it nourishes our bodies. Honouring your hunger cues, recognizing fullness, and allowing a diet full of variety are ways to improve your relationship with the food. Having food freedom means rejecting the diet culture narrative and making decisions based on your superpower interoceptive awareness. Your ability to tune in, feel and respond in a caring way that respects your body.

An entire podcast series was done discussing the 10 Principle of Intuitive Eating. This may be a great starting place. Check it out here!

 

Qualify of Sleep

Getting adequate rest is important for your health. Too much or too little sleep, difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep can be a huge indicator from your body that something is off. Sleep can be affected by multiple factors including stress and hormones, so finding a specialist can be important to help find out why. Feeling relaxed at night and waking up refreshed in the morning is important for stamina, concentration, and overall health. You deserve a good snooze, and your mind and body do too!

Energy

Energy is another indicator of health, but what does it really mean? Not only is it when you feel the need for that second coffee during the day, but it encompasses your emotional and social energy as well. Exhaustion and fatigue are not normal, even if society has been telling you so. Take note of when you feel energetic versus when you find yourself feeling foggy and unfocused. Think of how you feel after eating the foods you love verses when you skip breakfast on a busy day, or how you feel before and after a social connection and try to dig deeper into the reasons your body may be telling you to take a break. Allow yourself to recharge, understand your limits, and discover your reasons for reaching them.

Mood

Health encompasses much more than physical appearance. Like energy, mood can often be associated with something happening at a deeper level. Moods can affect how one thinks, feels, and responds, and a negative mood can blur your focus on taking care of yourself. Stress, irritability, and similar emotions can control how you exercise, eat, socialize, and other important daily functions. It is important to allow yourself to recognize and express your emotions, consider why you are having them, and recognize what impact they have on your wellbeing.

Movement

Exercising with the goal of losing weight can easily make movement feel like a punishment. Movement can be an important tool for boosting your mood and assisting with stress relief, and it should be something you enjoy. Find movements that help you connect and appreciate your body and all wonderful things it can do. Find activities that leave you inspired, energized, happy, and those that you want to participate in.

What ways do you use to help measure your health? I hope today you have learned a few new methods to help gauge health without the scale. After all those tracking apps, the best measure of health is YOU!

A great podcast episode all about movement Atheana did is episode number 14. Check it out here.

 

Want to know more about how can you help adjust the focus away from the scale? A health care team, including a Registered Dietitian, can help you find ways to focus on health that works the best for you! If you need support check out Peacefully Nourished.

 
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    Atheana Brown is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in disordered eating, body image, intuitive eating, and family nutrition. Her mission is to break the generational cycles of dieting and body shame.

    Offering nutrition counselling virtually across Ontario Canada. Book a free discovery call to learn more.

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