Non Scale-Related Goals Enhance Weight Loss
Scene: My bathroom, random Monday morning.
I’ve got my foot poised over the scale, and I’m about to step on it. I spent an hour tossing and turning last night, berating myself for overeating – again – vowing to be “good” this week.
Me: Okay, here goes nothing.
I step onto the scale and look down. I am horrified.
Me: Ugh! How can this be?!
I hang my head, completely demoralized. In my head I scold myself for being so weak. I am furious with myself for failing once again, but eventually I rally and offer up a pep talk.
Me: You can do this! This week it will be different; I’ll only eat carrots and celery sticks. I’ll drink gallons of water! I’ll exercise every day! I gotta lose two pounds by Friday. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do … I’ll lose two pounds by Friday, for sure!
Even though I was quite determined at that very moment, my motivation to follow through on that newly-minted goal failed me week after week. Know why? Three reasons:
- I was focusing solely on how bad I felt being fat. (Truly, I felt horrible.)
- I was reacting out of fear and, unless a bear is chasing you, fear is a bad motivator.
- I was defining “success” by the number on the scale, specifically whether it went down or not.
This experience leads me to conclude two fundamental truths of weight loss:
- You cannot just be moving away from something negative; you must be moving toward something positive.
- You cannot hate yourself thin.
It absolutely, unequivocally will not work.
What does work?
Well, go back and start reading the previous 200 or so blogs I’ve written, but in a nutshell here’s what works:
Have very specific, non scale-related goals.
Having non scale-related goals takes the focus off of the number you see every time you step on the scale and puts it elsewhere. Those non scale-related goals are most helpful when they support the overall goal of weight loss and healthy living.
For this reason I like physical challenges as goals. Training for a particular event (currently, my first triathlon) forces me to make my goal very specific. There is a date on my calendar and I’m counting down the days!
Having non scale-related goals works very well, for three reasons:
- Physical activity puts you in touch with your physical body: the more in touch you are with your physical body, the less likely you are to do bad stuff to it.
- Physical activity elicits good feelings. When you feel better, you do better.
- When you’re training for something specific, every workout takes on significance: the workouts are cumulative, they build on each other. You don’t want to miss one because each one is important to help you reach the overall goal.
Those things combined are some seriously powerful motivation. (Remember: vision + goals = motivation).
You become intensely focused on achieving this goal. Eating right, getting enough rest, staying hydrated … all of those things fall into place because they help support your goal.
And what do you focus on after you’ve accomplished that goal? Well, you give yourself a little rest from the intensity for a while – maintaining a base level of fitness and healthy eating, of course – and then you find a new goal!
Right now we’re focusing on a 10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge, and that’s great! But I encourage you to find a specific event to train for: your first 5K fun run, a cycling event, or join me in my triathlon training! I promise, having that non scale-related goal will enhance your weight loss more than you think possible.
C’mon, we got this!