The True Measurement of Progress
Jan 28, 2016 by Sarah Goodman | Lifestyle
You've set your health goals and you've started your new routine, but how do you know if the lifestyle changes you're making are having a positive impact on your body?
Measuring your progress is just as important as tracking activities or counting calories. Yes, you need to know what you've been doing, but more importantly, you need to know if what you've been doing is working for you.
Scales Can Be A Misleading Indicator
I used to step on a scale. I never seemed to be making any progress with my health routine and I couldn't understand why- especially when my clothes fit better and I had more energy. Scales can be very misleading. Your weight can vary wildly throughout the day- even before and after working out. If you are working out- in particular doing strength training- and eating healthy you might be losing fat but maintaining muscle, so you won't see dramatic loss in weight using a scale.
I think everyone has heard by now that the Body Mass Index is not always a reliable measurement for body weight or health. The main reason is that it can't distinguish between fat and muscle.
You can get around this by measuring your body fat percentage. Body fat callipers can be bought for cheap to do this. However, body fat is hard to measure and track accurately at home. Body fat percentage is not necessarily the only measurement to look at for overall improvement of health.
The Dreaded Before And After Photo
What about taking before and after photos? I always tell myself I'll do this but I usually take the initial photos and then delete them shortly after. I can't bear the thought of my before photo- bad lighting, bikini and all- making its way into the inbox of all my contacts in some freak Internet accident. Seeing the changes in photos can be a good indicator of how you look on the outside but can't tell you much about what's going on inside your body.
A Snapshot Of Your Inner Health
Thankfully, there's iHeart. A single Internal Age recording using iHeart is snapshot of your inner health. It can be used as a starting point to measure the effectiveness of your training and lifestyle choices. Because immediate stressors that raise or lower your blood pressure raise and lower your Internal Age, you need to pay more attention to the longer-term trends you see with the iHeart system. These trends, revealed on your personal iHeart website, track the sustainable effects your health-positive actions have on your Internal Age.
When it comes down to it, I want to know if the lifestyle changes I've made are having a positive impact on my body. Weight loss, decreases in body fat percentage and hot bikini photos are lower on my list compared to what matters most: my health.