What happens when you feel you are doing everything right as part of your weight loss plan, but your weight isn’t moving in the right direction? How do you typically respond? Do you feel like your program is failing you, or do you look at this as an opportunity to learn and make adjustments?

Focusing on external-based outcomes, such as the number on the scale, is a double-edged sword; however, when you are trying to lose weight, tracking the number on the scale can be a helpful piece of data to collect. Based upon your data points over time, you do start to learn more about your own body and how it responds to exercise programming, dietary preferences, daily movement, the impact of stress or sleep, etc.

If the scale isn’t moving, and your response is more in alignment with making adjustments, think about the adjustments you might make and why. Things like counting calories, tracking macros, following diet “rules,” or weight and body measurements can be helpful things to track as part of your weight loss program, but tracking in this way doesn’t always lead to the desired outcome.

When we don’t measure up to external outcomes, we often feel hopeless. That’s because we can’t control external factors – not completely, at least. We can’t control how our body will look after following a particular weight-loss plan.

On the one hand, these external factors tell us important information about our progress and performance. They can help us to understand if we’re on track with our goals or action steps. On the other hand, they say nothing about our internal state or how we feel.

One factor I tend to highlight in working with my weight loss clients is how good they feel while losing weight. I can’t recall a recent time working with a client where they’ve shared that they are feeling miserable or deprived while losing weight. If there has been a time that a client reports feeling that way, there is no way that we are going to keep programming the same.

Since our clients generally report more energy, better sleep, greater craving control, and more stable hunger levels through the weight loss process, I’d encourage you to think about how you can feel your best while work towards weight loss. Always remember that you are in control of your own actions. 

You can choose to move in the direction of your goals, and you do have control over how you feel throughout the process. You can use your body’s biofeedback to help you understand how to tweak your daily actions when external factors aren’t leading to change. This is where the 4Ms of Metabolism come into play. 

We can control things like:

  • How we exercise (Metabolics)
  • How we eat (Meals)
  • How we move our bodies (Movement)
  • And how we manage stress and its impact on us (Mindfulness)

We can also choose to focus on internal cues of progress, which are not contingent on a particular outcome. Internal cues like SHMEC (Sleep, Hunger, Mood, Energy, Cravings) are not dependent on the scale or measurements. We know we’re doing a good job because we can feel it. When we know what’s happening internally and how to respond to that, we feel a greater sense of control.

What’s truly important to you about your goals? What cues would you use and track? Use SHMEC to guide you, but don’t stop there! Think about what truly matters to you. If you’re stuck, focus on the skills you need to develop to achieve your goals! Focusing on what you can control, and what you can change, will help you to understand if you are moving in the right direction no matter what the scale may say!

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash