Are you the type of person who has to see numbers change in order to feel like you are making progress on your fitness path?
Do any of these ring a bell?
- Getting up and weighing yourself every morning and rejoicing or grieving over every ounce lost or gained.
- Fervently checking your heart rate monitor throughout your workout for BPMs and calories burned and feeling fabulous or frustrated with high or low numbers.
- Breaking out the measuring tape every day or week and obsessing over every centimeter.
- Counting calories and condemning yourself for every goal missed.
- Planning to exercise a certain number of minutes per day or hours per week and being anxiety-ridden when you fall short.
If you found yourself nodding at any one of these, don’t worry, I am nodding at a couple of them, too!
Numbers are not your enemy. Obsessing over numbers, though, just might be. Each of these numbers (weight, heart rate, calories burned, calories consumed, inches, time spent exercising) is important and can be extremely useful for achieving and maintaining fitness and weight loss.
When a specific number begins to take over your life, however, is when the focus on the number can become counterproductive and even sabotage your progress. Personally, if I obsess about calorie intake, it is a recipe for an eventual bingeing disaster.
Instead of laying off numbers altogether (something that is really hard to do), try switching your focus from one set of numbers to another and see how that can change your orientation and attitude towards eating and exercising. For example, if it is calories burned that has your attention now, try switching gears to amount of time spent exercising for a period of time (a month, for example). Or, if you are watching your scale numbers, try shifting gears to inches for a while and monitor your measurements.
Other good numbers to think about are body fat percentage instead of Body Mass Index (people with more muscle tend to skew the BMI numbers up), and resting heart rate and rate of heart rate recovery, instead of maximum heart rate (the lower your resting rate and the faster your recovery, the better your cardiovascular fitness).
So, go forth and change your numbers!