Adopting a fitness and diet plan has wide-ranging physical benefits that are well-documented. The benefits include gaining lean muscle mass, weight loss, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes. Regular exercise and healthy eating also yield several other benefits that we recognize as non-scale victories that prove you are making progress.
What Are Non-Scale Victories?
Over the years, scientists discovered that exercise produces psychological, emotional, sexual, and other benefits, which may come as a surprise to many people. These unexpected benefits include increased self-confidence, improved sex drive, better sleep, glowing skin, reduced allergies, and enhanced creativity.
Focusing on numerical values appearing on the scale may not provide a true picture of changes happening to your body. The scale does not measure a wide variety of gains, including glowing skin and reduced reliance on medications. These non-scale victories can boost your morale and help you keep pushing for more changes.
Here are clear signs that your fitness and diet plan is working.
Examples of Non-Scale Victories
An effective weight loss regime reduces allergy symptoms. For instance, if you previously suffered from an adult-onset case of asthma, you may notice a significant improvement in your respiratory system. The changes provide a clear sign that your fitness and diet plan is working.
Obesity is linked to increased strain on the respiratory system, among other allergy symptoms. A viable weight loss regime eliminates the need to worry when the allergy season draws closer.
Improved Lab Values and Reduced Reliance on Medications
Modifying your diet eliminates the need to rely on medications to combat health issues like chronic inflammation and depression. When you stop eating processed or junk food, you are sure to notice positive changes that enable you to ditch medications like antidepressants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The changes make it easier to sleep better and reduce or prevent joint pain. You may notice an improvement in laboratory values for conditions like cholesterol, blood pressure, and chronic inflammation. Cholesterol levels may drop even if the scale is not showing any changes.
Lab values provide a powerful way to measure the progress of your fitness or diet regime. They present an indisputable mark of achievement by enabling you to compare historical laboratory values. The full cholesterol panel, C-reactive protein, and hemoglobin A1c are major values that change in response to lifestyle modifications.
C-reactive protein is used to monitor various sources of inflammation in the body, while hemoglobin A1c tracks blood sugar levels.
A healthier diet contributes to better digestion, which counteracts bloating and constipation. If you notice improved bowel movement and less bloating, it means your diet plan is working.
As you begin to eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated, your gut eliminates problems associated with the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Processed foods like pasta are known to cause indigestion because they come with reduced fiber content. Insufficient fiber in your diet triggers indigestion.
A healthier and active lifestyle improves your complexion by providing nutrients and oxygen needed to keep the skin strong and resilient. Exercise boosts blood circulation in the body, which helps deliver oxygen to the skin. Physiologists at the University of North Carolina revealed that working out increases tiny capillaries and blood vessels in the skin.
On another level, eating whole foods produces fresher-looking skin thanks to the availability of antioxidants and healthy fats. Empty calories found in alcohol and refined sugars compromise the health of your skin.
Improved Sleep Patterns
Restful sleep is one of the rewards of regular exercise. For this reason, restful sleep is a key measure of your overall health. A good night’s sleep regulates sugar levels in the bloodstream and reduces stress hormones like cortisol. Working out makes it easier to spend more time in the deep sleep phase, which plays an essential role in physical and mental restoration.
Additionally, this phase helps boost the body’s immune function and heart health. You are more likely to sleep better after workouts as your muscles recuperate. As such, your fitness and diet regime boosts the fight against insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), and obstructive sleep apnea.
Studies have shown that regular exercise combats the severity of sleep disorders. According to the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, exercising for at least two hours per week yields significant health benefits.
Moderate exercise can act as a sleeping pill even if you suffer from a sleeping disorder, such as insomnia. Exercising a few hours before bedtime increases your body temperature. As the temperature drops to normal levels, the body treats the changes as a signal for bedtime.
Improved self-esteem is another sign of positive changes. As your physical appearance improves, you are more likely to receive compliments from people around you. A successful plan also boosts confidence in your abilities to achieve any goals you set. From weight loss to bodybuilding, you are sure to feel more energized mentally and ready to take on the world thanks to your physical accomplishments.
When people ask you whether you have been working out, you feel better about yourself. In some cases, people can detect subtle changes to your physique before you notice them. Embrace the positive comments as they motivate you to believe in yourself and work harder.
Research studies have shown that working out improves self-esteem. On the other hand, scientists discovered a link between nutrition and self-confidence.
To achieve the desired effect, your diet should incorporate micro- and macronutrients. The body breaks down proteins and carbohydrates to boost energy levels in the muscles and the brain. Inadequate intake of the nutrients can leave you feeling tired, which undermines self-confidence.
Fatty acids also contribute to improved self-esteem by acting on the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain. Meanwhile, vitamin D boosts the levels of serotonin, a happy chemical. To maintain self-esteem, limit sugar, caffeine, and alcohol consumption.
Working out has been shown to release feel-good chemicals known as endorphins that combat stress, anxiety, and depression. As the endorphins become more active, chemicals associated with stress are suppressed. For this reason, consider exercising when you feel stressed. Doing so enhances the body’s ability to deal with stressful situations.
Some studies have revealed that a healthy diet coupled with exercise can improve the mood for anyone battling with clinical depression. It comes as no surprise that some physicians believe that physical activity can be as effective as antidepressants. You can derive these benefits by performing a wide array of exercises, including walking, lifting weights, cycling, jogging, and aerobics.
Lower Food Bills
Lifestyle modifications lead to reduced food bills as you focus on homemade meals. You are sure to notice the significant savings, which as a non-scale victory for your efforts. Restaurant, takeout, and processed foods increase your monthly expenditure while undermining your overall health.
Increased Mental Vitality
Eating healthy and engaging in a wide variety of exercises boosts brainpower by enhancing creativity and memory. A clearer mind, which experiences reduce memory loss, is a measure of success.
Studies have shown that intensive weight loss programs contribute to sharper memory. Likewise, physically active people are less likely to experience cognitive decline. Working out activates chemicals in the brain, which counteract the degeneration of the hippocampus, a structure responsible for learning and memory.
Results of clinical trials published on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website showed that regular aerobic exercise improved executive function. Overall, fitness and a healthy diet can help slow down or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that affects many Americans. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which enhances the growth of new brain cells and blood vessels.
Visual Changes in Before and After Photos
Many people recommend using before and after photos as a reliable barometer of non-scale victories. Visualizing the changes keeps you focused on maintaining the momentum.
Capturing full body shots allows you to detect progress all over your body. For better results, take the pictures from the same distance and angle in an area with good lighting. Wear clothes that show more skin, or at least tight-fitting clothes. The photos can provide a good source of motivation, whether you are looking to lose weight or gain lean muscle mass.
Becoming a Motivation for Others
Achieving your weight loss or fitness goals motivates people around you to conquer their bodies. When friends and family say you motivate them, it is proof that visible changes are happening. Hearing these positive comments can trigger a surreal feeling of pride and accomplishment. In many cases, people notice the changes long before you are aware of the progress.
Clothes Fit Differently
An effective diet and fitness plan changes the way your clothes fit. As a result, you know that your lifestyle modifications are making the desired changes. If you have been lifting weights, your improved physique makes the clothes fit better and enhances your appearance. Weight loss also results in noticeable changes in how your clothes fit.
You may finally find the confidence to wear some items that were sitting idle in the closet. This is a non-scale victory worth celebrating.
Wrapping Up Non-Scale Victories
Non-scale victories enable you to shift your attention from the numbers on the scale. In doing so, you discover greater value in many unexpected gains. The best part is that the changes bolster your resolve to stay focused on the big prize. Taking into account a wide variety of non-scale victories allows you to recognize the magnitude of your progress.
You will notice an amazing transformation that makes you happier, healthier, and more confident. From reducing or eliminating your reliance on medications to becoming a motivation for others, there is more to eating healthier and exercising. Weighing 50 or 100 pounds will no longer be your sole focus.
Fitness regimes aimed at weight loss or muscle gain rarely progress in a straight line. You are sure to face plateaus along the way as the body undergoes various stages in its transformation. The plateaus can leave feeling frustrated and anxious. However, you may fail to notice that significant non-scale victories are still taking shape.
Switching your focus to non-scale victories makes it easier to downplay the frustration caused by the plateaus. In the end, you regain control of your weight loss or fitness program.
A balanced diet also plays a significant role in keeping you motivated and focused. It improves your lab values for ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. These improvements contribute to better health.
In some cases, you will notice a change in eating habits as you start consuming more whole foods and vegetables. Identifying these overlooked gains is a vital step to achieving greater success.