Tracking your weight loss on the scale is great — it helps to have concrete numbers that show how far you've come. But don't limit yourself! There are other ways to measure your success, ways that'll set your motivation in motion and keep your efforts on track. Pay attention to some of the other impressive changes in the new you:
You feel better about yourself. Notice that spring in your step, that excitement at the beginning of a new day. Your confidence is soaring because you're well on your way to a healthier new you, and you can feel it.
You're losing inches. "Some forms of exercise stimulate a small increase in muscle mass, which may show as weight gain on the scales," says Bill McArdle, exercise physiologist for Weight Watchers International. "However, because muscle occupies less space than fat, your circumference becomes smaller when your fitness increases." Monitor these changes by taking your measurements, or by trying on the same pair of now-too-big pants and seeing how they look and feel different.
You need a smaller size! It's the classic milestone: You head to the mall to buy a new pair of jeans because that belt just isn't cutting it any more, and you see that you've gone down one (or more) clothing size. Congratulations!
Menus don't intimidate you. You order your fish grilled, not fried; you choose tomato sauces, not creamy ones. You ask for salad dressings on the side and vegetables as appetizers. You even share that rich dessert with a friend: Your dinner choices indicate a healthy plan IQ.
You cook like a pro. Your stir-fry is made with just a touch of oil and veggies, not meat, and you prepare homemade cream of mushroom soup with fat-free milk, not cream. Your meals are tasty and good for your waistline.
You enjoy your meals. You've invested in some new placemats and bought some candles. You turn off the TV, turn up the relaxing music and truly enjoy your food.
You reward yourself creatively. When you reach weight-loss milestones, you indulge in a facial or new workout clothes instead of a bag of potato chips.
You can exercise without exhaustion. For example, you walk up the stairs without feeling out of breath and run for the bus with ease. "This is because weight loss reduces the cost of exercise on the body," says McArdle. "You have less mass to lug around!"
You accept compliments gracefully. After all, you deserve them. (And we know they're coming in full force!) You've worked hard and your efforts are paying off.