How Do You Measure Your Health?

by Her Happy Balance on August 28, 2013

I think we are all familiar with the dread of stepping on the bathroom scale and hoping that the number we read was one we would be happy with. While that is one way to monitor your weight, I think we need to remember that weight is not always the best telling sign of how healthy we are. That being said, if I can remember to, I like to hit up the scale once a week in the morning after a workout and before breakfast. I like giving myself the best chance at being happy with the number, can you blame me? But over the last couple of years I have realized that I need to rely less on my weight, and more on how my body feels.

How do you measure your health?

I measure my health in how easily it is to take the stairs. If after climbing four flights of stairs I’m huffing and puffing, I need to get back on my A game. Somewhere along the way I decided that whenever I could, I would try to take the stairs two at a time. I think that little things like that can make all the difference.

take stairs

I measure my health in how well I sleep. If I have a hard time getting up in the morning after 7 hours of sleep, then I need to change something. If I am having troubling dreams, then I am probably stressed out. Paying close attention to my quality of sleep is something I have really keyed into more recently.

I measure my health in how well my bras fit. I know it sounds silly to say specifically bras, everyone feels better when their clothes fit nicely, but I had always been between sizes in bras at Victoria’s Secret. Once when I tried on the one with the smaller band size, I was thrilled that it actually fit perfectly…so naturally I bought a ton of them. Now, I know that if they’re feeling a bit snug, I should opt out of that second margarita.

VS haul

I measure my health by my ability to lift heavier weights. When I started seriously focusing on lifting, I was so frustrated that my weight was not changing. It was at a stand still, yet I was working out practically every day. But when I see my arms in shirts now, I am proud of where I’ve come. I actually have baby triceps now and I worked my butt off for those minuscule muscles. I still have a long way to go, but I can do a few real push-ups. When exercises start to become easier, I know that I’m improving my fitness.

I measure my health in my desire to eat healthier foods over processed junk. I used to LOVE cheese fries and cheese steaks and huge bowls of pasta…and believe me I still do, but now my body doesn’t really seem to enjoy them. I think my body has gotten used to me putting more whole foods into it, and now when I give it a really heavy/greasy/fatty dish it doesn’t feel too great. I still like to splurge on those dishes in moderation, but I’m happier that my body would rather have fruits and veggies over tons of fried things.

I measure my health in my energy levels.
I measure my health in my lack of headaches and stomachaches.
I measure my health in my complexion.

I measure my health in not only how my body looks but how it feels.

Thoughts??

How do YOU measure your health?

Comments on this entry are closed.

kathy @ vodka and soda August 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

all of the above! i never step on the scale and always go by how i feel and how my clothes fit. most of all, i go by how my muscles are developing 🙂

-kathy
Vodka and Soda

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:17 am

Growing up some nice muscles does wonders for the self esteem. I just got to keep reminding myself that increased muscle mass probably means my numbers on the scale will not be going down anytime soon.

Becky @ Olives n Wine August 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

This is a wonderful post and something we should all strive to do. Funny thing is, I do the same “bra test.” If my bra band is getting tight, it’s either because I’ve been eating too much or it’s that time of the month<– if that's the case, I always treat myself to a 2nd (or heck, a 3rd!) margarita 😉 I need some tips on the stairs however, no matter how in shape I am, stairs always kill me! I think I need to start taking the stairs in my apartment building once a day to build up my stamina!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

LOL, have that 3rd margarita! There’s no time like then to down some alcohol haha 😉

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne August 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

So, I pretty do all these! The bra one is essential lol, if it’s tight there, I probably need to cut back on my indulgences. But most the time I just do it one how I feel overall, and how my clothes are fighting. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed myself, and I use to be one of those people who weighed themselves ALL the time. Great post :). Oh, and I nominated you for the Leibster Award 🙂

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:25 am

Thank you again for the nomination 🙂 So thoughtful!

I used to weigh myself all the time too but it seems silly now. Your weight will fluctuate each day and after meals, even a big glass of water can up you a half pound. So it’s better to use other health markers I think 🙂

Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat August 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

This is a great post Leslee! It definitely is not about the number on the scale. Health means so much more than that! I measure my health by how well I do at Zumba class, how often I get a workout it, by how I feel mentally and physically and by the kinds of foods I eat. These things are way more important than that number!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

That’s awesome! I’ve never taken a Zumba class, but I enjoy my Zumba for Wii game. It allows me the privilege of looking like a loon/awful dancer in the privacy of my own home haha

Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures August 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

And this is reason number 3243094832084 we are bloggy besties! I absolutely agree wholeheartedly with all of these ways of ‘measurement’! I step on the scale from time to time to ensure I’m not all over the place (I’m usually not) but otherwise, it’s about how I feel and how my clothes feel. I don’t buy new clothes because I’m always broke, so it is imperative to stay within the same size range! Also, I’m with you on the food thing. My body is loud and aggressive toward me when I consume really greasy, unhealthy things. I don’t blame it, either.
I love taking the stairs! And you saw at my apartment, I have to take a ton of them to deal with the Senator! Coming off of a vacation, I am huffing and puffing a lot more than I am during a normal week when I climb those 6 flights… 🙂
Great post bloggy buddy it’s really well put together. 🙂 I think it’s important to focus on lots of things regarding health, not a number on a damn machine. 🙂
Today’s math is really hard, by the way…. ugh!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

Sorry the math was hard today haha! 🙂 Your comment posted so you pass blogging math 101, A+! And OF COURSE we are bloggy bests! We know whats up 🙂 lova ya pretty girl.

Ashley from Sweaty Girl in a Fur-Covered World August 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

You have no idea how much I needed this today. Seriously.

And to think I’d never have found you or your blog if not for being a Delta Labs Ambassador… Go #TeamDeltaLabs!

I kinda feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon due to my recent health issues. Forbidden to exercise somehow translated into me thinking I need to stuff my face. I haven’t gain any weight back but I can see and feel the changes in my body. I’m less firm. My reflux is acting up, I’m breaking out, I’m tired, and my entire mood has taken a change for the worse. Our health is so much more than a number on the scale!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:40 am

Hi Ashley, so nice to “meet” you! Yay, go #teamdeltalabs! Haha 🙂

I’m sorry to hear about some recent health developments for you, I hope everything gets back on track and in ship shape soon. It’s never fun to be out of commission. We all fall into those funks of eating less than healthy foods, it’s okay though. You already realize that it’s an issue and now you can change it 🙂 Our health is DEFINITELY a whole lot more than just a number. All the best, looking forward to hearing more from you and your blog! 🙂

meredith August 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

I don’t own a scale and can’t even recall the last time I stepped on one. I measure my health by getting my period regularly – my body has been known to shut that down if I am running too much or not eating enough to compensate for the calories I burn…I also “check-in” with my jeans regularly to make sure they still fit the same. I love to wear leggings which can leave you with a false sense of your size lol. By checking in with jeans, I make sure I haven’t lost weight or gained. If they start to feel different, I reassess my diet/exercise routine.

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

That’s a very good point. I’ve never had too much of an issue with regularity, but occasionally if I start gaining weight and exercising less I get more crampy, and if I workout too much and don’t eat enough I have late periods. That’s a great health marker.

Brittany August 28, 2013 at 11:13 am

PANTS! If my pants are getting snug (which they ARE!) I know it’s time to change something. Like maybe eat one cupcake instead of 13. I love this list!!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

Lol, we have all been there girl. Especially with yoga pants…because those things always fit and then we put on jeans and are like Woah, Nelly! maybe 4 cupcakes will suffice 🙂

Lauren August 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

I have gotten better at tuning into how my body feelings but I have a long way to go. For so long, I pushed myself through workouts when my body was tired. Now, though, I’ve been eating better and exercising in different ways and I can tell a difference! It doesn’t matter whether you run 18 miles a day, you need to feel GOOD about yourself. A number can never do it.

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:44 am

So true, wise words! Unfortunately, we all seem to have to go through our own individual struggles to realize that the number doesn’t matter as much as our overall feeling with ourselves. So glad you’re in a great place 🙂

Jess @ JessieBear What Will You Wear? August 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Love this! I totally do the bra thing!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:44 am

Seriously, bras don’t lie haha!

Rebekah @ fitnesscreatures August 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

First of all – I’ve missed you immensely! I hope you had a wonderful super amazing vacation! I can’t wait to go to Charleston this weekend with Meghan and our boys 🙂 last hoorah! Second – I love this post. I’ve been thinking about this lately – the whole scale thing vs everything else. I’ve never been one to be too obsessed over my weight (I didn’t weigh myself for like 4 months last year), but I’ve been focusing on strength training all of August. I’ve watched my weight increase by 7 solid lbs but I feel better and I think my body looks better. I realize that I’ve gained muscle and I’m good with that if it means I can lift heavier 🙂 I miss those bad foods less and less every time I eat them and feel like absolute dog shit. They’re fun in moderation, but otherwise they’re just a hindrance to my goal to be as healthy as possible. Great post! Thank you 🙂 Come home to Atlanta where you belong, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:49 am

YAY! I missed you too, I. Gru! I want to be in Charleston with you amazing people, but alas I will be here in good ol’ filthadelphia! Lol. It’s all good 🙂

MASSIVE props for 7lbs of new muscle. Can you say beast?! That’s so ridiculously impressive. It just goes to show you that all of your hard work paid off 🙂

We will need to have a blogger meet-up again soon. I miss my Atlanta peoples. Seriously, we need to talk more. I feel deprived of yours and Meghan’s life. It’s hard to be a stage 5 clinger friend when I am so many miles away! Kidding! But seriously…

Alex @ therunwithin August 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

what a great post and totally reflects a healthy relationship you are building with yourself. way to go!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:44 am

Thanks, Alex! I’m happy about the place I’m at now 🙂

Beth @ Mangoes and Miles August 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I love this post! Laughing at the bra one–I never realized it, but that’s actually a pretty good indicator! Especially because one of the areas we lose/gain weight most quickly is our boobies. 🙂 I especially love this: “I measure my health in my desire to eat healthier foods over processed junk.” I used to NEED something sweet (cookies…chocolate…what have you) after lunch and dinner, but now I’m completely fine going without it. I still indulge in sweets because well, they’re tasty, but it’s nice not feeling like I’m dependent on it!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

That’s awesome that you’re craving the sweets less. Sugar is an addictive little particle, the more you have, the more you want. Also, why must we lose weight in our boobies?! I need it there! Haha 🙂

Maureen August 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

The bra fit is a good indicator for me. It can get expensive, but that’s always the first area I notice a change.

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

Seriously! Bras are pricey, no one wants to have to buy a new size!

Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom August 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I agree with all of the above! I also measure my health in happiness. If I’m happy with my life in general and with my body, then I know I’m healthy.

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

That’s true too! You always have to take mental health into account with your happiness factor.

Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen August 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Such great takeaways. It’s so easy to get caught up with the scale, but you’re right, there are so many other ways to measure health. I almost never eat processed foods, but today, I had several of these mini Little Debby mini doughnuts, and I feel so sluggish. It’s weird how much our bodies are affected by crappy food!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

Right?! When you start consistently feeding your body good, healthy fuels it becomes a bit intolerant to the crappy ones. And the same goes for the other way, if you feed it junk it gets used to junk and craves it.

GiGi Eats Celebrities August 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm

I measure my health in how I feel. If I am having a bad day, I ask myself: did I sleep okay the night before, did I eat something that’s not right with me, did someone do something to me that I am not happy with?

Being happy is the ultimate in being healthy 🙂

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:52 am

Yes, being happy IS the ultimate in being healthy. It sounds like you have a really healthy relationship with your self constantly evaluating why you feel a certain way. We have to make ourselves a priority 🙂

Bezzymates August 29, 2013 at 12:20 am

Really great post. I measure my health through all thses ways, especially eating fresh, home cooked meals. The most important way is that I am mindful of my stress levels. I try not to sweat the small stuff, be good to others and be good to myself.

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

Home cooked meals really are a great way for us to control what we put into our bodies. I always try to opt for healthy menu options, but you never really know what you’re being served completely.

Monitoring stress is major! Good for you for staying on top of it! That’s something I need to work on more.

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake August 29, 2013 at 6:37 am

Great post! 🙂 I definitely go by how my clothes fit! My scale currently needs new batteries, but I’m in no rush…

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thanks, Erica! 🙂

How our clothes fit really is a tried and true sign of how we’re maintaining our bodies. When everything seems to be where it should be, it’s a nice little confidence boost. Yay for not caring about the scale! 😉

Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness August 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

oohhh great post! and great question- i think like you i dont measure it in just one way, its a whole bunch of factors. however, i dont own a scale, so thats out. i measure it in terms of energy levels, mental clarity, how my clothes feel (thats so funny about bras specifically!), and also everything else you mentioned!

Her Happy Balance August 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

That’s awesome that you don’t own a scale, seriously, super cool. Mental clarity is definitely worth noting. – stress levels and our happiness are things we have to keep tracking!

Amanda @runtothefinish August 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

love this post!!! I definitely spent years thinking the scale meant healthy, but now it’s about what my body can do and man that feels so much better

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