Can You Be Healthier Without Losing Weight?

These seven people picked up healthier lifestyles, but the scale hasn't budged.

Shelly Strazis/Getty Images

When most people start a weight loss plan, they typically have a goal weight in mind. They may do regular weigh-ins with the scale to track the rate at which the pounds peel off.

The crazy thing is, even though your clothes might fit better and you feel lighter, sometimes the scale will stubbornly stay put. It's demoralizing, sure, but also a good reminder not to get too hung up on what the number says. 

Other ways to measure your progress don't involve the scale. That can include increased strength and endurance, changes in body-fat composition ratio, and if you just feel healthier overall.

Don't believe it's possible to be healthier without seeing it reflected on the scale? Take it from these five people who posted before-and-after images on social media to explain what they learned when this happened to them.

"In both of these pictures I weighed 160 lbs, this is the difference over a year of CrossFit had on my body," Instagram user @kari.leigh said. "I gained a lot of strength and lost body fat. The best part was I felt incredible too! I stopped stressing about the scale so much and just focused on how I felt. It boosted my confidence and allowed me to get to know myself better."

"The number on the scale is only one unit of measurement," @fitness_cara captioned these photos of herself, both of which showed her at 127 lbs. "I recently stopped caring about the number and celebrating it, it is so freeing not letting this number control me!"

"Honestly I think the biggest factor is just time," @em_wizzfit wrote. "Being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself, bit by bit slowly adds up. My confidence has never had anything to do with my weight or my body shape, but my perception of myself. [That's] what you need to work on."

"And this is why the scale should not be the main measurement of progress or health," @shapebynat shared. "The scale does not differentiate between muscle, fat, water, and organs. I am the same weight between these two photos, but my body composition and health is a whole lot different."

"This is why you shouldn't depend on the scales when you're working out!" @laurapattison_fit shared. "I have so much more muscle definition now & look completely different, yet weigh the same. Our bodies are incredible!"

How to Track Progress Without the Scale

The scale isn't the only way to track your progress. If you are making healthy choices and working toward your fitness goal, you may notice other changes that don't involve the scale.

You may feel happier and less stressed. According to Harvard Health, exercise works as well as antidepressants for some people with depression. That's because exercise releases chemicals in the body called endorphins which relieve pain and create an overall feeling of well-being.

You may also feel stronger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), muscle-strengthening activities increase muscle mass and strength. So even if you don't notice any difference on the scale, you may feel stronger.

A Quick Review

These seven people felt healthier and stronger due to different lifestyle changes. Yet, the scale hadn't budged for them at all. So, if you are currently on a journey to become more fit and healthy, you don't always need to rely on the scale for feedback.

If you have changed your workout or dietary patterns, but your weight hasn't changed, that doesn't mean that you aren't becoming a healthier version of yourself. If you feel stronger and healthier, you are on your way to the healthy lifestyle you're reaching for.

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