By Chris Freytag, for Sharecare Here's a better way to measure belly fat.
If you vacillate from triumph to despair depending on those three numbers on the scale, remember that your weight can vary depending on the time of the month and other factors. A more accurate gauge of how you are managing your weight is to put on and zip up those jeans in your closet. Your jeans could suddenly be baggy (score!), fit as they always have (terrific!), suddenly be snug (red flag!) or be too tight to get on (alarm bell for behavior change!).
Just as I advise people to find out their body composition-ratio of body fat to lean muscle--jeans also can give you a better assessment of how you are doing than your scale does. Head into your closet and find out how your jeans fit.
Your body is the only place you have to live
Don't get me wrong, I am not talking vanity and all things shallow here. I am talking about your health. You only get one body. How are you treating it? Do you make choices all day long without thinking, telling yourself you will worry about weight gain later? Or do you assess how your decisions will impact your waistline every time you make one? Like it or not, your body constantly gives a first impression of you. Do you like what it is saying?
More important than what your appearance says to others, what does it do to you? Are you proud of yourself? Do you feel energetic and healthy? Or do you cringe when you are getting dressed and try and hide how you feel under your clothes? If you don't like what your appearance says about you or you feel like the real you hasn't emerged yet on the outside--decide now to change.
Loose clothes can mean loose choices
Comfortable clothes often mean your food choices will be too comfortable as well. I saw an ad for pajama jeans recently and thought, "Oh, c'mon!" We really don't need to enable indulgent behavior. How easy do we want to make it for ourselves to overeat? Do you really want to (or have to) wear something that's stretch fit?
If you put on a pair of your jeans and they are little snug, you probably won't say yes to dessert. If you just consumed a big meal and you are sporting a pair of stretchy, elastic waistband pants, you are more likely to say yes to that dessert because you are comfortable.
Strive to love how you look
You can always tell what part of the body people don't like by what they choose to cover up. Instead of covering up, commit to change. You can decide to make different decisions so you won't have a body or body part you want to hide. One of the biggest mood boosts resulting from weight loss or staying fit is enjoying getting dressed in the morning. It's a simple thing, but people beam about loving clothes after getting fit because that daily activity makes them feel good about their choices and results!
Strive to feel comfortable because you are fit--not because you are hiding in sweatpants. Just think, there's no hiding in skinny jeans. Why would you want to?
Chris Freytag is a nationally recognized health and wellness expert with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She is a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, weight management coach, published author and speaker, and serves as chairman of the board for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
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