Fun fact: For most of my life I thought that measure was pronounced meh-zure and not may-zure. Apparently I got it from my mother and I’m just glad she didn’t pronounce it mee-zure. Regardless of my pronunciation issues, here are some easy tips on how to leverage different measuring techniques to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and more importantly, your sanity!

Measure everything

This tracking trick has been around since the dawn of dieting (cue moment of silence to reflect on the fact that dieting wasn’t always a thing) and I know this because when I began weighing out my food I used an ancient artifact (one my mom still uses to this day) to do it. It looks like this:

Weight Watchers scale

There’s a reason this oldie is still a mustie and that’s because, like all good things that stand the test of time, it works! I don’t care how many pinned infographics there are claiming using your hand as a portion control device makes sense, it doesn’t. Spend $16, get a digital scale and start using it to make more informed choices about your portion sizes.

Measure twice, eat once

But measuring sucks! I know. And let’s be real here, it’s not because of the bullshit excuse we tell ourselves about measuring being time intensive or tedious—it takes about 3 extra seconds people! Measuring sucks because you realize just how puny a “serving” of chips really is. What am I, a toddler with a tiny, toddler stomach? Give me a break! This is why sometimes you are more than justified in measuring twice and eating once.

Two measured servings of chips is better than the half a bag you’d eat if you dug straight in. Two ounces of cheese on your homemade pizza is WAY better than piling it on willy-nilly or saying f*** it all and getting delivery. Recommended serving sizes are often unrealistic bullshit carefully presented to make foods look a lot better for you than they are (I’m looking at you individually wrapped muffin that claims ¼ of it qualifies as a serving). Pshhh…you don’t feed a child a recommended adult serving size and you shouldn’t feel like you deserve a one-size-fits-all treatment either. Choosing awareness over denial and deprivation will make a huge difference in reaching your goals and keeping your sanity.

Get rid of that other scale

When I first took control of my health I didn’t exercise at all. I started eating right and the weight fell off rather quickly—25 pounds over a few months. Then I started weight lifting and my weight crept up and up and up. Today, I am only 5 pounds lighter than I was when I was diagnosed with diabetes yet my clothes from 20 pounds ago still fit and my test results come back in the “normal” range not just the “normal for diabetics” range they did back then.

Muscle and fat are total opposites: fat is big, muscle is small; fat stores calories, muscle burn them; fat works against you and muscle works for you. I assume most of us have seen this comparison but it never ceases to remind me just how little the scale should matter:

fat size vs. muscle

The scale can be your worst enemy when you start working out. It tells you nothing is working, you’re eating too much, not working out enough and you’ll never get to that goal weight you arbitrarily picked because it sounds nice on paper. No other parts of our lives are rated based on one stupid measurement so why do we give the scale so much power to tell us whether or not we’re successful when it comes to health and beauty?

Combat this bullshit by recording as many success metrics as you can. Rely on less volatile things like body fat percentage, body measurements and the number of pounds you can lift over your head to show your progress. The more things you track, the more places you’ll have to see improvement and the more motivated you’ll be to keep moving forward.

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