You’ve incorporated a few of the key elements to becoming a healthier and fitter you into your life. You’ve established a killer workout routine. Your meals are clean, lean and mean. Your stress levels are controlled. And last but not least you’ve mastered recovery. There’s one problem though: You’ve weighed yourself and the number hasn’t dropped. In fact, it’s increased. Oh, the horror! Now you’re feeling as if your efforts are going to waste and second guessing your new lifestyle. If your goal is to improve your health, then get off the scale. Obsessing over the numbers each and every time you stand on your scale is just as unhealthy as having a cheat meal as every meal.

Unfortunately, most people associate health with weight. The scale is not your friend nor is it as useful as you may think though. If you’re keeping track of your weight for a specific sports event, then fine, keep on keeping track of your scale. If not, then you’ll wear yourself out fixating on a number. What you should be doing is looking at what that number consists of.

When you step on a scale, you’re not only weighing your fat, but you’re also throwing on water weight, bones, muscles, waste, and tissue. The number will discourage you, especially if it’s not the number you want to see, making you feel like you’ve been wasting your time and would much rather be reaching for your favorite junk food than a dumbbell ever again. What it doesn’t tell you is that your organs are appreciating the health conscious decisions you’re making. It doesn’t tell you how great you’re feeling. And it certainly doesn’t tell you how much fat you’ve lost versus how much muscle you’ve gained. It’s only a scale after all.

When I first started my fitness and health journey I myself was in disbelief at the numbers and measurements. I started off at about 145 lbs (65.77 kg), with about 25% body fat. I ate clean and trained hard but the number on the scale kept going up. I was extremely confused at the numbers because I never felt so great or had so much energy. I was swimming in my clothes too. But the number on the scale was telling me to try harder, push further and eat less. Here’s what I discovered though: If you skip out on the scale, there are more ways to help you keep track of your progress. You can take pictures of your body pre- and post workout and assess the growth from day one onward. Take your measurements too, making sure to be aware of how your clothes fit before, after and during your journey. But most importantly, get a greater sense of how you’re feeling. If you are seeking to live an active and healthy life, numbers aren’t important. Today I stand at 12% body fat weighing at 160 lbs (72.6 kg) I wouldn’t have been able to maintain this lifestyle had I spent time obsessing over numbers. But I feel great and love how I look. And that’s all that matters.