We’ve all done it: stepped onto a small platform hoping to find satisfaction in the number indicated on the dial. The scale, for many, can be seen as a mechanism of determination. Not of your weight, of course, but of your self-worth.

Well, full stop—it’s not true. The number indicated on the scale is not a measure of your worth, your health or anything particularly noteworthy.

Using the scale—and by extension, your weight—as a measure of success in your fitness journey can impede your results. This can have an impact on your mental well-being when, in reality, there are other measures that more clearly indicate your accomplishments.

A number of factors influence body weight, and when you are in the process of changing your body through fitness and a healthy diet, your weight can and will fluctuate.

If training effectively, you are likely adding muscle, and with muscle being denser than body fat, this will almost certainly skew your body weight. Beyond this, your body’s fluid balance, changing hormones and even your body’s waste can all impact the number on the scale.

Your body weight is often a terrible depiction of your overall health. If you are practising positive behaviours in fitness and nutrition, then you will be making a beneficial impact on your body and your health, regardless of what the number on the scale tells you.

So, what are some ways to measure your progress without referring to the number on the scale? There’s a ton of flexibility here, as long as they make you proud of your accomplishments.

Some examples are more concrete depending on what you are looking for, like hitting personal bests in weight when you’re lifting or activities that train your heart and lungs or tracking your commitment to your fitness and nutrition plans.

Other measures may be more subjective and focus on how you feel—but that certainly doesn’t make them any less real! Do you see positive changes in your body? Do you feel more energetic, flexible, strong and confident? Do you feel good about the changes you’re making and the progress you’re seeing?

Focusing on these measures, instead of the number on the scale, is a great way to ensure that you’re making real strides toward your fitness goals, which contributes to your engagement in the process.

There are too many factors—and too many of them are beyond your control—to use body weight as a measure of your progress. Find the things that make you feel great about your health and your body, and work to improve in those areas continuously, so you can have longevity in your engagement to the healthy behaviours that are contributing to your goals!