While working towards your health and fitness goals, you might assume that the number on the scale will be going down to reflect your efforts. And often that is the case, but if it’s your only focus and you’re working hard but not seeing a difference, it’s time to look at these other areas of your health as an indicator of your progress.


If you’ve been eating a healthier diet of whole foods and less processed items, you’ve probably noticed that your cravings for junk food have reduced or even subsided altogether. It’s really easy to get addicted to sugars and stimulants, but it’s also possible for your body to get addicted to healthy food as well. A good test is to make a list of the top five foods you once craved on a regular basis, then after two weeks of eating cleaner, see if you still crave them.


No, not on the scale, the numbers on the weights in your hands. If you notice your regular dumbbell or barbell of choice just doesn’t seem like a challenge anymore, that means you’re getting stronger! Remember that muscles need calories, so the more muscle you have, the more calories they’re going to burn up.


Studies have shown that exercise boosts your baseline energy levels and keeps you from getting fatigued. So while you might still be feeling spent at the end of your workout, this is a good thing-if it’s too easy and you don’t feel like you have worked out, then you’re not challenging yourself. With training, you’ll notice that you recover faster or can last longer in your daily activities like playtime with the kids. Regular exercise also helps you sleep better, so you’ll get an extra kick of energy from a solid night’s sleep.


Along with your energy levels, you’ll notice a rise in your positive emotions, and how could you not? Working out releases endorphins which make you happy, and studies have shown that improving your physical health also increases your mood. Keep an eye out for signs like an improved outlook, less stress and more kindness.


One of the best indicators that you’re getting fitter is how your clothes are fitting. As your body changes, muscles will sit differently than fat, so as you replace the latter with the former, clothing will fit differently. So even if the scale isn’t moving, you’ll start to notice your freshly-washed jeans are easier to pull on; or maybe the sleeves of your shirt are a little snug in the biceps area, where you don’t mind your shirt being snug.

When it comes to being fitter, the biggest changes won’t necessarily be the number on the scale. The changes in your lifestyle, your outlook on life and the way you feel will tell the whole story of your journey so far.