Undertaking a fitness program is a great way to not just lose weight but to become healthier and stronger as well. Many ailments can be staved off by simply becoming fitter and having stronger immunity. One important element in achieving fitness goals is proper diet.
What is a ‘proper diet’?
A proper or healthy diet is characterised by:
- Low sugar salt intake
- A range of food items including fruit, vegetables and whole grain
- A balanced amount of protein, fats and carbs
- The right amount of calories for energy
- Essential micronutrients and
- Plenty of water
While following such a diet, it is possible and even essential to measure the progress that one is making on the fitness plan.
A good fitness goal or project will be quantifiable and time bound. Thus a fitness goal might read, for instance in the following manner “I will lose 15 pounds in 6 months starting from May 1st 2012”. Progress towards this goal can be measured by:
Using the weighing scales sensibly
It is not necessary to measure one’s weight every day for there may be so many other factors contributing to weight loss or weight gain. However, it is necessary to maintain a record of one’s weight every day and a weekly check can be done. Ideally, a healthy weight loss will be in the vicinity of around 1 or 1.5 pounds every week.
Using the tape measure
A good diet will also help in inch loss and this can be measured by noting one’s girth across specific places like the chest, hips, waist, thighs, calves and forearms. You can make tabular columns and note the measurements every week to see the inches coming off steadily.
Taking progress photographs
Wear a swimsuit and photograph yourself every week in it. If possible, take photographs from different angles so you can see the progress being made. It is also helpful to take photographs in a normal pair of jeans and a tee shirt and you can then see the clothes becoming looser as you grow slimmer!
Assessing stamina levels
At the beginning of your diet note how much time it takes to perform a physical activity before you get tired. For instance, get on the treadmill and walk for 10 minutes at a specific incline and/or speed setting and measure your heartbeat. Repeat this exercise every week and monitor how much your heartbeat increases and more importantly, how long it takes to come back to normal. Over a period of time you will see improvement in both aspects. You will complete the ten minutes with greater ease and your heartbeat will also return to normal in a shorter span of time.
The flexibility test
With the proper diet, the body also becomes more flexible losing an inch around the stomach region. A flexibility test can help measure progress. Stand straight and without bending your knees touch your toes by your hands. Perhaps initially your hands can only make it to the level of your knees but over time, with the inches melting away from the midriff, you can touch your toes and even lay your hands flat on the floor.