January is here and we are all being bombarded with ways in which we are supposed to be making ourselves new and fresh for the year to come. Cough 'the new year, new me' shenanigans cough. It can be an incredibly overwhelming and triggering time of year to be in recovery (or to just be in a body in general). I have compiled a list of ways that you can measure your health that have nothing to do with your weight. We can use these measurements to gauge our health in a way that doesn't feel like a "resolution," but rather a shift in mindset.
Consistency with Self-Care Habits Are you able to more consistently do the things that take care of you? This can mean things such as personal hygiene, sleep habits, household chores, attending therapy, journaling, meditating, or taking time to do things that you enjoy and that make you feel more at peace.
This one can be tricky. When we talk about movement and how to use that in order to measure our health, we want to be sure that we are thinking about ability and not aesthetic. Athletic levels. These can mean: Perceived Endurance, Speed, Strength, Power, Agility, Flexibility. What can your body do? Have you noticed that when you stretch you are able to get closer to your toes? Have you noticed that when you do a particular activity you are feeling less tired? Have you had to increase the weights that you pick up when you perform certain movements? These are all ways to measure your health in movement that have nothing to do with weight or measuring inches!
Metrics (other than weight or measurements) Measurements other than weight that we can look at in order to gauge our health - they do exist (said in Buddy the Elf voice... yes, after Christmas)! This would mean looking at values like your complete blood panel, your metabolic panel, your heart rate and blood pressure... labs in general to see how those values are changing.
Are you feeling more able to handle anxiety provoking situations? Or more comfortable talking to other people? This can also look like being willing to get outside of your comfort zone and actually doing it. Are you able to focus more? Or to think more clearly/logically about things? This can also look like feeling more calm or feeling a shift in your mental health issues that feel like a positive change... such as a lifting of depression/anxiety or a move closer to a neutral alignment.
Body Oriented Things
Have you noticed a change in the rate of your hair growth? Are you maintaining thermoregulation (did you used to be cold all of the time and now you notice that you're better able to maintain your body temp)? Has your skin changed? Are you noticing less rashes or dry skin? Or that your body is healing at a faster rate when you sustain a cut or other abrasion (I know it can be gross to think about scabs etc. but that's a real way to measure your health!)? If you are prone to osteoporotic issues - have you had a DEXA scan that shows an improvement or a halt in the progression of those issues?
Comfort Levels around Food Are you more comfortable around food? Are you more comfortable in the kitchen? Are you able to go out to eat and order a food item or adjust your order if something is unavailable without it feeling like a crisis? Are you able to incorporate foods outside of your comfort zone? For example, if someone brings cookies into work are you able to have as many cookies as it feels comfortable to have?
There are so many ways to look at your health - perhaps your 'new year, new me' resolution can be 'new year, no scale'?