Health Metrics – Use Multiple Metrics to Gauge Your Health Levels

When you are trying to lose weight you will hit plateaus such that no matter how much you starve/exercise/pray/swear the scales don’t move. (Think about this: bariatric patients typically don’t eat more than 800 calories per day  will have these kinds of stalls).

People call these weight loss stalls or weight loss plateaus and tend to think of them as failures.

I don’t see them that way. Instead, when I am not GAINING weight (fat), I am very happy.

Also, you should be using multiple measures of your health besides just your scale weight.

You can track your sleep, steps, blood pressure, fasting glucose, after a meal or post-prandial glucose,  bench press and so forth.

Here are the things I measure: heart rate, steps, blood pressure, pushups, deep and rem sleep, and fasting glucose (anyone can buy a glucose meter and strips to check this – it’s just much cheaper with a prescription and insurance).

Now with all these measurements, if I continue to eat right and exercise, some of them will “stall” (be maintained) but some of them will improve.

I do multiple measurements of the items that can vary. Scales are notoriously variable. On my scales, I step on them several times first thing in the morning, with the same amount of clothing.

They are digital, which I trust less than analog. So I weigh, but then I will either have someone else weigh, or weigh an object to shake up the numbers, then I weight again, then a third time.

I accept the LOWEST number! The lowest number always sticks in my head, and when I hit a new low number I claim a victory. When possible, do multiple measures. This lets you see the variance and gives you a better idea of your true score.

What I don’t do is consider a day when I maintain my weight a setback. Nor am I discouraged by that. Ultimately the goal is to find a weight that I can maintain with a lifestyle I enjoy.

Something else I do is I set range for my weight. For a long time, my range was 230-235. Then I dropped to 225-230. My current range is 210-215. That 215 is a hard number, that under no circumstances do I want to go over. If I go over that number then I will evaluate what is happening to cause me to gain, and take extra measures to get back to my range.

I think that if you can drop your weight by five pounds and then maintain that weight for 2-3 weeks, it allows the body to set its “fat thermostat” to your new weight and your appetite and metabolism will adjust. That’s wild speculation.

In any case, I think by using multiple measures of success while continuing your regime of diet and exercise, the chances of you being stuck on any one measure get way lower. This helps you stay motivated.

Make a spreadsheet and track all your metrics. Make a field for date and time, and a field for the measure. Excel makes a workbook which can have multiple sheets. So I dedicate a unique sheet for each indicator I am measuring . So one sheet for heart rate, one for blood pressure etc. Then we I have enough data I do an x, y plot to see my trends over time. That is a very fun thing.  It’s rewarding and motivation to see glucose readings drop 50 points over six weeks, for example.

Now, how do you stay motivated once you reach your goal?

Thinking in terms of goals might not be the best approach.




This is the WordPress blog of David Prince.