Weight loss can be an incredibly frustrating way to track your progress with Paleo. Weight doesn't go down in a straight line - it sometimes plateaus for weeks and then suddenly drops all at once, or even goes up before going back down, even if you stuck to your plan the whole time. Over 6 months or a year, the trend is in a downward direction, but the day-to-day fluctuations are infuriating.
And not everyone even wants to lose weight in the first place. Plenty of people start Paleo for non-weight-related reasons!
So take a look at 5 non-scale Paleo victories that deserve celebration. These are all signs that Paleo is improving your health, even if the scale number is bouncing up and down like a ping-pong ball.
1. Getting off Medication
Modern prescription drugs are scientifically impressive and it’s really great that we have them for people who need them. But the ideal situation is not to need them in the first place: powerful drugs often have powerful side effects (sometimes including weight gain), and depending on your health insurance situation they can be really expensive.
A better diet can help reduce the need for everything from heartburn meds to insulin. Even without getting off a drug completely, reducing the dose can be huge for toning down the side effects, or just marking your progress from “sick” to “healthy” – even if you don’t lose a single pound.
(Obligatory boring disclaimer: Paleo Leap is not a doctor; don’t go off any medication without talking to your doctor)
2. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is hard on your cardiovascular system and a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in the long run. Lower blood pressure is a sign of overall better cardiovascular health and lower risk for heart problems down the line.
You can measure blood pressure very easily yourself at home. Most drugstores carry blood pressure cuffs and they’re pretty cheap. So pick one up and start taking measurements. If you had high blood pressure pre-Paleo and now it’s normal, that’s a huge victory, regardless of what the number on the scale is (or isn't) doing!
3. Better Sleep
Better sleep is a huge victory – it can really make all the difference in how you feel day-to-day. And sleeping well sets you up for even more victories down the line. Sleep is the foundation of good stress management, it’s critical for weight loss, gut health, metabolic health, and insulin sensitivity. If you’re sleeping better, celebrate it! On top of feeling good for its own sake, it might be the first step towards other benefits later.
4. Better Skin
This one might sound vain, but it isn’t. Skin health isn’t unrelated to whole-body health! So if your skin is improving, it might be a sign that…
- Your gut is healing (read more about the gut-skin connection here)
- Your insulin sensitivity is improving (acne in particular is often caused by insulin spikes)
- You’re eating more antioxidants, which is reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in your body.
Basically, that healthy skin "glow” is a sign of good things happening under the hood. It’s a sign of significant progress, and it should give you reason to be proud of yourself.
5. Fitness Gains
Can you run further than you could? Bike faster? Lift more weight? All those things are improvements in your fitness, and fitness has health benefits of its own totally unrelated to weight or weight loss.
Exercise improves cardiovascular health, hormone balance, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, sleep, mental health, and digestive health. If you’re getting fitter, it’s a sign that you’re in the sweet spot of exercise, where you’re doing enough to challenge yourself and grow, but not enough to overwhelm your body or cause burnout. Getting fitter is an outward sign that your exercise routine is on point, and that you’re probably getting all those other benefits of exercise as well.
Celebrate fitness as a Paleo victory, regardless of what the scale says - it's a sign that your body is getting healthier.
Of course, there are tons of other non-scale victories (1 week or month without a binge, less joint pain, fewer allergy symptoms, more energy, better mental health in general...) - you might even have some that are specific to you. What's your favorite non-scale victory? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!