Healthy habits are wonderful things to develop at any time in life. However, they’re not always easily measured by weight or any other physical measurements. So, how can you tell if your healthier habits are working?
We asked some healthy habit experts for their thoughts on what signs they look for when they’re implementing some new healthy habits into their daily lives. Their answers ranged from physical responses to the habits to mental health improvements. Take a look at the many signs that your healthier habits are working:
Cravings can be one of the more difficult things to overcome when creating healthy habits. Ingredients like sugars, carbs, and caffeine can actually be addictive. Your body rewards the input of these substances with neurological stimulation that tells your brain that you did something good. However, foods high in these ingredients are often low in the nutritional areas we should be seeking out for healthier habits.
“Cutting out processed foods and their sugars can lead to some pretty intense cravings,” says Rio Wolff, Chief Operations Officer of Big Heart Toys. “It’s a really hard thing to accomplish, but once you make it to the point of not craving those junk foods you’ll know that your healthy habits are working and THAT is a good feeling.”
Creating healthy habits can be a large undertaking depending on how aggressively you’re changing your routine. Even a small change can leave you thinking about the things you’re not allowed to enjoy anymore. This is undeniably one of the hardest parts of creating healthy habits. However, once they become a habit, it won’t feel like work anymore.
“Healthy habits take a while to become your new ‘normal’” says Ray Leon, CEO of Pet Insurance Review. “However, when that day arrives and you realize that you no longer feel like it’s a second job to maintain your healthy habits, you’ll know that all that hard work has paid off. See, the goal isn’t just to create habits but to establish a healthy lifestyle. Once your new ‘normal’ is a healthy life, things will be much easier to manage because you’ll be seeing all of the other benefits of the changes as well.”
Healthy habits, whether they’re focused on exercise, nutrition, or a combination of factors, can help increase your energy levels. Energy is often gained when the body is being fueled and trained to operate at a higher performance level which can be an excellent motivating factor for people looking to create healthy habits.
“At the start of a new health initiative, you’ll often feel energized and motivated by the idea of getting healthy,” says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor of Personal Trainer Pioneer. “However, that’s often followed by a quick decline in energy levels as your body tries to adapt to this new routine. You’ll know your healthier habits are working when you feel those energy levels jump back up and exceed your previous levels. Often, this makes it much easier to continue the healthy habits because you have more energy to commit to them.”
Your natural sleep patterns are influenced by the choices you make each day. While some people may swear that caffeine, sugar, and other factors don’t affect their sleep, it’s usually true that cutting excess unhealthy foods and beverages from a diet will improve sleep quality. Exercise and healthy habits often lead to more restful and productive sleep patterns.
“Just because you’re not lying awake at night doesn’t mean that you’re getting a good night’s sleep,” says Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. “A lot of people think that just because they’re not waking at night, they’re sleeping well. However, this isn’t always the case. You can optimize your circadian rhythm through healthy habits and make sleep more efficient and beneficial for your body.
It’s no secret that fat and muscle sit on your body in very different ways. Muscle tends to be denser and leaner than fat so even if you don’t see your scale showing a large change, you can often notice that your healthy habits are working by how your clothing is fitting.
“It can be really hard to stay motivated if you’re trying to lose weight and that number isn’t dropping as quickly as you’d like,” says Dr. Payel Gupta, CMO and Co-Founder of Cleared. “We also have a really hard time judging our weight loss by looking in the mirror because it’s such a slow progression and we see ourselves every day. Instead of judging your progress solely on appearance and the number on a scale, take note of how your clothes are fitting. This is usually one of the first signs your healthy habits are working.”
Healthy habits are about more than getting in shape or losing weight. They’re about improving your life in many ways. As you are taking care of your body and learning to appreciate all that it does for you, you’ll often gain confidence. This confidence is a great way to measure the fact that your healthier habits are growing.
“There are a ton of different ways to measure how your healthy habits work for your body,” says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “Your self-esteem and confidence should be prioritized just as highly as any other measurement. If your healthy habits aren’t making you feel like a happier, more confident version of yourself, then are they really working?”
There are a bunch of different signs that your healthier habits are working. Obviously you can check your weight and other body measurements, but these aren’t the only indicators. You can look for many other signs that your healthier habits are working.
Some of these signs of successful healthy habits are physical signs. Your clothes may start to fit better and you will notice an improvement in things like sleep quality and energy levels. These can be very encouraging and help you keep moving forward.
There are other signs as well that might not be as physically noticeable, but healthy habits should help your mental health too. You’ll notice that you may feel more confident about yourself or that these healthy habits no longer feel like a chore. You also may notice that you’re not craving things like sugar and caffeine as you once were because your body has adjusted and your brain no longer craves the positive reinforcement that it receives from those inputs.