Welcome to The Healthy Catholic moms podcast where we make moving and nourishing our bodies the priority, so that we not only fulfill our vocations, but excel in our callings. I’m Brittany Pearson, a Catholic wife, mom, personal trainer, and I’m here to help you build healthy habits that actually fit your life. I am here to teach you how to get the results that you want and maintain the results that you want without spending hours at the gym, or meal prepping all weekend long. I understand I am right here with you getting my workouts done in the nooks and crannies of time, looking up recipes, while nursing babies and trying to prioritize my own health amidst everything else going on. But I have really good news for you, you can get the results you want. In less time without doing hours of cardio and restrictive dieting. I’m going to teach you how to use strength training and eating in a macro balanced way to get you feeling so good and your skin full of energy, and strong to carry out your life. Okay, on this podcast, we’ll delve into how to lose fat in a simple, sustainable way. What your workouts and nutrition should look like during different seasons of life, like during pregnancy and postpartum times. We’ll also discuss healthy quick meals, and how to get them on the table make food that kids will actually want to eat. Mom hacks for making your day run more smoothly, and so much more. All the while with continuous encouragement to stay the course and live with discipline. This is a place where we’re striving to steward our bodies. Well, in order to joyfully serve. I am so happy you’re here. Let’s dive in.

Main Episode:

Hey there friends. Welcome to today’s episode. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you for being here. My name is Brittany, as you heard in the intro, and the big ol long intro, you can pretty much head to healthy Catholic If you are looking for any more information on programs they offer or ways we can work together, but freebies for you there, all that great stuff. And today, we’re going to talk about the best ways to measure progress. So if you’ve been around here for a long time, or you have worked with me, you’re probably familiar with some of this and might just be a refresher. But a lot of you are newer listeners and have been messaging me like while I got on the scale yesterday. And then when I went on today I was up four pounds or this that it’s come up a lot. And it’s well timed. I think as well, because we are starting a new eight week challenge right now. And if you’re listening to this, and you’re taking part of it, hopefully this just fills out the picture for you of why I don’t advise, you know, I just tell you, like don’t check in on progress from month but the why and the what I suggest and what we can be looking for. And I just want to go a little bit more into that in we you know, I think podcasts is a great format to do that, because hopefully you’re doing laundry or you’re doing your workout and you can just kind of listen along. But it’s a lengthy thing to read through on a website or an email of you know, what I think are the best ways to measure progress. But spoiler alert, it is not just the scale. And a lot of times we use that as our only indicators. And there is so much in psychology books about how we’re affected by perceiving that we’re making progress and how we’re motivated by progress. And the truth is that the way I teach you to lose fat is the slowest sustainable way. Okay, it is not that quick fix fat loss, like I could make a lot more money if I just said lose 10 pounds in six weeks, and I put everybody on 1200 calories or 1000 calories. had everybody doing lots of cardio, they would lose the 10 pounds in six weeks. Now before you’re like Bernie Can I Can I just email you could you do that for me. So that’s actually what I’m looking for. I don’t do that because it’s not ethical because it’s, it’s gonna come right back on. And if you’ve done anything like that before, some really low calorie nutrition plan, like Optavia, like Nutrisystem like SlimFast like Special K, whatever that’s like 1200 calories and under. If you have any kind of experience with those methods, you’ve experienced that that it just comes right back when you go back to eating normally. And also you don’t look great at the end of it. A lot of times you get fixated on numbers. When if you just lose generic weight, not necessarily fat, you’re just gonna look like a smaller version of what you are now you’re not gonna look any more toned anymore. You know, like your body composition doesn’t change unless you’re actually changing the way you eat like protein does that for you. String training does that for you. You can’t just go on you know eating just donuts but less donuts and expect to look better. So, um, there is a method to the madness but it is slow and sustainable. That’s frustrating, I very openly understand that and admit that, like, it’s hard to keep pushing forward with something when you’re not sure there’s going to be a payoff yet. So that’s why really, I appreciate when people trust me enough to do a program with me. And then trust me enough to stick it out. Because ladies, let me let you know those who are like starting the program right now. Every single challenge I’ve done this for years, I will get the week one like so excited emails and the week to like feeling pretty good emails, because they’re, you know, feeling energetic from eating more food and all that stuff. Week three, week four is I really don’t think this is working. Should we lower my calories, I don’t think anything’s different yet. And then that kind of like progresses, shifts in week six, seven, and then by the eight week check in, they’re like, Oh, my goodness. And I at the time of recording this, we are just finishing our June challenge this week. And I just had two emails today that were like, Oh, my goodness, I lost 15 pounds. And the other ones like Oh, my goodness, I lost 12 pounds or whatever. And I don’t promise any kind of pound losing because everybody is different. Everybody comes in in a different spot. But it’s, you know, even in just eight weeks, we do typically see progress. It’s typical to see pounds come off if you have pounds to lose. But it’s very detrimental to our progress to be hovering over progress and to be like hyper focused on the scale and things like that. So
ah, let me just look at my notes here to make sure that I’m going to touch on all the right things. So number one, I like to take into account all forms of progress and that is what I advise you to do. So while you can take notice of some of the things I’m going to talk about below. I do suggest making it a formal check in only every four weeks only once a month. And that’s because so much varies in a month. And as women our hormones are all over the place throughout the course of a month when we’re ovulating we might be you know at our latest in our leanness when we’re about to PMS or we are PMS thing or we’re on our period like we can cling to fat and cling to water weight and then we’re up and it’s just I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone to be hovering over that. So I like once a month to formally take notice I call it just you know, okay, now you can check in. That’s what I say, with my clients with my group ladies. And what I mean by this is to number one, I think it’s the number one twice, but this is like one a to look for non scale victories. So non scale victories are things like how your clothes fit. Now, don’t go by your leggings because leggings cover a multitude of sins. You’re a person that lives in stretchy clothes, super comfortable, but you really can’t tell. It’s usually when we pull out jeans that are like have a fixed button spot, you know, and they might still be stretchy jeans, but the waistband isn’t gonna lie. When we check in with things like that. Or for most ladies, it’s work pants, you know, if somebody works outside the home and they’re like, Oh, when I put my work pants on if you’re a teacher, you know there’s other professions that you could still hide it in like scrubs and whatnot. But for something dress pants, like a pencil skirt, put on something that is not gonna lie, and check out how it fits. How your energy is, is another non scale victory. Do you feel more energetic? Do you feel better on the whole? That’s a great indicator that things are moving in the right direction that your metabolisms revving up all of that how your workouts have been, are you getting stronger growing in strength is a sign of your metabolism revving as well. So, if you know week one, you were doing bicep curls with five pound dumbbells, but by the end of the month you’re using seven pound or 10 pound dumbbells. That’s a great indicator that you’re going to be dropping weight soon. Now I also want to take a second to explain this. Feel like well how is just getting stronger a sign of fat loss. One pound of muscle burns up to three times more than a pound of fat does. So it might not be instantaneous. It might not be oh my gosh you over four weeks built more muscle are in the process of building muscle your muscles are getting stronger you did make that jump from five pounds to say 10 pounds just keep it even here. Why am I instantly not feeling thinner see a difference on the scale or whatever? Well now that muscle needs to work for you. So now you give that another month and you’re in a different spot because now that muscle has been burning calories for you just at rest. This is why lays it is the slowest sustainable way like you’re actually building your body into a fat burning machine and there is no shortcut to that sorry but there’s not and again I could make a lot more money doing things the other way and selling people on quick we love quick results. We love fast things that To not this, so sorry, I have ethics. And I won’t do that. But again, you’re here. I think you’ve understood that by now. But hopefully that makes sense to you that it’s not like, Oh, hey, I got stronger. And now I should see the same results. It’s like you got stronger, and now the results are coming. That is an indicator of progress is building and is going to be even more evident once your body’s had time to work that system. Okay. Now, last one, that’s a non scale victory. How your appetite is, you might think, Oh, my appetites down, this is good. No, your appetite being higher is a good sign of progress. Because it’s a sign their metabolism is up and running, it is firing, it is looking for food to burn, because it wants to feed those muscles, which are gonna burn three times what your fat would burn, right, like I just explained. So having an increased appetite is actually a great sign for your body. Okay. Now, I do also appreciate and think there’s a place for data driven approaches as well, I get it. I like having numbers I actually have. Let me see if I can find it. And then go back to my notes. I have a note on my phone that I can’t even tell you when I started. Brit January 18. But what year was that? That was not. Oh, that was from this year. But I swear I have one that’s for much longer. Yeah, Brit, August 2. Though, this is okay. I think this was 2022 into 2023. And then I started a new note. But I do typically just keep a note on my phone that has the weight that I am and the oh yeah, this was right after I hit judo, the weight that I am, and then the body fat that I am. So I’ll get into those in a second. But I do like to have that documented for each month. So then I can see where it’s going on a monthly scale. Okay, so. And I know it’s going back longer than that to that one is 2021 to 2023. But I have no I’ve been doing this for a long time, I just put once a month what my weight is, and what my body fat is. But anyways, back to the note. So speaking of that, definitely taking your weight is a way to measure progress. I don’t think it has absolutely no place. But we can’t put too much stock in what the scale says because it just looks different. I’ve shared this before on my Instagram. And you might have seen other people other fitness professionals share similar content of like, this is 140 pounds, and this is 140 pounds, or this is 160 pounds. This is 160 pounds. Just think about it. It makes sense. I like to compare men instead. Because it’s hard to believe for women were like, Okay, no, just I would look better if I was 130 pounds or something, we just think the arbitrary number means we look a certain way. Where think about that on a man, if you picture a 200 pound man who is like fit and athletic and has muscle that 200 pounds, like we don’t know his height, so we’re just you know, going off that, that 200 pounds is gonna look very different. Like you’re like, Oh, it’s 200 pounds of muscle and he looks lean, and he looks fit, or 200 pounds of a man who does not work out at all, who’s very sedentary. So you’re thinking more like skinny arms beerbelly like, that’s what we’re picturing. It looks very different. 200 pounds on one looks 200 pounds on another like it’s not apples and oranges. Or it is apples and oranges. It’s not apples to apples. So think about that for ourselves. Like, I’ve shared pictures of myself, like this was me at 150 This was me at 150 and two totally different body composition. So this is me 140 This was me at 140 Like you can be the same weight and be have different a different physique. However, and here’s the asterik we should if you’re significantly overweight, like you know you are in that obese or morbidly obese category, it’s helpful to also track weight and to know that weight is coming off and that we’re moving that direction because yes, like indicators like your pants didn’t listen and stuff are all great signs. But we do it is rational to expect to see weight to come off as well. If you are implementing, you know, eating in a calorie deficit and doing strength training, you should see the scale move to so I think the scale is helpful to to just kind of have as you know, you have your baseline of knowing what your usual setpoint is the body usually settles at a point. For me that is usually right around 148 When I’m not pregnant. 148 to 150 is where my body likes to sit. Sometimes that ranges down like 145 ish.
Almost every single time I’ve gotten pregnant, it’s been right around 145 This last baby actually because I think when did I get pregnant? Somewhere early in 2023 Can’t do that math right now. I’m doing December, so whatever they may have is, and I was actually 143. And I remember being like, Oh, wow, I usually get pregnant more like 148. So that just was the luck of the time that I got pregnant. But we do have a set point that our body likes to have around. So it’s helpful to know what that is. So we know when it’s really been deviating. If for several months in a row, I was weighing myself and I was 160. I’d be like, okay, something’s off with my hormones. Something’s off with something, because my norm is around 150, not 160. But I freak out, if one day I stepped on the scale, and I was like, 156, no, I wouldn’t. Because even if we eat, like slightly more carbs than normal, carbs hold on to water. So that’s a great reason that the, the scale can jump four pounds overnight or whatever. There’s lots of reasons for that. So that’s why I’m saying like, get the data over time, don’t panic, if you see a big fluctuation. Even on that month to month, if you weigh yourself in September, and you are 160. Let’s just say you weigh yourself in October, you’re 160. You weigh yourself in November, and you’re 165. And you’re like, oh my gosh, I gained five pounds this month? Probably not like what did you do yesterday? Did you have a bunch of carbs? Like, are you retaining water? Did you have a lot of salt, there’s other factors. So keep working the plan, weigh yourself again, in one month, my on December and check it out. Like yes, maybe it’s holiday weight gain, maybe it’s not. That’s why it’s good to just ballpark know what you are. Okay. Next, for the data driven ways to monitor progress, talked about weight. taking measurements is another way that you can track how things are going. I typically do not do this for myself, and don’t do it for clients. But I’ve had clients who are, are more comfortable doing that, and to enjoy having more specific data to go off of. So just using like that cloth, cloth is the wrong word. But you know what I mean, not like tape measure. And he’s the one that loops nicely around every person out there who sews is shaking their heads like Bernie, it’s called this, whatever it is, the thing you put around, if you Google like weight loss exercise or something, you’re gonna find pictures of these measuring dates that I’m talking about. But you can measure you know, your waist, and your hips and your thigh and your upper arm. In certain areas. Again, I would just do it once a month no more frequently. And you can see if things are going on a downward trend, okay. And then lastly, the one that I really like. And if everybody had access to this, this is what I would say to do is body fat. So not BMI, but your actual body fat. Now, there are huge varieties of what kind of body fat tries you can get and how accurate they are. There’s one that you do underwater that used to be the most accurate, I’ve never done that personally. Now there’s a big one, I think it’s called DEXA scan or something like that, where you can go to a place that has it and have your DEXA scan done. If I’m butchering the name of that my bad, but it’s supposed to be a very accurate, what I’ve done forever, for a long time for the last 10 years, I’d say is I use the handheld system. So my brand that I use is called Omron it’s o r o n. And I bought mine off eBay when I got it because I cannot find I can very rarely find. I don’t know if these being made, or whatever I tried to send it to clients. It’s like once I found off eBay, but you basically hold the little sensors and it sends electrodes to your body. So I don’t do this when I’m pregnant. But I do this. When I’m not pregnant once a month I get on the scale, then I do the body fat so that I can see where everything’s at, and know where I’m averaging around. And this is where like this is a better indicator for those of us who have muscle of where we stand of what our true ranges are, what our true like health is because the skills taught like I just had 160 can look very different from another 160 or 200 can look very different from a fit 200 So the body fat I in my experience, I feel like the body fat doesn’t lie as much. Were like okay, if you’re 21% you look 21% If you’re 25% you look 25% Now, there’s parameters on this to where I encourage clients to do at first thing in the morning, before they’ve had anything to drink or anything to eat. And, you know, still you’re gonna get some variance by like how well you slept the night before, or how much you ate or drank the day before. But overall, like sometimes what I’ll do is do it like once a month but then for like three days so say I do it September 10 Then I take it again October 10 If it seems like way skewed to me, then I’ll take it like October 11 October 12. Like just see if I get this a similar number of old days. If it’s like 21.3 then 21.4 21.2 I know I’m around On 21%, if I take it, it’s 21. And it’s 24. The next day, something’s going on with your hydration, or your nutrition or something, you need to kind of take the average of off a couple of days. All right. So that is what I use what I don’t think is highly accurate, and I think messes with people more than it helps people are those kinds of skills where you stand on them. And they allegedly analyze your body fat. I just think there’s a really big variance there. I’ve had clients who, when I was training in person, I would use my handheld, and they would use their body scale may be like, Okay, well, it told me I was 28 at home, but you’re just coming up 24 Or, you know, some crazy jump like that on the same day, and all of that stuff all, you know, factors being the same. So, and I’ve heard other fitness professionals talk about those too, and say that they don’t put much stock in those. So but also, you know, some people do not think the handheld is super accurate. So it’s also helpful to kind of know what this is, again, you can scroll through my Instagram, but I will post things like this was me at 21%. This was me 18%. This was me at 24%. Like, so you kind of know what it looks like. And then you know if it’s totally, you know, if I’ve had I have had numbers come up for a client before where it was like 32%. I’m like, Nah, you’re definitely more like 28% Currently, like you, you can kind of tell and feel it out when you’ve been doing it for long enough. So that is that my friends, the general takeaway, try to limit your checking in to just once a month, I’ve had clients lock their scales and their husband’s trunks before That’s a true story in the trunk of his car. So I’m not tempted to weigh in. I have a sister who only weighs in when she comes to my house because we have a scale just go good. I have to weigh myself. I’m over here. So you know, hovering over progress can be more hurtful than helpful. Sometimes when you know, think about it. I’ve been there to where you’ve eaten healthily all week. And you’re like happen on the scale, excited to see it drop. And it actually went up a pound or two, like, well, what the heck, I might as well just eat red velvet cake then tonight because it didn’t work. And then we sabotage our progress before we even could see our progress. Like I mentioned with the like, building muscle and then it taking a couple of weeks with that muscle for it to take effect. Like things take time. You can’t expect it to be this immediate, I ate a salad. I lost five pounds. It’s not like that. So bear with it. Try to find happiness is the wrong word. But you know, motivation. Maybe in those Nancy victories remember that that’s awesome, too. Like the scale, guys. It’s just not even our body fat, even whatever, like you’re not a number. And I know it sounds corny to say. And I think it’s corny when I see those pictures that are like someone’s stepping on a skillet coming up, you are beautiful or something like Yeah, but what’s the number, like, but I’ve done a podcast episode A while ago, a long time ago, but you could go back like, do you still want to be losing trying to lose the same 10 pounds when you’re 90, or 70 or whatever age I do that. The idea being when you’re 7089 years old, I don’t think the things that you’re going to be sitting reflecting on is like, Man, I really wish I’d hit 125 When I was 25 years old, or that I’d I’d hit 150 When I was 40 years old. Like that’s not what you’re going to care about. So we want to be healthy. I do think being able to maintain and achieve are the physique most suited to ourselves for our own comfort. And for our own lifestyle is a noble thing. I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I even think because some people will say like, oh, even caring anything about your aesthetic. Quality is vain. Like how you look, I would beg to differ for most of us if you’re married, like you are supposed to try, in my opinion, to look your best for your spouse. And there’s such a big scale like, No, my husband cannot expect me to look like the day we met for babies ago, and whatnot. But there is something to wanting to present our best selves and feel confident our best selves, and then how we live our lives that way to have like, there’s things that sometimes hold us back by our weight that we’re like, oh, we would do that. Or we would travel there we would whatever, but our weight is in the way. So I think it’s great to have, you know, the data that we where we know where we are numbers, you know, usually don’t lie if we’re again, like kind of collecting the mean of those numbers. But to realize that’s not you know, that is not at all where our worth is and not to put so much power in you know, think about it when we see a number we don’t like and then it affects our mood for the rest of the day or we see a number we do like and we’re pumped like we got to try to detach from that I think a little bit too. So somewhere in the middle is where I usually land. All right, ladies, I hope that this was helpful for you today, especially if it’s the first time you were hearing this kind of stuff. And next episode we’re going to talk about healthy eating according to your lifestyle. Okay, so pretty much delving into is it better to have five small meals or three meals and two snacks and that kind of idea. All right. I hope you have a great rest of your day. I’ll talk to you


Time stamps:

  • Intro to this episode. 0:02

    • Welcome to the healthy catholic moms podcast. Brittany pearson, a catholic wife, mom and personal trainer, is here to help you build healthy habits.

    • What to expect on this podcast.

  • The best ways to measure progress. 1:58

    • Today’s episode is all about the best ways to measure progress, and why it is not just the scale that is the only indicator of progress.

    • The slowest sustainable way to lose fat is the slowest, sustainable way, not a quick fix fat loss.

  • A method to the madness but slow and sustainable. 4:54

    • There is a method to the madness, but it is slow and sustainable that is frustrating. It is hard to keep pushing forward with something when you’re not sure there’s going to be a payoff yet.

    • Take into account all forms of progress, not just weight loss.

  • How your clothes fit and energy. 7:42

    • Non-scale victories are things like how your clothes fit, your energy, your metabolisms, how your workouts have been, and how you are getting stronger.

    • Getting stronger is a sign of fat loss. One pound of muscle burns up to three times more than a pound of fat does.

  • How your appetite is up. 10:23

    • Having an increased appetite is a good sign of progress. It’s a sign that metabolism is up and running and looking for food to burn.

    • Data-driven approach to measuring progress.

  • Comparison of body composition and weight. 12:28

    • Fitness professionals and fitness professionals have shared similar content on instagram, comparing themselves to different body composition.

    • If you are significantly overweight, it is helpful to track weight and make changes.

  • The scale is helpful to have a baseline. 14:15

    • It is rational to expect to see weight come off as well if you are implementing a calorie deficit and doing strength training.

    • It is helpful to have a baseline of knowing what the usual setpoint is for the body when not pregnant.

  • Data driven ways to monitor progress. 16:24

    • Weight taking measurements is another way to track progress. Body fat measurement is a great way to see if things are going on a downward trend.

    • Dexa scan is a very accurate way to measure body fat. It is a handheld system that is called oron.

  • How do you measure body fat? 18:35

    • Body fat is a better indicator for those of us who have muscle of where we stand in terms of what our true health is.

    • Body fat doesn’t lie as much as it used to. It’s helpful to know what the average is, but not highly accurate.

  • How to limit your checking in with the scale? 21:20

    • Try to limit checking in with the scale to once a month. Hanging over progress can be more hurtful than helpful.

    • Try to find motivation in those nancy victories.

    • Being able to maintain and achieve the physique most suited to ourselves for comfort and lifestyle is a noble thing.

    • The next episode will be about healthy eating according to your lifestyle, like having five small meals or three meals and two snacks.

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