Forget What the Scale Says. These 9 Things Will Tell You If You’re Healthy or Not.

Whether you religiously step on the bathroom scale every day or avoid the thing altogether (we totally fit into the second category!), it’s important to know that the fitness staple may actually be deceiving you. You see, while scales may provide you with your weight, they hardly give you a comprehensive look into your overall health profile, something that includes factors that affect both your physical and emotional wellbeings.

So, if you are frequently disappointed by the number on the scale, know that it is a very small piece of your overall wellness puzzle. Here are 9 of the most important practices you can do to ensure that you’re healthy, happy, and feeling good, despite what the scale may say…

  1. Your fat-muscle ratio is within a healthy range

    Sure, most people rely on the infamous Body Mass Index to tell them whether or not their weight falls within a healthy range, but the outdated model could mislead you. That’s why serious doctors, nutritionists, and trainers rely on the good, old skinfold caliper, a tool that tells you your fat-muscle ratio.

    What’s interesting is that a person who might be labeled as overweight or obese according to their BMI, may just be a healthy person with low fat and plenty of lean muscle. Could this be you?

  2. You drink plenty of water

    Now, we’re not just talking any and all fluids here, folks, we’re talking plain, clear H2O. Drinking enough water— that’s about 11.5 cups per day for women and 15.5 cups per day for men— helps to ensure that your brain is healthy, your heart is strong, and your skin is supple. As a bonus, your metabolism will get a 30% boost from the good habit. Score!

  3. You have healthy bowel movements

    Talking about poop is not the most appetizing subject on the planet—sorry if you are taking a bite of your lunch now!— but it’s an important conversation to have. After all, if it’s something that you’re completely in the dark about, how would you know that dark brown, S-shaped stools that occur at least once a day are a variety you should strive for?

  4. You have regular periods

    Let’s talk irregular periods. While it’s somewhat normal to experience skipped or infrequent periods, especially during puberty, after birth, or during menopause, it’s not something that is a sign of good health. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women who get their period outside of the 21 to 35-day range consult with their doctors about the problem.

  5. You eat a balanced diet

    Do you eat a variety of different foods, keep restaurant visits to a minimum, and leave dessert for only special occasions? If so, you are likely getting the nutrition that you need from your eats! Running out of creative nutritious meal ideas? We have plenty for you to scope out…

  6. You have good oral hygiene

    You may think that skipping out on the brushing, flossing, and biannual dentist visits is only hurting your teeth, but these bad oral hygiene practices can have a negative effect on your entire body. In fact, plaque buildup on your teeth could get stuck in your bloodstream, which might contribute to clogged arteries in your future. It’s scary stuff, and yet another reason to show some love to those pearly whites!

  7. You exercise every morning

    Or every afternoon. Or every night. And, it doesn’t have to be anything that leaves you winded— a simple 30 minutes of heart-healthy, cardiovascular exercises will do your body good! Not sure how to incorporate a daily workout into your already busy routine? Here’s a good place to start.

  8. You give your brain some exercise, too

    Have you ever heard that brainteasers, like crossword puzzles, word searches, Sudoku, or visual puzzles, are good for your brain? If so, then you were given some pretty good advice! Experts at the University of Connecticut Health Center have seen that memory and stress levels improve in patients who complete the puzzles regularly. Fun AND healthy? We’re all for it!

  9. You have good sleep habits

    Be honest: do you bring your smart devices into bed with you? If so, you’re likely not the getting the rest you deserve. Remember, you should be sleeping somewhere between 7 to 9 hours per night depending on your age and activity level. Good to know!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list! How many of these practices do you follow? Which one is the hardest for you? Do you pay attention to your weight?