Why are we all so hung up on numbers, the number on the scale, the BMI(body mass index) number. We drive ourselves crazy setting goals to meet these numbers and for what? “I’ll be happy when I reach my goal weight.”, “If I could just lose ten pounds.” Sound familiar?
Now I’m not advocating never weighing yourself, but there’s certainly no need to do it more than once a week at most. Because your weight is constantly fluctuating due to various factors, you are bringing on a rollercoaster of emotions seeing those numbers increasing and decreasing like the stock market.
Would you be happier if you lost a couple of pounds but didn’t see any difference in your pants size, or would you be happier if you lost a pants size but didn’t lose a pound on the scale? Most I would think would choose the latter. I weigh more now than I did twenty-five years ago, however I’m wearing smaller clothing sizes and have a much more attractive physique than I ever had in the ‘90s! Not only that, I’m leaner and stronger. I will happily take the latter versus being able to say I weigh 130!
Another topic of obsession in the weight loss realm is body mass index, or BMI. This measurement is so flawed because it just measures your weight in relation to your height and doesn’t account for muscle mass. Since muscle is more dense than fat, those with a high amount of muscle will have a high BMI. I actually had a doctor tell me a few years ago that I was only about five pounds away from being in the obese weight category on the BMI chart. She then proceeded to say that she could tell by my muscles that I worked out and because of that my BMI was higher, so not to be alarmed. Really?!? So what exactly was the point of even mentioning this? It’s not surprising we are all so concerned with these numbers and why we tend to put so much emphasis on them.
People can go down a pant size or two, go from pre-diabetic to normal blood glucose levels, and come off blood pressure medication without losing more than two to three pounds. So whether you’re looking for a smaller waist, more defined arms, or a healthier checkup with your doctor, just remember that weight isn’t everything.
A few things to keep in mind when it comes to setting fitness goals for yourself:
1) Look at body composition rather than your weight. Track measurements or use photos to see progress.
2) Set goals that aren’t weight oriented like increasing the number of push ups you can do or being able to swim a certain amount of laps.
3) Remember that your journey to a healthier life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Try to celebrate the accomplishments along the way whether it’s being able to complete a 5k run or fitting into that favorite outfit. Appreciate the fact that by exercising and eating healthy you are making your body happy and adding not only years to your life, but more importantly quality to those years.