Those Damn Numbers
Those damn numbers. Your weight. Your pant size. We live in a culture, especially as women that convinces us that those numbers are the only thing that matter. This can create an unhealthy obsession with these numbers. And if we aren’t careful that obsession will start to eat away at our self-confidence, it will make us believe that our worth comes from how small we can get that number, and will make us lose sight of all the truly important things when it comes to being healthy.
There is so much bullshit out there in regards to what being healthy means. Of course being healthy is important BUT being healthy does not mean everyone fits in to a certain size (they don’t). Or that you can tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them (you can’t). Here are few things I want you to think about when it comes to those damn numbers:
Working Out and the Scale
We have to stop believing that getting in the gym is about losing weight. Working out, no matter what kind you do, is about doing something for you. The positive energy you gain from it is not from weight loss or a smaller pant size, it should come from setting goals and then crushing them. It is about pushing your body to new limits and watching yourself, over time, accomplish things that you may never have thought possible. Don’t waste all that hard work by hopping on a scale and judging your progress solely on what that says. Stop punishing yourself. Step away from the scale and start seeing your success in other numbers, like getting a higher weight on a difficult lift or slowly progressing how long you can run for. We have been trained to believe that our body has to look a certain way or it has to weigh a certain amount or we have failed. Stop ruining all your hard work by believing these lies.
Health Is Not a Simple Equation
Health is not simple, it cannot be streamlined. It cannot be boiled down to just your weight or BMI. We have been conditioned to believe that only a certain body type is healthy and any body that deviates from that form is not. We have been convinced that we can look at someone’s body and determine their health. Well spoiler alert, we can’t. Someone’s weight or BMI alone cannot determine how much fat they have, how much muscle they have, if they exercise, if they are a healthy eater, or if they have social or mental factors affecting their weight. It cannot determine if someone has an eating disorder. We have to get away from simplifying something that is actually complicated because we are teaching people to focus on the wrong numbers. Stop focusing on numbers that don’t actually tell us what is going on inside and start focusing more on the ones that do.
The Numbers We Should Worry About
When was the last time you obsessed about some other numbers, some more meaningful ones when it comes to health like blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting glucose, how physically active you are each day or the hours you sleep at night. My guess is like me you have spent very little thought on these, except for maybe at your annual exam. Start thinking about them more and if those numbers are good, be proud of yourself for making choices that are keeping you healthy and strive to stay on that path. If those numbers need improvement, seek the advice of medical professionals who will guide you in the right direction.
Diet Culture = Unhappier + Unhealthier
Diet culture exists selling the idea that health and happiness go hand in hand with weight loss and external ‘perfection’. And yet diet culture is a lie. We live in a society that is more unhappy and unhealthy than ever (check the research). If you really look at all the things you see on a daily basis related to ‘be happier and healthier’ you will start to realize why so many of us have negative self-image. We are inundated with message after message convincing us that to be happy and healthy we have to be a certain size. Almost all products marketed to women start on the premise that we can always be better. There is very little out there showcasing women of all sizes who are truly happy and healthy inside and out. There is very little discussion about all the factors that really going in to being healthy. Pant size and weight do not equal happiness. Release yourself from the diet culture web of lies.
Being healthy is going to take some work, yes. But don’t punish yourself for all your hard work and dedication to health when your weight or pant size don’t match up with some bullshit ‘standard’ that our bodies were never meant to be. Happiness will NEVER come from only working on the outside. The reason we fall for these marketing schemes, the reason we believe that being smaller equals happiness and health, is because inside we haven’t dealt with the real reasons we are unhappy or unhealthy. We haven’t faced the realities of why we feel bad about our bodies. We haven’t learned to love ourselves for exactly who we are with no conditions on that love. It is time to refocus that energy you have been giving those numbers on to things that matter. It is time to deal with any lingering unhappiness you may have with your body, no matter how it changes. It is time to take back your life and not waste a minute more hating the beautiful, amazing body you have. ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES!