Weight Loss Does Not a Healthy Person Make...

This is a topic so pervasive throughout our cultural norms and attitudes that it invades our minds and fills us with the idea: how much you weigh = how healthy you are. What follows is the belief that if we aren't losing weight, we are not healthy at all, so why bother? 

Know that there are SO many reasons to bother! Unfortunately, our outer appearance is not a great indicator of how things are working on the inside.  In fact, many studies are beginning to show that people who are overweight can still have stunning metabolic profiles and lab results indicating that, yes, they are "healthy" despite being overweight or obese (This is known as "metabolically healthy obesity" - read more about it here).

Here are the reasons why you should not let the scale dictate how you live your life:

Why Weight is not a Good Determinant of Health

1. Your weight tells you how much you weigh, not what you're made of. 

Your weight is the sum total of every particle of your existence. That's it. What your weight doesn't tell you is a much longer list:

  1. How much muscle or fat you have
  2. Where your fat is primarily stored
  3. If you are eating a healthy diet
  4. How much you exercise
  5. What you feel like (physically) every day
  6. What you feel like (mentally) every day (etc...)

2. Your weight is partially determined by genetics and sometimes your body will fight to stay a certain size...and that's OK.

This fact is a hard pill to swallow. And I am not asking you to swallow it, just to be aware of its existence. Often, when our bodies have been at a stable weight over a number of years they will fight to remain at that current weight. It's like your body arguing "Hey! What gives? I was really comfortable at that weight! Everything was functioning just fine and now you want to throw me off again?!"

This is not to say that weight loss is impossible, of course we all know it is possible. But, if you want to drastically change your weight, be aware that it is going to take time and a hard effort to get your body used to a new normal. This is why it's recommended that you lose a moderate amount of weight over a long period of time {rather than losing weight fast through a fad diet}. Our bodies can get on board with slow changes because at every step they are allowed to get used to the small weight change. 

Focus on Habits, Not Numbers

As a person who struggled with a {borderline} eating disorder in the past, I have to remind myself each time I step on a scale that my weight is just a number and it cannot hurt me. Because that is what weight is: a number. 

The habits you keep are a far more powerful indicator of your health and wellbeing. So, in lieu of obsessing over a goal weight or size, focus on the activities you are doing, the foods you are eating, and your personal feeling of happiness and self-worth. If you find you feel great everyday - keep it up! You're doing great! Even if your body is not responding by looking a certain way, know that inside your body is transforming into a well-oiled, well-functioning, and powerful machine. 

If you feel sluggish, tired, or worn down, think about what might be affecting your energy levels. Could your diet be more balanced? Make specific goals to include more whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your life everyday. Not getting enough sleep? Set an alarm for bedtime. And so on... 

I guess the old adage holds true: You are greater than the sum of your parts. 

Have a great week & a Happy Fourth to my Fellow Americans!! 

Aly