You step on the scale every night before you go to bed. You’re keeping a journal about your eating habits, your exercise routine, and how much weight you’re losing each week. It becomes a tedious and disheartening task, yet some women feel like it’s the only way they will be happy with their appearance. In this image driven world we live in, being heavier for men and women can be a struggle. But what I have begun to question is if the numbers on the scale really matter more than how you feel. Do the numbers you see on the scale reflect your happiness, your health, or your how you feel in the clothes you like to buy? I think the answer would be no, the numbers do not reflect all of that. Being healthy is a complex thing, so how can we simplify it down to only a set of numbers which, for women especially, can fluctuate depending on a myriad of factors. Such as, what time of the month it is, your age, or your stress level.
This is not to say that when trying to lose weight women should never take a peek at the scale. What this means is that obsessively checking your scale numbers day and night does nothing for health. We get frustrated when we don’t lose the amount of weight we set out for in the first place. He become disappointed when we gain a pound back after a day. Having a scale at our finger tips to keep tabs on our progress has become debilitating. There is a huge difference between our short term and long term goals when going through the weight loss program. I’ve heard them sound like this before: “My short term goal is to lose 1 or 2 pounds a day.” and “My long term goal is to eventually be back in the size pant I was wearing when I was in my twenties.”
Let’s look at the short term goal first. In comparison to the long term goal it is specific and narrow. The long term goal of “eventually being in the size pant I was wearing when I was in my twenties” is vague. There’s no time line, no specific goal, no way of gauging if you are actually reaching your goal. Another part of the long term goal that doesn’t sit well with me is the part where we are desire to look the way we did when we were in our twenties or if we’re in our twenties now, the desire to look like we did in high school. Naturally our bodies change. We’ll never look the way we did as children or teenagers, so why as adults are we pushing ourselves to look the way we did before?
The other part of weight loss that I have found to be challenge is focusing too much on our past selves instead of our future selves. We even look to the present to fins examples of how we want to look in the future. However, weight loss is an individualized process. There is no way we can take a picture of our favorite celebrity and know how long or if it is even possible for us have the same body fitness that they do. Every women is made differently, which means how our body handles exercise or a change in diet will produce different results. When it comes to weight loss our focus should be on our future selves. Not the ladies we see around us or our past selves. A focus on the future can result in more specific long term goals and more motivation to push forward. Instead of feeling stuck and disappointed.
In the long run, what’s important is that you are a happy and healthy human being. Whether that happy and healthy comes in with a set of six pack abs is up to you. Weight loss of course is physical but it is partly mental to. We tend to push our bodies to its limits for all the wrong reasons. I run because it makes me feel good, it relieves stress, it’s fun and in the end it’s ultimately good for my body. So do the numbers really matter when it comes to weight loss? On some level yes, they do, but on another deeper level, weight loss isn’t just about burning fat it’s about creating a happier and healthier version of yourself.
Feature Image: Paola Kizette Cimenti, Creative Commons