Before I share this story, there is something you need to know. This story is written about my wife, but once you read it, I have a feeling you will realize that you can trade out Emme’s name for many others – maybe even your own.
Emme knows I am writing this blog. After all, she edits almost all of my posts before I publish them. So, even though I could have put almost anyone’s name in here, I have chosen to use her as an example because we both feel like it is important to tell the whole story – to take the bad with the good.
I post all the time about Emme’s accomplishments, but this story is more at the other end of the spectrum. It is personal, and Emme isn’t a very personal person. So, please don’t take this blog as a need to affirm her in anyway. She doesn’t want that or need that. We just both agreed that this topic is an important one for many people to consider in regards to their own happiness.
It is 11am on Sunday as Emme and I roll into the IFAST parking lot. Sundays are our favorite day to train because the gym is closed, and only a few of us friends get together and train. The atmosphere is great, and I usually do not have to worry about a time constraint, having to wait in line for the equipment, or getting asked a ton of questions from clients. Trust me, I love helping my clients, but I like for my training to be my alone time.
We head into the quiet and cold gym, flip on the lights, turn up the heat, and turn on the radio. Emme and I are both feeling particularly good this day. We had our usual fantastic dinner at home the night before and feel fueled up and ready to go. As I begin warming up in the back, Emme steps into the assessment room to weigh herself.
As soon as she walks out I can tell she is not happy. I do not say much at the time, but the number she just saw on the scale has changed her mood, and she is not pleased. She came into the training session feeling strong and confident, and all of a sudden, because of the number she just saw on the scale, she is down on herself. We later talk about this, and she gets over it pretty quickly.
Since I am sure you have had the same reaction I want to share with you some of our discussion and my thoughts on this.
This is what I asked her and what I want you to think about:
Why do you believe you need to weigh a certain weight? Why should a number on a scale dictate your happiness with and confidence in your body?
Before Emme weighed herself, she felt fine about her body. In fact, she later told me that she felt just as lean as she did when she was almost eight pounds lighter during her powerlifting meet.
She had dropped a few pounds for a powerlifting meet in December and is now weighing about eight pounds more than her meet weigh-in, which was what made her unhappy. However, like I said, she did not feel bigger or less happy with her body before she stepped on the scale. So why was this number bothering her?
Two reasons. One, she had weighed almost eight pounds lighter several months back and assumed that was better. Two, because she thinks she needs to weigh less.
Another example is a Facebook comment I saw from a friend. She posted saying she had accomplished her goal to fit into a certain pair of jeans, but still needed to lose ten pounds to make her weight loss goal. What? Why?
Why does she think she needs to weigh a certain amount? If her waist is the size she wants it to be, then why go further? I understand if she is still not happy with her body after she reached that goal of fitting into her pants, but she made it sound like she was happy with that.
Emme and this girl are not the only people who get obsessed over scale weight. We are made to believe we should weigh a certain amount, and if we get above that weight we are unhealthy or overweight. We have been categorized into averages – women who are X feet tall should be roughly Y pounds. Says who?!
Have you heard of the body mass index, or BMI? Your BMI is based on your weight and height and doctors will tell you if you are above a certain BMI you are at risk for certain health issues.
While this is somewhat true if you are quite heavy, is it that true if we weight X amount then we are fat, and if we weigh less than X amount then we are lean and healthy?
There are many skinny people who are unhealthy. Go back to THIS ARTICLE and look at my skinny pic – I was definitely not healthy. In fact, a lot of skinny people have no muscle mass and a decent amount of fat. Yet, in clothes they look slender. This is not healthy.
Do you think super lean models are healthy? How about bodybuilders during their competitions? They are both lean, but most are not healthy.
Of course, being too overweight does have health consequences. I do not want to make it sound like it is okay to gain a bunch of unnecessary weight. All I am trying to get across is that once you are in a fairly healthy weight range, a number should not determine your happiness with your body.
So what is the solution? How do you measure progress or happiness with your body?
Here is what I have my online clients do.
Use the mirror or take progress pictures. These are much better assessment tools to determine if you are happy with your body.
Make sure to use the mirror and/or take pictures at the same time each day. For example, if you are taking progress pictures every two weeks then take them at the same time each day (preferably in the morning before eating or drinking anything). This is because your body appearance will change throughout the day largely due to the hydration status of your body.
If you are unhappy with your body image, by using the mirror or taking pictures then decide on the steps you need to take to change it. For help on this, you can sign up for my newsletter and get my free webinar, “Your Guide To A Healthy And Happy You.”
In this webinar, I help you determine the steps YOU need to take to be happy with your body.
These steps will be different for everyone. The answer is definitely not always eat less and/or exercise more.
Just make sure you are not letting a number on a scale dictate your happiness with your body.