In an instant a string of numbers ruined your day. What should have been a quick visit to the doctors turned into a body image confidence downer. You have been working out every (or let's be real, almost every) day, your nutrition has been on point, your self-care game is ON POINT. You are killing your health game! Up until this very moment, you were feeling like the queen that you are. Body confidence who? YOU!
So, what changed? How did you go from feeling so body positive to not so body confident? It was a weight comment. Your doctor told you that you are in perfect health except for one thing. She told you that you need to lose weight.
Ummm with all due respect doc… You just told my queen over here that she is in perfect health. And she just told you about her booty kicking healthy habits. Sure maybe a wine night here or there or a bite of kid snacks, but all in moderation. So what the heck?
It can feel so defeating when comments are made about our weight, especially when it comes from a medical professional. And it can take a toll on our body image. It can also be confusing! How can we be unhealthy based on a number????
Let me make something clear,
Your weight and body size does not define your state of health.
*Louder for the people in the back!*
Let me repeat. The number on the scale does not solely define your state of health.
Of course always listen to your doctors, but it’s also okay to ask them questions! That’s what doctors are for, to help you and support your health. You can ask questions like, “ How does my weight define my level of health?” Funny enough the way many healthcare professionals measure our level of health comes from a little old thing called, BMI. Our society has been taught to follow this thing called BMI aka Body Mass Index. Basically, the BMI is a measure of height and weight. It is the primary measure by which health professionals and governments determine what is and is not a “healthy weight” for a particular person. But in reality, BMI is not only not a good measure of health, it is actually not a measure of health at all.
The BMI formula was created around 1850 by Belgian mathematician, astronomer and statistician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. Dr. Quetelet was not a health professional and he was not interested in fat or health risk. He was just interested in statistics and society and the “average man.”
Yeah… I don’t know about you all but I think most of us are not “average men” from 1850. Time for our measures of health to get a major makeover.
Besides this outdated measure of health, there is a stigma that being overweight promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. Ummm excuse me? Have you seen women these days? Most of them are definitely not at a “healthy weight” according to the BMI because they are trying to crush weights! Women are getting strong and building muscles! You are not defined by a number. You are more than a number. Studies have confirmed that weight stigma and body dissatisfaction lead to poorer eating and fitness choices, less physical activity, weight gain and diminished health. Yet public health campaigns to prevent higher weights continue to ignore the bigger picture: “Size prevention” initiatives add to weight stigma. Don’t let a number derail your efforts and healthy habits.
So often women are told to shrink down. From our weight on the scale to the numbers on our pants. Size 000??? Excuse me? We are trying to squat 300lbs over here! We are trying to crush our mile times! We don’t have the time or energy to be worried about our waist number.
And the reality is, every body is different. Some of us are smaller and some of us are bigger. Our culture has created this fear of being “bigger boned” or “fat.” We have learned to fear the word “fat” and there have been negative feelings associated with that word. When we say “ I feel fat.” We associate that in a negative light, but in reality, fat is not a feeling. Having fat and being fat is as natural as having brown or blue eyes, blond or brunette, short or tall. It just is.
Our level of confidence and body acceptance is not tied to a number on the scale. Our weight will go up and down throughout our entire lifetime and there are so many other ways that can measure our level of health!
Other ways to measure your day-to-day level of health that DO NOT include the number on the scale:
- How many hours of sleep are you getting a night?
- Are you drinking plenty of water and electrolytes?
- How is your mental health? Are you under a lot of chronic stress?
- Are you eating a majority of whole foods and good sources of fats and protein?
- Are you regularly exercising and getting movement in your day?
- Are you getting outside?
- Are you monitoring your screen time?
- Is your heart rate within a healthy range?
These are just a few ways to help determine your level of health.
Don’t get defeated by the number on the scale, keep being consistent with your healthy habits, keep working out, keep eating healthy, keep doing things that bring you joy! You can still be healthy at a higher body weight. The world needs you to GROW not to shrink down. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale. By no means is that the only indication of your health, wellbeing and most importantly… your happiness.
Remember, it’s not about the weight on our body, it’s about the weight of our words. So let’s use kind ones when we talk about ourselves (and others!).
At Grown Strong we're advocates for the "modern" way of measuring health. By optimizing your sleep, eating habits, exercising and everything else mentioned above, YOU WILL BE HEALTHY! If you need guidance and a supportive community then sign up for Grown Strong today and we'll help you find healthiness.