I wrote an article a while back on the dangers of yo-yo dieting and how cyclic losing and gaining weight is far worse for you than maintaining an above normal weight. But yet, we all still desire to make it to that perfect weight. Why?
The fact is that life happens. We get older. We get comfortable. We quit exercising and eating right. Our habits change. Our health deteriorates. Our body image hits rock bottom. And before we know it, we are yearning to get back to that weight. That magical number on the scale that will somehow make everything right again.
I’m a huge fan of the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. At one point in the book, it addresses unrealistic weight loss goals and has you answer a group of questions to help you determine if you are striving after an unattainable weight. Grab a piece of paper and jot down your answers to the following questions:
1. What was your weight in high school? ____ In college? ____
2. What’s your lowest stable body weight without dieting? ____
3. How does your body build compare to your parents? _________
4. Dieting weight:
What is the lowest dieting weight you’ve ever attained? ____
For how long? ____
What did it take to achieve this weight? ____
After weight loss, what weight do you usually return to? ____
5. What is your highest weight? ____
6. How do these numbers compare to your current goal?
The first time I did this, I literally felt like a 50# weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I realized that my current weight is the right weight for ME, and I no longer had the pressure of getting to the standardized ideal weight for my height. With the amount of time and energy that I have and am willing to put toward my health, it was never going to happen. I am a working mom with young kids, and spending two hours a day in the gym was not feasible for me. I am not willing to sacrifice that much time and energy into something that really doesn’t matter for eternity.
I think all too often, your doctor (or even your dietitian) will tell you that you need to weigh a certain amount according to their charts. But the fact is that everyone is different.
We don’t live in an ideal world, so we can’t expect everyone to be at an ideal weight.
Lots of research has shown that you can be overweight and much healthier than someone who is thin, based on your lifestyle. The number on the scale does not determine your health. If you are being active and eating right most of the time, then you are doing what you are supposed to do – taking care of the one and only body you are given on this earth.
In “Intuitive Eating”, the authors include a quote that speaks so much truth, it hurts.
“You may need to mourn for the lost body you never had or will have, and evaluate what this means to you. What price have you paid (time, energy, emotional investment) chasing one diet after another to seek your fantasy body shape?”
Ask yourself: Is it worth it?
No matter what your body shape or size is, you can improve your health by taking care of your body. Here are the basics:
1. Eat when you are hungry; stop when you are full
2. Enjoy all foods in moderation
3. Move every day
4. Find an accountability partner, someone who will encourage you in your journey
If you can incorporate a healthy lifestyle by eating better and moving more, your body will find it’s natural healthy weight… and you should be content with that number, whatever it may be.
Originally published 1/22/15.