Kara showed up in my office feeling frustrated and confused, she exclaims “just when I think I’m doing well and finally losing weight, I step on the scale and see the same number for the third month in a row!“ Kara previously lost weight by eliminating most carbohydrates – motivated to look fabulous in her wedding dress – dropped 30+ lbs only to regain the weight and more. This time, Kara is taking a different approach by eating well-balanced and including 5 workouts each week. She discovered a unique gym near home that provides guided exercise with the statistical feedback through her Fitbit and heart rate monitor, which helped increase her motivation and engagement. However, she has found the process is much slower this time around.
Kara’s story is not uncommon and may sound familiar to some of you. During our conversation, Kara explains she hasn’t been to the doctor for years and worries her weight may have a negative impact on her health. She asked frankly, “can you be healthy and still carry extra weight at the same time?” The short answer, YES.
When you go to the doctor, the nurse checks your weight, height, blood pressure, temperature, pulse, etc. Often, the doctor orders lab test to get additional information about your overall health and well-being. If you were to go to the doctor and they simply checked your weight, then the doctor comes in and prescribes diabetes medications, I imagine you would be suspicious and skeptical about this diagnosis. Our body mass index – BMI – is simply one clinical indicator of health. This number does not take into account your muscle mass, bone density, or genetic background, all of which have significant impact on your health.
At Well Balanced Nutrition, we believe in health at every size. This is not a free pass to go eat a dozen donuts and sit on the sofa all weekend! Health is sum of your lifestyle, diet, and behavior choices. Checking your weight regularly, whether that means every day, once a week, or once a month is one way to track your progress. However, there are many other means of tracking.
How do you know you’re on track?
- How do your clothes fit? Have you found yourself exclusively reaching for the yoga pants, elastic waist, and loose-fitting clothes? That might be a sign that it’s time to pay closer attention to what you are eating and/or drinking. Prior to starting a workout program, you can also take measurements around your arms, waist, hips, and thighs. That way, in case you gain muscle and do not lose weight, you will likely still lose inches.
- What are you eating? I know firsthand, how someone has eaten for the last 3 days is how they have “always eaten.“ We humans have terrible memories for the details of what we consumed lately unless there is some means of tracking. That might be an app, paper food journal, or picture journal.
- How is your mood? Personally, when I don’t eat well, get insufficient sleep, or less physical activity I feel awful. I’m a little extra irritable, moody, and generally less fun to be around – just ask my boyfriend! Pay attention to your mood and ask yourself “WHY am I feeling the way I feel?” Has something in your routine changed?
- How are you sleeping? Sleep is directly impacted by our day-to-day choices. Some people notice they sleep poorly if they eat simple carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, after 7 PM. Others report sleeping poorly if they have too much alcohol to drink or not enough water.
- What is your energy level? It could be low due to an extra stressful week, catching up from vacation, or having a sick child at home. Our energy level is all highly impacted by what we eat and how we spend our free time.
Food for thought:
If health is not determined by our weight, why do we keep letting that darn number on the scale tell us about our self-worth and well being? You are more than a number! What other means of tracking helps you know you are Well Balanced?