Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ditching the Scale: Why Numbers Don't Matter.

Numbers. The ones that we set some much importance to like they define who we are, our worthiness and our self-value.

When you think about it, weight is just the force that gravity has on an object. It's a simple physics equation. It changes in different environments, it's not even a constant.

Yet, we are influenced all our lives to think of our weight as a very important factor. Society has deemed that there is a norm that we should aspire to. Never mind that it doesn’t take into account the beautiful diversity of ethnicity, body types and lifestyles. Women should all be blonde, blue-eyed, tall and thin. Men should all be tall, dashing and ripped. Wait, this sounds vaguely familiar, eugenics anyone?

I'm going to make a few things clear before I continue. Yes, being healthy and fit is important, not for esthetics but for the wellbeing of the person. I don't agree with the movement that advocates overweight women being "real". But I do think that positive body image is extremely important. Everyone should have access to the same levels of health. A balanced life.

Everywhere we look, we see a new program, a new diet that tells people that they can achieve their weight loss goals in ridiculous amounts of time that just cannot be healthy or sometimes even safe. I've been there, many times. It was not only damaging to my body, but also to my mind because it kept me in the quick fix mindset and always looking for the wrong methods.

What needs to be done is a massive shift in focus.

Focusing on HEALTH. On living well, on abundant, plentiful life.

Focusing on LIFESTYLE shifts, on lasting change that can be maintained without a sense of deprivation.

Social conditioning is hard to break. Let's stop taking the "easy" ways out that never last. A true long lasting change may not always be easy, but it's the only way to get over this crazy idea of one true ideal.I still have massive issues with body image because of many reasons, one of them being that a certain image has been so deeply ingrained in my head that it's difficult to shake.

I also hold myself to very strict ideals. I am very hard on myself and most days  it keeps me from being able to enjoy the successes that I've had so far. This is probably because I've constructed such a strong image of what I want that until I achieve it, I've put massive blinders on myself.

One way that I've found to rip those blinders off, is that I don't weigh myself. Especially when I'm undertaking a bigger change, like I have been in the last few months. The scale is not my friend because I associate so much value to the number that shows up that it hinders my progress because if it's not what I want it to be or what I think it should be, I get demoralized, even if physically I've noticed a difference.

I used to measure myself to keep up with my progress, but then I found that I was transferring my bad number habit to that.

The truth of the matter is, weight fluctuates, throughout the day, throughout the month and throughout different life changes. Muscle is also denser than fat, so if you gain muscle you might lose volume but not weight. So how it a valid tool for your progress if it's so unreliable?

So I say, screw numbers. They do not define you. Your progress should be measured in sweat, in laughter and in feeling.

We are not made of numbers. We are made of experiences, of emotions and of stories. Instead of making yours about a scale, make it about your journey, your story. Because it a much better story to tell than looking at a graph of numbers.

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