What I care about more than how much I weigh

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I really have absolutely no idea how much I weigh, which is actually quite interesting considering I spent YEARS of my life weighing myself daily. If you asked me to throw out a guess, I don’t even think I could give you a guess within 10 pounds of accuracy. I really have no clue.

And I have no desire to know.

The scale and I broke up a long time ago, and it was the best breakup ever.

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a bit, you would know that I highly highly suggest people throw out their scales. Like, literally throw them out. Get rid of them.

Throughout my own journey and through working with thousands of women around their health, relationship with food and body image, I have found the scale to have a mostly negative impact on peoples overall health.

Most women (and increasingly more men, I think) are seriously triggered by the number on the scale. If our goal is to feel confident, HOLISTICALLY healthy, and in love with ourselves and our lives, there are WAY better ways to gauge how we’re doing than letting a silly arbitrary number dictate that.

A lower number does NOT necessarily mean greater health. Not if a lower number comes with obsessive calorie counting, constant food anxiety, negative self talk, binge eating, restricting, pushing our bodies too hard at the gym, and not being able to enjoy our lives because we’re always trying to reach that lower number.

As a health and lifestyle coach, I seriously care about my health. It means a lot to me, because I love myself and my life, and I want to live a life in which I feel strong, vibrant, energized, and full-on engaged.

But, the scale no longer tells me how holistically “healthy” I am. I care about other things way more than I care about my weight.

So here’s how I gauge my health and how I’m doing.

Here’s what I care about way more than how much I weigh:

  • I care that I feel energized and have enough energy to give everything I’ve got to my business, my friends, my family, and myself on a daily basis.
  • I care that I don’t have anxiety about food. I eat what I want, when I want, in a balanced way.
  • I care that I am not emotionally eating all the time. Sometimes, this is something I choose to do – food CAN be one of many coping mechanisms – but I care that I am not constantly using food to cope or fill a void.
  • I care that I speak nicely to myself, showing myself compassion and kindness.
  • I care about my digestion being healthy – that I don’t get stomach aches and that everything is “regular”.
  • I care that I rarely get sick. If I got sick, I would know something was up.
  • I care about being able to have ice cream in my freezer that lasts for weeks. It has no power over me or “allure”, so I don’t ever binge on it.
  • I care about the fact that I never binge anymore.
  • I care that I get a regular period.
  • I care that my mood is generally balanced.
  • I care about the fact that a friend can suggest going out for mexican food on a whim and my thoughts go to “am I in the mood for mexican? omg i want nachos!”, not “crap. how many calories are in the guacamole.”
  • I care that I can drink cocktails, beer, wine, or anything else when I feel like it, and don’t even remember how many calories are in these things.
  • I care that my body feels good. I trust her to tell me when I need to lay off the cocktails, get more sleep, or cook a meal from home.
  • I care that my skin is clear.
  • I care that I sleep well.
  • I care that I consistently move my body in a way that feels good. I care about getting stronger, having endurance, and flexibility.
  • I care that I cook from home frequently, giving my body wholesome foods that I physically make and that give my body a break from eating out.
  • I care that I have a really balanced relationship with sugar. I don’t worry that I am going to binge on desserts.
  • I care that big events and bathing suit season don’t stress me out (like they used to) and cause me to try to crash diet.
  • I care that I generally eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full, respecting my body’s hunger cues.

So… this is how I gauge my health and how I’m doing.

I care about these things FAR more than how much I weigh, because there were years when I weighed less but I lost many of the things listed above. I was NOT healthier, no way.

My weight fluctuates a lot based on my lifestyle, hormones, and who knows what else. As my weight fluctuates, of course it can throw me off mentally. Does this MEAN something? But I just keep coming back to this list. Am I handling food in a way that feels right for me? Am I eating “intuitively”? Am I listening to hunger / fullness cues most of the time? Do I feel energized, vibrant, and healthy? Am I sleeping well? 

Sometimes, of course, according to this list, I’m not feeling good. So I adjust. Here are some examples:

  • If I notice that I’ve felt consistently tired, worn out, or moody, I take a look at things. I may adjust how much sugar I’m consuming, up my home cooked meals, and try to get more sleep.
  • If I notice that I’m eating emotionally too often, I’ll ask myself “whats up?”, “what is this food doing for you?” “what do you really need right now?” and I’ll work through it
  • If I notice my skin breaking out, I’ll take a look at my diet and see what’s changed. Maybe I notice I’ve been eating more sugar than usual or something else has changed, so I’ll experiment in switching it up so that my skin clears up.

But I use these kinds of things to assess my “health” instead of a number on a scale.

These things tell me how I am doing as a whole, how vibrant of a life I’m living, and how much I am respecting myself and my body.

To me, that is a much better gauge of my “health”.

What do you think?? I’d love to hear about your relationship with your weight or the scale.

Love,

Jamie

 

 

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  1. So well said Jamie — I love it!

  2. Love this post.
    Up until just about 3 years ago I was exactly the same – I now only know what I vaguely weigh from my post natal check. I’m actually kind of ashamed to admit that I had more than a fleeting moment of panic when I read that number on the scale. I hadnt seen a number on the scale in well over 5 years and I was feeling great about myself and everyone was telling me how fabulous I looked 8 weeks after having my 3rd baby. I hadn’t filled out anywhere but my bump and was back in my normal clothes literally a week after birth. But the number on the scale still irked me.
    I had a f*cking stern word with myself and remembered how my relationship with food and the gym had been transformed after working with Chris Sandel 3 years previously and after a couple of days I was over it. I did actively reduce my cake consumption though.
    Aster is 4 months now and I’m looking forward to starting to get some proper sweat inducing exercise back into my life, it’s the longest I’ve not been to the gym in a decade and guess what, my body doesn’t look too bad.

    • This part made me chuckle: “I had a f*cking stern word with myself ” :) haha love it! Sometimes we need to have those “words” with ourselves to remind us how far we have come, what is truly important, and what does / does not work for us! It’s also important to remember that every phase in our lives is different – there will be a time (it sounds like soon) when you can get back to more exercise, etc, and then your body will change yet again!

  3. Throwing out my scale was the best decision I ever made. Whenever I feel like I’m slipping backwards into old habits of letting numbers dictate how I feel about myself, I reread your post about reaching your goal weight and it not mattering because you were ALREADY the person you wanted to be, living the life you wanted to live.

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