What would it look like if your definition of “health” wasn’t tied to a number on the scale?
How would you do it differently? Would it change your relationship with food? With movement?
At a time of year when we are bombarded with messages that center on weight or having a certain type of body, we invite you to step back, take a few deep breaths, and consider a different path. A path that is more supportive of your whole-person health.
The number on the scale is simply one factor in overall health and wellbeing. It is tempting to focus on weight because it is something we can easily measure at home, unlike blood pressure, cholesterol, or micronutrient levels. Unfortunately, focusing on weight can backfire.
What happens when the number on the scale isn’t what you hope for? Maybe you give up, whether that’s for a day, a week, or longer. Or, you might judge yourself, thinking if you just had more self-control, the number would be different. You could punish yourself by restricting food (which will often cycle with overdoing it, a completely normal psychological response to restriction). Ultimately, these things do not have the desired affects on your physical or mental health.
If you’ve read this far, you are interested in trying a different approach. You care about your health AND you want more for yourself. If it’s not about the scale, where do you start?
Back to Basics
Check in on your current routines around your health and wellness. This includes food and nutrition, movement, stress management, sleep, and more. Each piece of your health picture affects all the other pieces. Start by taking stock of where you are with each component.
When and how are you moving your body? What helps you stay committed and energized? If a lot of your movement relies on getting outdoors, reflect on what that means for the winter months. Options include investing in gear so that you can bundle up and continue getting outside (which is also great for mental health!) or moving things indoors for the next few months, whether at home or going to a gym. If movement feels boring, what would make it more exciting? There are nearly endless options, with classes for various ability levels: dance classes, rock climbing, aerial arts, martial arts. A new year is a great opportunity to try a new form of movement!
Regardless of where you currently rate your stress level, it is always a good time to engage in practices that support your mental and emotional health. Stress management might involve some kind of movement, either vigorous or lower key, for example gentle yoga or tai chi. Stress management might involve stillness. There are many great apps for guided meditations; one of our favorites is Insight Timer. Stress management might also look like journaling, talking to a friend, or tackling some clutter in your home.
It is hard to function well with inadequate sleep. Getting enough sleep is important in the short term for immune health and gut health and in the long term for neurological health, heart health, and more! Check out our post on sleep for more details and tips for improving both quality and quantity of sleep.
Food and nutrition
Getting back to the basics in this component of health has many facets and our team of registered dietitian nutritionists is ready to help you explore them! Are you eating enough? Eating regularly or skipping meals? Getting over hungry and / or winding up uncomfortably full on a regular basis?
From a nutrition standpoint, we love to help our clients identify areas of opportunity for dietary changes that have multiple health benefits. For example, regularly consuming a variety of high fiber foods (vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts & seeds, and whole grains) has short term health benefits including improved gut, immune, and mental health AND long-term health benefits including reduced cholesterol, improved heart health, and reduced risk for colon cancer. And all of these benefits are independent of the number on the scale!
Deciding to push back against the weight-focused cultural norms is not easy AND it is worth it! If you are ready for a new perspective, our team can provide support for your nutrition and health goals that go far beyond a number on the scale.