10 Reasons You Should Focus On Health Instead Of The Number On The Scale
For years I grappled over the number on the scale, watching it go up and down but never getting low enough to make me happy. Some days I would step on it numerous times to see if that number had gone down after a long workout and little food. Sadly at the time I didn’t realize that getting that number low enough isn’t what would make me happy or healthy.
Eventually I stopped stepping on it and surprisingly I got happier. Then I stopped trying to change my body to fit the mold that society deems as beautiful. Finally I learned how to love my body, as it is with no clue what my weight actually is.
I also threw my scale out and it felt invigorating. It no longer owned me and my happiness, and I want the same for you. I began learning about health and truly treating my body well. I began to nurture and nourish my body and I became even happier.
Here are 10 reasons why you should focus on health instead of the number on the scale:
1) It will help you keep weight off in the long run. When you’re making it a daily or even weekly habit to weigh yourself, it leads to restriction with your diet and trying to fit in as much exercise as you can to get that number down. This usually ends up with you not eating enough, pushing too hard with exercise and then inevitably falling off the wagon. It’s not sustainable because it doesn’t support your blood sugar or hormonal health.
When you focus on health instead you end up nourishing yourself, balancing your blood sugar and preventing cravings or blood sugar crashes. This is much easier to maintain because you actually feel good and have energy to be more active throughout the day. When you push yourself constantly you increase cortisol levels and this leads to excess abdominal weight gain (aka muffin top or love handles).
2) It makes you happier. When your focusing on the number on the scale and restricting what you eat to make that number go down it leads to you becoming hangry and irrational, often. This is caused by the blood sugar fluctuations I mentioned in the previous point and is a combination of being hungry and angry.
The other thing that happens when you don’t focus on your health is you become malnourished. You tend to focus on low calorie, low-fat foods rather than nutrient dense foods. This can lead to depression because you’re lacking things like essential fatty acids for brain health and amino acids from proteins to produce neurotransmitters that make you feel happy.
3) It improves your sex life. When you’re always stressing about your weight and hitting the gym to get a workout in to try and burn some calories, you increase cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol steals from your sex hormones to produce more cortisol.
I’ve talked about this in a previous blog post here. Those blood sugar swings I talked about as well also increase cortisol output. Nourishing your body and incorporating calm activities like yoga and walking into your life can help boost that libido, making the focus on health that much more fun!
4) It improves your confidence. When you stop focusing on the number on the scale you start caring less. Generally when you know what that number is and you know that it’s not where you want it to be, you feel self-conscious.
Once you stop caring you gain confidence because you’re not trying so desperately to fit a mold that isn’t you. You feel better about yourself and are able to just be authentic. Guess what? this also helps with point number 3!
5) You become more beautiful. Ironically, when you stop trying to be beautiful by societal terms and just be yourself, you become more beautiful. Your confidence and personality radiate through, creating your own unique beauty.
6) Self-love, baby! You cannot truly love yourself, as you are, right now, when you are pushing your body to achieve a lower number on the scale. When you stop the madness and accept your body as it is and treat it with care by nourishing it, resting it when needed and moving it because it feels good, then you can start to love yourself. When you focus on health you feel good inside out rather than just trying to look good outside in.
7) The people around you benefit. When you’re happy with yourself and confident you’re more fun to be around. When your struggling with blood sugar lows because you’re focusing on that number on the scale the people around you have to take the brunt of your hangry episodes. When you don’t want to go out because you feel fat in your jeans, your significant other has to miss out too. Maybe he ends up going without you and then you both miss out on the opportunity to make new memories.
Pretty soon the only memories you have are fights about wanting to stay in for the night and not go out. You also have more free time to spend to make memories with your family and friends. When you’re not obsessed with getting your daily workout out in so you can burn a certain amount of calories to offset that piece of cheesecake you ate at the family dinner last night, you have more freedom.
8) It improves your digestion. When you’re focusing on the scale like I said before, this can raise cortisol levels, which impedes digestion. You can develop leaky gut, dysbiosis, heartburn, bloating, gas, allergies and nutrient deficiencies with increased stress levels. Stress, including mental/emotional, under eating/dieting and over exercising, can lead to low stomach acid. This will cause constipation and poor absorption of all vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, chromium, iodine, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Deficiencies in amino acids and essential fatty acids may also occur, which can lead to numerous health issues including depression. Low stomach acid or hypochloridia also prevents activation of certain enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters while allowing bacterial pathogens to enter the body.
9) It improves your skin health. When you focus on health your digestive system heals, which is at the root of most health issues, skin included. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability allows protein molecules to enter the blood stream. The body mounts an immune attack, as it perceives these molecules as invaders. This can be linked to eczema, psoriasis and acne. You also need certain nutrients like vitamin A and zinc for skin health which you can become deficient in like the point above mentioned.
10) You’ll get sick less often. High cortisol and leaky gut like I’ve described in previous points both contribute to lowered immunity. As do nutrient deficiencies like vitamin A, C and zinc, which support the immune system. When you focus on health by eating nutrient dense foods, resting when needed and not pushing through a workout even when you feel something coming on and healing your digestive system supports your overall wellbeing and immunity.
Now if these aren’t compelling enough reasons to throw out your scale and restock your fridge with whole foods so you can change your focus to health, then I don’t know what is.