Is a Number On The Scale All That Important?

More important than a number

More important than a number

I have to admit that the majority of my clients contact me because they want to lose weight.  That’s not a surprise, really.  After all,  I am fitness and wellness coach and most people equate fitness and wellness with a certain number on the scale.  If they are connecting with me, chances are they haven’t been able to make that number a part of their reality.   By the time they contact me they are usually frustrated with themselves and ready to try just about anything to make the numbers on that scale drop.

The good news is that I  help people reach their goals.

One of my clients recently wanted to lose enough weight to fit into a special dress for her new daughter’s christening.  After thirty days, the dress fit and she was ready to experience that ceremony feeling good about herself and all the amazing things that are filling her life right now.

But what happens when the scale doesn’t budge?  If you ask most people, they will tell you that they could stand to lose about ten pounds.  And as anyone who has ever been on a diet will tell you, that last ten pounds is a killer.  No matter what you try, nothing seems to work.  I have a friend who jokes he has been losing the same five pounds for years now.   So what do you do to reach that elusive goal?

As a society, we have been trained to believe that we are supposed to be thin.  Television and movies continually show us how we are supposed to look.   From Nickelodeon to The Real Housewives, the message is not so subtle and very clear–thin is in.  Of course, when you hold yourself to someone else’s standard, only one thing can happen.  Frustration.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for living at a healthy weight.  It is critical for  your overall well-being that you maintain a weight that works for you.  But striving to reach a self-inflicted number simply because you think you should is not only difficult, it can be downright dangerous.

Perhaps it would be more productive to look not just at the number on the scale, but at the overall condition of your life.  After all, the definition of wellness involves the integration of the mind, body, and spirit.  Focusing too heavily on one will almost certainly throw the others out of balance.  I may be crazy, but I believe that the whole idea of living is to enjoy  life.  To make a difference in your own life and the lives of others while creating a sense of accomplishment and joy in everyday existence.

Live in the moment

Live in the moment

Is losing that last ten pound vital for a happy life?  Or is the idea of living a healthy life in order to get the most out of it more important.  Ultimately it depends on your point of view, but sometimes letting go of unrealistic expectations can be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.

A friend of mine has been working on those last ten pounds for years.  She is not particularly overweight, but would like to be slimmer.  Actually, she would like to be the weight on her driver’s license which hasn’t been updated in forty years.   A few days ago she finally made the connection that for her, it wasn’t about weight loss anymore.   Her real motivation was not about fitting into smaller jeans, but being able to enjoy retirement without a walker or an oxygen tank.  She is active and vivacious, and the idea of not being physically able to do what she wants in a few years was terrifying to her.

For her, a healthy diet and daily exercise is no longer a means to a certain number or a reason for a  shopping spree.   It is more about creating a lifestyle for staying healthy and active so she can travel freely with her husband as they will soon have the free time to explore all the places they haven’t been yet.  And she allows that lifestyle to include dessert!  Not a bad decision in my book.

As with most things in life, it all comes down to a choice.  Is your weight preventing you from doing what you want?  Is it adversely affecting your health?  Or is your desire to see a certain number on the scale keeping you from experiencing  the small moments in life where happiness is found?  Both options can easily disrupt your long-term well-being.

Losing weight can be a good thing.  But it is not the only thing that determines our well-being.  The perception of a number on a scale should not keep you from experiencing a rich and full life. Perhaps a better reason to live a healthy lifestyle is to embrace all the joy that a fit and vibrant body can create.

And maybe a life richly lived might just be a better achievement than simply reaching a certain number on a scale.

If you are ready to let go of your expectations and create a healthy new lifestyle, contact me for a 30 minute consultation about your future.  It’s free, and could add years to your life. 

Related Posts:

Happiness Depends on Your Point of View

If I’m Eating Less, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Just Thirty Minutes…Really?




About Chris Griffin

Chris Griffin is a executive coach with a passion for wellness. He helps executives and senior management enhance their performance and their lives by pinpointing and changing self-defeating behaviors.
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