“Forget the bikini, Ginny! I don’t want Diabetes!” exclaims my friend Brie as she poetically explains to me what her weight-loss goals are. Most of the women I work with phrase this thought, “I don’t care at all about being skinny. I just want to be healthy.” Brie has that rare and precious gift of being able to succinctly and clearly get her point across.
January is National Healthy Weight Awareness month. Googling who created it or why, brought me no answers. Instead I found many articles focused on how to exercise safely to reach a goal weight. Sometimes, even Google gets it wrong.
What is “healthy weight,” anyway?
“Appropriate for your height,” is one definition. There are may ways to measure it…the scale, Body Mass Index (BMI), body composition. Each of these ways to determine if your weight is healthy for you is flawed. Maybe “healthy weight” is your “ideal” weight? These are numbers determined by actuaries at insurance companies and many would argue they are not ideal at all.
What does “healthy weight” mean to you? (I’d love to see your answers to this question in the comments section below.)
For me, it means fitting comfortably into clothes that make me feel good when I see my reflection. It is a place where I feel strong, mobile and capable. It’s a number that is easy enough for me to maintain with minimal effort. It’s where food is fuel and not a weapon used to wage war against my body. Sometimes it’s a number on the scale, sometimes it’s a body composition number, sometimes it’s a clothing size or it’s the results from blood tests at my annual physical.
What “healthy weight” means to you is important. In my experience as a health and wellness professional, helping people to lose weight and improve their health for the past 16 years, healthy weight is not just a number on the scale. What you feel like, what medications you are or aren’t taking, and what you look like in your clothes are all more important than what the scale says.
The scale can deceive. I know women who are a size 4 and weigh 160 pounds and I know women who are a size 14 at the same weight. According to the scale, neither is at “ideal” weight, but both are at a “healthy” weight.
That is why I’m asking you to define what healthy weight means for you. Please don’t tell me what “they” think you should weigh. That’s not the answer. Instead answer these questions: What will you be doing when you are a healthy weight? What will you feel like at a healthy weight? How will your life be different when you are at a healthy weight? Is your current weight restricting your life and activity? If yes, why?
As you dig in and define this, you may find you’re already at a healthy weight. Awesome!
You may decide you want to make some changes to get to your healthy weight. Awesome!
How do you make a change that doesn’t overwhelm you? Can you get to a healthy weight and stay there?
I have a formula that I’ve used with my clients for years. It’s a method that always works and I’ve recently refined into a quick recipe. It’s simple and it works. Is it easy? Well, it’s easy to follow.
It begins with one thought…You want to achieve a healthy weight.
Add one action. Yes, just ONE action that will start moving you towards your goal.
Stir it up by continuing to take the action.
Taste it…is the action working for you?
Adjust…change the action, intensify it or weaken it.
Repeat the process until you’ve achieved your goal.
It really can be that simple.
Can you complicate it with elaborate plans and restrictions? Sure. We often do. It’s the adding on that can derail us entirely. We get overwhelmed, we can’t keep up with it all and we give up. In celebration of National Healthy Weight Awareness month, do something different. Keep is simple, follow the recipe. Let me know how it goes.