Weight is not a measure of health

 

Last week I went to the doctor’s office to have my lungs listened to (I think I was exposed to some mold, which always triggers an asthma response in my body).

But before we even got to the conversation about my breathing, one of the lovely nurses took my blood pressure and then asked me to step on the scale.

I kindly, but firmly said.

“I’m not going to weigh myself because I don’t believe that weight is a measure of health.”

She was a bit taken aback.

She had never heard me say this before, since she was new. However, I have said it several times at the doctors office AND at my teenage daughter’s doctors appointments)

Once she got over her surprise of someone taking the lead in their health-care and having a strong opinion, she looked me straight in the eyes and warmly said “okay” and we moved on to my real health issue.

Getting weighed at the doctor seems like the norm, but it doesn’t have to be, and here are the 3 reasons why:


#1: DO NO HARM

The reality is that when you ask a woman who is struggling (or has in the past struggled) with body-image or food issues to get on the scale and be weighed, you may in fact be causing harm.

The number on the scale can be an emotional trigger which can send women into eating patterns that are harmful to their physical and/or mental well-being.

It can look something like this…

“I can’t believe I weigh that much. I’ve been really focusing on caring for myself and nourishing myself well, but I haven’t lost any weight. So really it doesn’t matter what I do!” – what follows could be a binge, restriction, or another disordered eating pattern.

or

“I can’t believe I weigh that much, I feel terrible about myself. I feel like a failure. I’m not allowed to feel good about myself because I’m not at my ideal weight”

Basically, the number on the scale becomes the measure of self-worth.

OH MY – You are worth so much more than the number on the scale!!!

#2: WEIGHT IS NOT A  MEASURE OF HEALTH

I know, I know, we’ve been culturally trained into the idea that living in a larger body is unhealthy, and that weight is a measure of health. It’s NOT (gasp)!

We can be healthy at any size, just as we can be unhealthy at any size.

There are much more effective and useful measures of health than weight, such as:

  • Energy level
  • Digestion
  • Metrics such as Blood pressure, triglycerides, hormonal levels and more
  • Sleep
  • Mental state

When we only look at weight versus our total health, we aren’t giving ourself a full or accurate picture of our health.

 

#3: KEEP THE FOCUS ON HEALTH NOT SIZE

It’s not uncommon in the health-care realm for providers to point at weight as the problem.

In the book Body-Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, there is a story of a father and daughter that both go to their physician for joint issues. The daughter is appropriately prescribed exercises, anti-inflammatory and PT appointments. The father who lives in a larger body is told to lose weight – ONLY.

Why is the father not given all the supportive suggestions that the daughter was given?

Because the focus became his weight and not his health.

If weight becomes the focus of your health care you are short-changing yourself.

You are more than the number on the scale.

You are more than your size.

You are in your charge of your health-care.

You CAN ask to NOT be weighed.

My favorite way to do is to say:

“I won’t be getting on the scale. I don’t believe that weight is a measure of health.”

I hope this empowers you to take care of yourself and protect yourself from being triggered by the number on the scale.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nina Manolson, MA, NBC-HWC, board certified Health Coach and Psychology of Eating Coach believes that every woman deserves to feel good in her own body. She helps women create a healthy and positive relationship with their food and body so they can love their body and life!  She’s the founder of NinaManolson.com and NourishedWomanNation.com 

She helps busy women look and feel their best. She specializes in working with women over 40 who have tried other diets and approaches but are still struggling with their body and food. She helps women step into a new wellness paradigm that makes self-care real and do-able and turns it into sustainable healthy habits that

She’s the author of “Feed Your Kids Well In A World That Doesn’t: an everyday guide to make healthy food happen in your home and beyond”. She’s also the recipient of the prestigious Health Leadership Award from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

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