Dear Holly: How important is our weight? – The Bathroom Scale.
Dear Bathroom Scale: Weight is one tool that we can use to assess overall health, but unfortunately, it too often carries way more, er, weight than that. The number of the scale can be the difference between a good day and a bad day, if we feel pretty or not or if we “deserve” this or that. Yikes!
Our body consists of several kinds of tissues – our bones, our muscles, blood, food being digested and yes, fat. We do need some as an energy reservoir and some to cushion our organs, but for many Americans, we could stand to have less.
Based on our weight and height, we can calculate our Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI does not assess body composition; how much fat you have relative to tissue types such as muscle and bone. BMI is simply total weight as compared to height. That gives us a rough idea as to our weight status – too high, too low, or just right?
BMI is not perfect – and its ranges don’t suit everyone. It is useful for assessing groups of people quickly and their trends over time, but it isn’t the only tool we should be using to assess our health and wellness.
We need to be a little more sophisticated in assessing our health. Yes, check out your weight once in a while, and keep it within a healthy range, but don’t end your assessment there. Also look at your, hip to waist ratio, fiber intake, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, and daily physical activity.
And ask yourself:
Could you run a mile if you were being chased by bulls?
When was the last time you lifted weights or stretched your muscles?
What are your cholesterol values and ratios?
Do you use tobacco?
Furthermore: how are you sleeping? Is your work bringing you challenges, growth and satisfaction? Do you have positive personal relationships? Is water your main beverage?
There is indeed an obesity epidemic in our nation. Too many of our adults and our children are unhealthy. But it isn’t just the weight – we aren’t well. If we just focus on the weight, we are missing the big picture. If we just focus on the scale, we are treating the symptoms.
What are the real problems?
There are many possible contributors: low intake of fruits and vegetables, exorbitant intake of junk, extensive hours in front of screens, minimal physical activity…the list goes on and on. We need to work on wellness throughout our daily lives.
The other downside of simply focusing on weight is that there are also folks who are thin in spite of their unhealthy habits – and their weight gives them a false sense of security. Sometimes health professionals refer to these people as the “skinny fat” – their weight is fine, but their health isn’t.
In the end, weight is one tool to assess our health – but there many other factors of health. Don’t let weight be an assessment of your own worth or beauty.
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What’s your question for Holly? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!