The following post is written by guest blogger and nutritionist Sally Duplantier

“As part of my annual check-up, I had my cholesterol tested, certain that the numbers would improve due to a year of great nutrition and exercise.  Imagine my surprise – and disappointment – when the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides had actually gone up.  The overall ratios were excellent and hadn’t changed in the past 10 years.  However, I could not see beyond those other two numbers.  How could they be bad, when I had been so good?”
 
Our Fixation with Numbers
Our fixation with numbers starts at an early age and continues through life.  In school, we have test scores.  At work, we have performance reviews.  In the wellness world, there are blood pressure readings, heart rate, steps per day, calories burned and of course – the number on the scale.  It’s not that these numbers aren’t important.  They serve as markers for health and keep us focused on goals.  The problem is when we are so obsessed with a number that it defines our self-worth.

Numbers Gone Awry
Consider a friend of mine who became overly focused on hitting the daily Movement goal on his smartwatch.  Since he only had 50 more calories to burn for the day, he jumped up and down on the cement floor in his garage.  He reached his goal but also developed shin splints and could barely walk for a week.

A Different Way of Thinking
Try this thought experiment for a day:  ignore the scale (or number of steps or calories burned) and simply focus on how you feel.

  • Is your energy good?
  • Can you do the things you want physically?
  • How do your clothes fit?
  • Are you confident in your appearance?

Weight Watchers calls these “non-scale victories.”  My favorite came from a client who hadn’t lost weight as quickly as she had hoped.  When I asked her about a non-scale victory, she said, “I feel like trying on pants again.”

The Top Takeaway
When it comes to health and especially weight loss, numbers play a role, but they don’t define who you are or what you’ve accomplished.  Cut yourself some slack!

 

Guest author and nutritionist, Sally Duplantier, creator of www.MyZingLife.com