Fitness and Lifestyle

Feel Good for Summer: The Number on the Scales Does Not Define You



So according to a well-respected source *ahem, facebook*, yesterday was the vernal equinox marking the official start of Spring. Finally! Naturally, the Great British weather is treating us to a deceptively chilly day to honour the occasion (I'm typing to you from the depths of my turtle neck), but hopefully this means warmer weather and sunnier days are on the horizon.

It's also around this time of year that all the magazines are going to start telling you that you need to 'lose weight for summer'. For the small price of ~£3.50 you can turn to p. 67 and find out how to lose an arbitrary amount of weight in an unrealistic amount of time (it usually involves doing something weird like spiralizing sheep bogeys or sleeping with a pineapple under your left butt cheek). The front page of one particular glossy I came across the other day had 'how to love your body' on one side, beautifully contradicted with 'how to lose 7lbs' splashed across the other. And that's where the issue lies. First up - where did 7lbs come from? Why not 6lbs? Or 10lbs? And secondly, what's wrong with my body right now - 7lbs and all?

Weight loss as a goal is totally fine. For some people, losing weight is essential to improving their health. For others, having a specific target is a big help in staying motivated. But what we're really talking about is fat loss and how much your body weighs is only one part of the picture. It's important to look at weight in context with other indicating factors - body composition, blood pressure, fitness, energy levels. What your body can do and how you feel. The number on the scale does not define you. When we focus solely on weight, we're ignoring all the other awesome things your body can do, in favour of a number (which let's face it can fluctuate so often depending on things like how hydrated you are or when you last pooped!) Your weight doesn't determine your self worth.

The point I'm trying to make is that wherever you are in your fitness journey - however much you weigh - you are already good enough. You deserve to feel good about yourself right now - not 7lbs from now.

This summer, instead of focusing on how many pounds and ounces the magazines have told us we should lose before we can strut our stuff in swimwear, let's focus instead on how we want to feel. I'm guessing for most of us the answer would be something along the lines of healthy, happy and confident. So let's start making realistic, empowering plans to get us there. Let's make a commitment to our health and wellbeing now, instead of faffing around with sheep bogeys 1 week before a holiday because a glossy has told us it's the new *thing* for instant weight loss. Let's strut around with the sass and confidence of the little girl in that BBC interview this summer, regardless of what the scales say. Let's stop agonising over numbers and turn our attention to fitness, to good food and to the amazing things our bodies can do. Because that is where the magic happens, and that is when you'll feel awesome.

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