There are so many numbers when it comes to body weight, image, health and nutrition – from someone’s waist measurement and weight, to the calories and grams in their food. Even a person’s health is measured through numbers such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and hormone function. These numbers serve a purpose in that they give health professionals a great idea of what’s going on in our bodies but they stop serving a purpose when we all begin obsessing over them.
This isn’t at all a scare tactic to steer you away from taking any form of ‘health’ measurement as they ARE necessary but they AREN’T an essential part of being healthy. Any form of obsession can begin to form unhealthy habits within our bodies and that includes obsessing over numbers when it comes to our health, body and food!
When you embark on a journey to become the best and HEALTHIEST version of you it should ALWAYS stem from a place of love and that means leaving the fear attached to those numbers at the door. It means putting them in a dark, government standard security locked case (think MI6 standard), sending them off to London and attaching a personal letter to James Bond to destroy them at his earliest convenience (after he’s saved the world of course).
When you lead with fear and focus purely on the numbers, a whole heap of stinky junk comes along with it – restrictions, limiting beliefs, negative body image and comparisons just to name a few. If you lead with love, you can say goodbye to all of those extra pieces of luggage and instead focus on what you and your body really need in order to truly thrive!
Body measurements, weight, calories and macros are the 4 most common measurements that I see people take. There’s always two sides to every coin and therefore they all have their upsides. But, they also have their downsides. If you notice that you’re starting to obsess over these numbers then keep reading to find out what they are, why it’s not your healthiest choice to become addicted to them and how you can move on from those restrictive thoughts.
Body measurements are typically taken at the beginning of a health/fitness journey and are subsequently taken as that journey progresses. These measurements might be the chest, waist, hips and even thighs. Working in the fitness industry, I saw so many clients and personal trainers use these numbers as an indicator for how that client was progressing through their fitness journey.
They are great in that they focus on the shape of your body over weight, but they’re also not so great because of that exact same reason.
If you focus on the numbers that indicate how big or small your body is, you’re leading your path to health from a place of fear that you’re not happy with the shape of your body.
We all know what weight is – it’s that dreaded number that pops up on the scales every time we weigh ourselves. This is probably the most common number to not only use as a measurement but also to obsess over. For years, I obsessed over my scales and the numbers that would show – they determined my mood, my work ethic and affected my relationships. In fact, obsessing over your weight is one of the most dangerous motivations for any health journey.
Measuring weight can be great for health professionals as it’s quick, easy and a fantastically efficient measure for those needing to lose weight. But, if you don’t need to lose weight from a health perspective, then it’s a tool that doesn’t need to be used religiously.
Your weight fluctuates ALL the time and depends on what you’ve eaten, how your digestive system and gut are functioning, the amount of fluid retention in your body, your muscle mass and so much more. Obsessing over your weight can come from a fear of not trusting yourself. Not trusting that you know what’s best for your body, not trusting your choices around food and fearing that this lack of trust will lead to weight gain.
A calorie is a unit of energy. That’s all it is. Yet, we can be so consumed by the number of calories a food has that we forget there’s so much more to food than just the number of calories it contains. The calorie content is not as important as a food’s nutritional value and how nutrient dense that food is. For example, how many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that food has is more important in establishing it’s nutritional value for your body that just the calories of the food alone.
When it comes to calories, it definitely is a matter of quality over quantity. For example, a burger from a fast food restaurant might have around 600kcals but if you were to eat 600kcals of broccoli, you would feel more satiated AND you will have filled your body with a whole bunch of amazing goodness that the burger is lacking.
Counting calories and focusing on that number is fearing that you don’t trust to know how much food your body needs.
Macronutrients (aka macros) are typically referring to the fats, proteins and carbohydrates within a food and are measured so that individuals get a certain number of each within their diet. These are use A LOT to measure diets and provide structure to individuals wanting to achieve a certain weight, look or goal. Although they are great for providing that structure and giving those guidelines, they can also create a lot of restriction in a diet and unless prescribed by a dietician, are not always the healthiest option.
I do not believe in restriction at all when it comes to the food we consume as this can create an unhealthy relationship with food by obsessing over the numbers AGAIN, without focussing on the nutrient content of that food.
Obsessing over macros is fear talking, saying that NOT following these guidelines will lead to failure in whatever goal you are aiming for.
There is so much more to health and nutrition than just the numbers and it’s time to start focusing on the juicier pieces of the puzzle LIKE the vitamins, minerals and nutrient content of food while establishing a healthy relationship with both mind and body. Having a healthy relationship with food is essential, especially if you’re wanting to live life with a solid foundation in health and wellbeing. Focusing on the numbers when it comes to food prevents that – it creates limiting beliefs, obsession and restriction, all of which are UNHEALTHY.
Get clear on how you see and value your health so that you can pave a way for a beautiful future for yourself.
Quit the numbers, release the restriction you have on yourself and be the best and healthiest version of yourself.