Would you determine someone’s intelligence by the length of their ring finger?
Would you be okay if they were admitted to a math program based on their finger length rather than their SAT score?
When I first started my weight loss journey I was chasing confidence. I really thought that if I could just lose a few pounds that I would feel better in my body and then better about myself. Can you relate? Have you ever said “If I could just drop x amount of pounds, then I’d feel better about going to the gym/applying for that job/attending the wedding/wearing that dress”?
Well, after a few rounds of losing and then gaining more weight, I started to be concerned about my health. I mean come on, we all know that excess weight is related to many chronic health conditions, right? As my weight cycling continued, I kept moving up the BMI scale and my anxiety about my weight rose even faster.
Health and weight have become synonymous in today’s culture. When someone says “Time to get healthy” they’re really saying “Time to lose weight”. It’s so deeply ingrained that I got lambasted by a follower for ‘promoting weight loss’ when I encouraged my followership to ‘chase their health and fitness goals’ on an Facebook post.
Health and fitness goals are NOT the same as weight loss goals. Unfortunately, we have been using weight to measure health for so long that this woman couldn’t see the difference.
Back to the ring finger that I started with.
Did you know that there’s a relationship between someone’s ring finger length and their SAT scores? Specifically that longer ring fingers consistently relate to higher mathematical literacy?
Kinda cool eh?
Knowing that, would a school let someone in because they had a long ring finger? Not likely.
“Correlations doesn’t equal causation” was drummed into me during all of my years of science classes. And yet, when it comes to weight, we seem to have forgotten this.
Yes excessive body weight is related to many chronic health conditions. That DOES NOT mean that the body weight CAUSED the health condition. Nor does it mean that in order to reverse the condition that the weight must be lost.
I know I know, that’s not what you’ve been told and it’s hard to swallow. But stick with me here.
What’s really important to you?
Is your health? Or is it your weight?
If it’s your health, then keep reading. If it’s your weight, that’s cool. You do you.
What we measure matters (remember the ring finger). So If I want to know how my health is doing, I should measure health indicators.
Health and weight are related through BEHAVIOURS. When you take away the behaviours, we lose the consistency of the relationship.
How many times have you given up on a fitness program because you weren’t losing weight? Yet that fitness program (the behaviour of exercise) was doing wonders for your health. Reducing cardiovascular disease, improving cholesterol and insulin sensitivity, to name but a few.
You were just measuring the wrong thing.
So how can you avoid this trap again? Use this three step process:
Step 1 – Dig
What’s under the surface? What are you really after? Is it health? Is it vanity? Is it fitness? Is it confidence?
Weight loss is the means to an end. Just like wealth. Money itself isn’t valuable. It’s what we believe money will bring us (security, freedom, choices, comfort).
Ask yourself this “What do I believe that losing weight will get me?”
Step 2 – Define
What does that goal look like? If it’s health, what does being healthy feel like? What could you do if you were healthy that you cannot do now?
If it’s fitness, what is fit for you? If you currently cannot walk to the mailbox, then defining fitness as completing a marathon isn’t going to help you.
Get super clear about what you’re after.
Step 3 – Deliver
Once you’re clear on what you’re really after, then how can you deliver this? What actions can you take that will lead you towards that goal?
So for instance, if being able to get up on a chair to change a light bulb is the goal, then what actions can you take that would help? Well, you could start by doing chair squats, or step-ups onto a 2 inch platform. Make sense?
So my goal is that I would like enough fitness to enjoy skiing this winter without the soreness in my hips and legs that I experienced last year.
A clear goal with a clear outcome.
I put together a training program that included squats, lunges, sides lunges, planks and push ups. I added some rowing to the start both for some cardiovascular support and for warm-up.
By tracking my progress, I’ve been able to make adjustments where necessary (some I couldn’t do as many as I’d planned and others I could increase) and measure my success.
A client of mine is working on improving her blood pressure.
Her plan included meditation along with movement and some dietary adjustments.
Are you getting the picture? In each case, the health goal was clear and not weight related.
The plan focused on behaviours that are known to support the desired result.
I know that it can be hard to shift this conversation in your head. If you’ve been linking up health and weight forever, then separating the two can be tricky. Many women who have stopped chasing weight loss have also stopped making health related goals. They just don’t know how to do the one without the other.
If you would like help with this, I’m offering up 10 New Year’s Strategy Sessions in January. These are 1-hour coaching calls where we can go through your 3-Step Process together. Book yours here.
Dedicated to helping you find peace and power with your body,