MEASURE YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE, NOT YOUR WEIGHT

Don't let body obsessions bring you down and measure your quality of life, not your quantity.
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Life has so much more meaning than a number. Don’t let body obsessions bring you down and measure life based on quality, not quantity.


BY: EMILY FONNESBECK, RD, CD, CLT

In a world that has everyone convinced that our health is defined by a number on a scale, it can be difficult to see weight for what it truly is – an inadequate measurement of health and well-being.  

After all, what measurement would you use if you don’t monitor your weight?  

However, that is precisely why people continue to fall into the diet mentality trap: they are conditioned to believe weight is a measurable reference point for their health so they may keep themselves in check of their food behavior.

The vicious cycle of restrictive dieting is fueled by obsession over weight, and can easily motivate one to manipulate food choices in a way that goes against self-trust, intuitive signals, and body respect in an unconscious manner.  If you wish to ever truly improve your relationship with food, weight cannot be a focus.  Why? Because it inevitably feeds extreme, all-or-nothing thoughts and behaviors.  

So what’s the alternative? Quit measuring your weight, and start measuring the quality of your life.

When we aim to control our weight, our weight is actually controlling us.  It dictates everything we eat, what social events we do or don’t attend, how we feel about ourselves, what risks we take, what bathing suit we do or don’t wear, what memories we make (or don’t make if we don’t like how we look), what pictures we are in, how we respond to other people, our mood for the day, the choices we make, how effective and capable we feel…the list can go on and on. In fact, weight is distracting, disempowering, and oppressive with the real potential to negatively impact the quality of your life.

And that critical mindset you believe is keeping you healthy or motivating you to change is actually building shame, and eroding self-trust and self-efficacy.  Punishing yourself with restriction when your weight creeps up does nothing for your health and well-being.

Rather, focus on the idea of self-awareness.

Bridging the awareness for signals that your body sends you to communicate its needs will be more helpful to your overall well-being. These are often suppressed when we are focused on outside measurements like calories, grams, points, and weight; these signals include hunger and fullness levels, thirst, heart rate, respiration, need for elimination, urination, energy levels and stress.   By learning to listen and respect these signals, you will build the trust within that you can meet your own needs without external rules. As you aim to establish more consistent, regular and adequate food patterns, they will begin to feel more normal, rhythmic and reliable.  More importantly, you will begin to feel supported by your body and appreciate all that it is doing to keep you alive and well.

After all, your well-being deserves more than any preoccupation with the scale.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: CAMILA DAMASIO

Emily Fonnesbeck, RD, CD, CLT is a private practice Registered Dietitian based in Saint George, Utah. Instead of creating unnecessary restrictions, Emily focuses on helping individuals become confident and in charge of their own well-being through Intuitive Eating and Mindful Living. She is a strong believer and advocate for helping people become capable individuals who are confident in taking care of themselves.  Make a visit and read more from Emily.

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