This is the nemesis of nearly everyone I know who is trying to change their lifestyles to a healthier one. We have been taught all our lives that our weight directly correlates to our health: high weight is poor health and lower weight is good health. While this is an oversimplification, it does have some basis in truth. However, weight is not a one-stop indicator of our health and wellbeing.
I’ve written in the past about TOFI (Thin Outside/Fat Inside) and how dangerous it is. These people are able to appear thin (they weight less), yet on the inside of their bodies, their arteries are clogged with cholesterol and they suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and other typically weight-related maladies. This group of people shows why using the scale alone is not a good indicator of your overall health.
I weigh myself daily. I know that not everyone can do that. However, I do not use the scale as my sole indicator of health. I also consider the following:
- How I feel. This is the most important one. Do I feel energetic? Do I feel rested? Was I able to sleep through the night? Do I feel hot when I shouldn’t?
- How I look. Do I have any swelling? Puffiness? Am I retaining water? How do my cheeks look?
- How my clothes fit. Are my pants getting tighter? Do my shirts still fit loosely? How does my wedding ring feel on my finger?
- Blood test results. This is a good one, and since I do annual physicals, I use this data to determine my actual physical health.
- EKG. As a person over 40 in the military, I receive an EKG test annually which is also a good indicator for how healthy my heart is.
The scale is one data point among a data set that tells me how I’m doing. It should never be used as a single-source for determining how healthy you are. Sometimes, the scale will read something contrary to everything all other data points are telling you. That happens to me a lot. I’ve learned to not invest too heavily in the number and instead focus on the overall picture all the data points paint. I’m much happier for it, and I don’t sweat it when the scale reads up for a day or three here and there. I know I’m healthy, my nutrition plan is solid, and my fitness is good.