When embarking on a journey to better health, many clients find themselves focused on the number on the scales as their measure of progress. Firstly, this can be floored due to the significant amount that our weight can change on any given day. Drinking, eating, and going to the bathroom, sweating, exercising and muscle mass changes can all impact our weight up to a few kilograms in the space of one day. Focusing on the number on the scales is a very weight-centric mindset and doesn’t take into consideration how you feel mentally and physically throughout the journey.
Let’s talk about the difference between health-focused and weight-focused mindsets.
The weight-focused mindset involves dieting and exercising with a direct focus on the impact that this will have on your weight and the number on the scales. Success is measured by aesthetics, your ability to stick to calorie restrictions and by the amount of weight lost.
Health-focused mindsets involve eating and exercising for the overall health benefits. Health-focused means doing things that will benefit both your mental and physical health. It also means taking care of systems in your body that you cannot see, such as your digestive, cardiovascular and reproductive systems.
Why is this important?
By its own definition, HEALTH is “A state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
When it comes to weight loss, we all know that complete avoidance of chocolate, ice cream and other higher calorie foods will mean that you are likely to lose weight faster. Similarly, if you avoid social events and eating out and drinking with friends the same will probably happen.
But think about how this type of restriction will make you feel long-term?
Deprived? Isolated? Disconnected? Now go back to the definition of health…. Is what you are currently doing looking after your MENTAL and SOCIAL health? If it isn’t then it is likely you have a weight-focused mindset and this type of deprivation is unsustainable and can have negative impacts on your mental health.
So are you on a journey to weight loss or a journey to better health?
Habits of someone with a health-focused mindset:
- Participate in exercise that you enjoy daily. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Walking/ yoga and Pilates are fine.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Fill your plate with plenty of vegetables – ALWAYS.
- Snack on fruit.
- Include plenty of variety in your diet – 30 different plant based foods per week.
- Don’t weigh yourself regularly.