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  • Derek

Giving a Number Less Emphasis and Power: A Client Story

Human beings are data driven beings now aren't we? Numbers are all around us in our world; finances, business, lifestyle (bills, subcriptions etc), sports statistics... Some numbers however, I truly believe we put WAY TOO MUCH emphasis on. That emphasis in turn, creates a power over us sometimes. This power we grow to believe is "important" to us, but sadly it TAKES more from us than it gives.

I had a conversation with someone recently who is in a group I have started running, that focuses on healthy lifestyle practices. This group was previous a women's weight loss group (for decades), and the mindset/approach is decades old as well we'll say, which is fixed on the number on the scale as the determining factor of "success" and/or "failure".

This woman was chatting with the group and I about her weight gain during COVID which was approximately 10lbs or so. She is 80yrs old. She is diabetic. She mentioned she dropped half of the weight, but can't seem to lose that last 5lbs! Here's the other side of this conversation...

She shared that her blood sugars were up just a bit (controlled mind you), so her family doctor said we can get you on 'x' medication or you can get back to your daily exercise routine. She chose exercise over medication. That in itself is something to be very proud of (especially in our modern society). Since that decision she has been exercising regularly again, and at 80-years old is still independant, mobile and active. I should also add, she was in a car accident last year and naturally had some injuries. She went to physio, did as was recommended with rehab exercises and now is still mobile and independant because of it!

Let's put this all together

-An 80-year old, diabetic female.

-Lives with her husband in their apartment in town.

-Exercising regularly and has maintained mobility

-Walks to various places around town when she goes

-Can control her blood sugars well enough that she does NOT need diabetes medication

-Seeked help from physiotherapy, following her car accident and rehabbed her injuries

... but she stresses about "the last 5lbs"....

Welcome to what we have created in regards to how we have approached health. As a Fitness & Health Coach, I wish I could get 40, 50 and 60yr olds to do what this woman is doing at 80yrs old!! She's doing SO MANY GOOD THINGS for herself and her health, yet her focus and concern is 5lbs on a scale. It's the sad reality of our mindsets with our health; something I desperately am passionate to help change in as many people as I can.

Scale weight is only ONE small piece to the overall puzzle of our health. It DOES NOT hold all the answers or show THE FULL PICTURE of what is happening with our health. There would be many happier people walking around if we approached our health looking at EVERYTHING we ARE doing rather than what standing on a scale tells us.

MOST OF US don't need this number and rely on it too heavily to sway our emotions and self-talk. In this woman's case, she's overlooking ALL the good she's doing for herself. I'll also add the questions;

If/when she does lose these 'last 5lbs' what will change for her?

How will 'those 5lbs' make her life better?

Where does she feel those 5lbs will make the difference in her daily life?

The answer: It won't change anything (other than a number at her feet when she steps on the scale).

Should we really put so much energy and attention into this number???? NO!!!

For 95% of the population, if we took all that energy that we put into stressing about a number on a scale, and we put it into our habits, daily health practices and other areas of our daily lives, we would see SO MUCH more health benefits and progress. We get so caught up in the cycle of putting ourselves down because of a number on the scale, we dive into this negative cycle of feeling like a failure and ommitting all the things that ARE working for us, and that ARE promoting health. In my example, a woman is maintaining her independance at an older age, staying active, avoiding medications etc... If she didn't hop on the scale weekly (that's a whole other conversation), I guarantee she wouldn't even notice those "last 5lbs" and most likely would feel quite proud of herself, as she should be!!


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