Kourtney Olsen from Grrrl Clothing has declared Jan. 1 the first International No Weigh Day. At a time of year where the ads for losing weight as a New Years resolution cram our Facebook and Instagram feeds, we need a No Weigh Day because focusing on weight harms people more than it helps.
Rather than focusing on what we weigh, lets focus on what we can do. Set goals for yourself that are performance and/or values based.
Your weight (your number on a scale) will not show that you value time with family or treating your coworkers with respect.
Your weight will not show that you are working towards a deadlift of X number of pounds.
Your weight says nothing about your body composition (muscle weighs more than fat so you have no idea if you are gaining muscle or not) and we know that BMI (Body Mass Index) is not a measure of health. Your weight does not tell you much at all about your overall health. You can have too much weight- in muscle or fat- resting on your heart or lungs making those organs struggle to work, depending on your body composition, and both are equally as dangerous.
Your weight is not who you are and your weight does not give or take away your value.
Focusing on weight quickly leads to disordered eating for many people. As soon as you have a day when the scale goes up a pound, people stop eating, they take laxatives, or they start binge eating. None of that is healthy for anyone.
Focusing on weight leads to a total miscommunication between your brain and body, which leads to injury. As a fitness coach, I have seen too many people push through workouts with bad form because they refuse to slow down, because they want to lose weight. I have seen too many people exercise while injured, rather than modifying their workouts to work around and actually recover from injury. Then people end up with extreme injuries that limit their ability to work, take care of their kids, or take care of themselves.
On No Weigh Day, let’s think about what we want to be able to do and how we want to live our lives.
When I do this, first I list my core values and the core values of my family.
Then I think of these categories in which I want to set goals or focus on values:
Within those categories, I always consider:
Does the goal or intention I chose conflict with or not support my core values?
Here is an example of my process:
Fairness: Every person has inherent worth and dignity and thus all people are treated with equality.
Love: Act with love first.
Perspective: Trying to see all sides of an issue and see things from other people’s point of view.
Support: Support the goals and interests of my family and friends. Helping others live life to the best of their ability, with meaning and purpose.
Mental Health: Do things that support my brain health. Respect other people’s mental heath needs.
Spirituality: Connection to something greater than myself.
(For a great resource on articulating your strengths and values, go to viacharacter.org They have a strengths finder for adults and kids.)
Family: Play more games together.
Mental: Keep a ketogenic diet to decrease brain inflammation.
Physical: Do my neurological drills to fix my inner ear dysfunction so I can do handstands and rock climb.
Spiritual: Say our family covenant and what we are each grateful for every day.
Work: Know the goals of my athletes and show them how we are supporting those goals. They matter and what they want to do matters to me.
Fun: Run some races together as a family.
Do any of those goals conflict with or not support my core values?
Nope, not on the surface. But, always look deeper.
For example, if my goal of playing more games together as a family was something my family hated (some people really do not like to play games) then it would go against my core value of supporting the interests of my family members. If playing games as a family is an important interest to me, then I can talk to them about maybe a few games they like enough that they would not mind playing sometimes because I know a value of theirs is to also support my interests.
Another example is the ketogenic diet. I use it to support my mental health (see this past post). In order for the ketogenic diet to fit my core values, I need to make sure I am not focusing on weight because I know that looking at weight has only ever led to binge eating, not eating even when I am hungry and my brain and body need food, or I eat inflammatory foods for me (diet pop, low carb candy, low carb ice cream, small amounts of wheat) that impair my brains ability to work.
(After the main goal setting, then you need to break down what you will do to reach those goals, but that is a whole different post.)
Rather than weighing yourself, pick a few goals or things to focus on that help you do amazing things and live out your values in the world.