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A Numbers Game?

samwilson's picture

by Sam Wilson

Mum of two gorgeous boys and the owner of samwilsonfitness, a company dedicated to female health and wellbeing.

I've had several conversations this week with women who, in one way or another, feel they are failing.  Feel that they are failing when it comes to numbers.  Numbers being weight, body fat, age......and so on.  It got me thinking about the huge pressure that we put on ourselves every single day and why numbers, when related to health, can put even more pressure on us.  When do these numbers ever take into account what is actually going on in our lives?  Isn't it just another way to feel guilty or to keep us chained to another version of weight?  Just how many years have women been trying to be smaller, be lighter, be 'less'?  Whether you are trying to weight less on the scales or have a lower body fat, it's always a focus on what we can lose.  Well, what can we gain?

In our never ending quest for perfection, we often miss the very things that are in front of our faces.  When embarking on a new fitness or nutrition programme for example, we focus on LOSE LOSE LOSE!  This has to change.  We need to turn it round to 'what can we gain from this?'  An example of this would be a client recently who, in her own words, said that since starting the Hot Mama nutrition programme, she felt her IBS symptoms had almost disappeared, she FELT so much better, her clothes felt better and she was starting to see a difference in her body definition.  Yet, the focus was on how much weight she had lost.  Let's move completely away from this.  It takes away all the good stuff!  Be positive that you have made such massive improvements in your life.  Look at what you have gained!  If you are feeling healthy, happy and fitter and stronger, then what numbers do you need?

Another client pointed out that although see wasn't seeing any loss in inches or weight (honestly and openly admitting her nutrition was awful!), she could now squat for longer and she could do a full press up (and a full pull up too).  Happily, her fitness and strength has improved hugely.  This is music to my ears!  To hear that a client has recognised that strength and fitness are the gains rather than, "I haven't lost any weight".  What we both took from this is that we will do fitness testing for everyone on the Hot Mama programme to take the focus off measurements and weight.  Of course, adding in great nutrition would also give you great gains in lean muscle and reduced body fat but in order to do so, sacrifices must be made in terms of eating cake and she wasn't willing to change her lifestyle in order to gain a certain body fat %.

Finally, a client who recently had some metabolic testing done (BMI, body fat, visceral fat, skeletal muscle)...she wasn't pleased with the numbers.  However, the testing did not take into consideration how little sleep she is getting, how she has a full time job with two very small children, how stressful life can be just getting out of the door in the morning!  So who is this helping?  Certainly not women who are already doing the best they can.  By telling them that they 'should' be a certain BMI, weight or anything else, these types of tests are just causing more stress and negativity.  Certain circumstances are out of our control so best to focus on the positive aspects rather than the negative numbers all the time.

In order to get an accurate picture of health, you must take into account ALL aspects of life.  Everyone is different, which is what these tests and numbers don't take into account.  Stress, sleep, body type, nutrition, being happy, relaxation; it all adds up!  Much better to focus on gains in strength and general fitness than simply the size of your bum (which is no indication to health!).

So, consider this the next time you weigh yourself, or get your body fat checked.  Are these really the goals you want to aspire to? 

Let me know what you think!

Sam x