It’s Time to Throw Away the Scale

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The weight-loss industry is a multibillion-dollar juggernaut that capitalizes on the insecurities of nearly 165 million Americans categorized as overweight.  Much of this obsession stems from the belief that those extra pounds will increase the risk of the mortality and shorten the lifespan of overweight people. However, a recent meta-analysis published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that nearly 80 percent of Americans labeled as overweight may not have an increased risk of mortality, and these people may in fact be at less risk than “normal” weight people.

Nutrition Should be Individualized

This study may be an important first step in shifting the focus of nutrition away from the bottom line (what the scale says–weight) and towards a more comprehensive healthy lifestyle that includes an individualized diet plan, some regular movement, stress management and good sleep.  We’re focusing on the diet piece here.  I struggle with the same balance problems that everyone else has, and am surely not going to put myself out there to be the expert in life balance.  BUT, i do know a bit about individualized diet for best health–no matter what the scale says.

So, what is good nutrition? There is no one right answer to this question.  It truly depends on who you are talking to. It’s that individualized.  BUT, there are some safe generalities including hefty portions of vegetables with limited fruit.  Sugar should always be watched and curbed as much as possible (especially from processed foods), grains should be primarily whole grains,  portion sizes reasonable and should match your hunger level.  And, always always drink plenty of water (at least 8 ounces with every meal).

Eat In

Meals that include all of these components are generally going to be healthy and make you feel better. It’s much safer to eat in vs. eat out ’cause you can control what and how much is on your plate.  Eating in is very dependent on planning–which is key to a healthy food life.  Figure out a couple of meals that can be eaten several times during the week.  It will ensure you come home to a nice meal.

Balance

Eating, exercise and sleep are all works in process.  Research shows just trying keeps your goals on top of mind and is helpful with incremental successes.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity throughout the week in addition to at least two muscle-strengthening activities per week. Getting a healthy amount of sleep, defined as 7-9 hours per night, will help you find the energy to keep up with this exercise regimen.

The reality is that eating well and exercising regularly will do wonders for most people. A healthy diet combined with consistent exercise will help many people achieve a healthy weight, even if that weight is considered overweight. Everybody has a different body type, so instead of focusing on the what the scale says, focus on living healthily by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Chances are you will feel better than if you were just chasing an elusive scale. Health is NOT a number on a scale.  It is the day to day try!

Connect with Healthy Nest Nutrition if you want to find your best diet for your best self.  robin@healthynestnutrition.com

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