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Why is the number on the scale so important?

Posted: Jul 30, 2013


Why is the number on the scale so important?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot as of late mainly due to my own weight gain. I’ve had some health issues and changes in my personal life that collectively, resulted in gain. A question I asked myself the other day is “Am I any less healthy than I was when I weighed less?” Biochemically, I don’t know as I haven’t done blood work in over a year. I had my blood pressure checked not too long ago and it was spot on. Physically, I feel great and that health issue is under control. I’m active and eat well the majority of the time. I have a wonderful fiancée, a great family and a career that I love. Yes, life is indeed good and I would argue that I am just as healthy now as I was before. But many only see the weight gain and may deem that I have somehow failed.

I see this many times in my office, too. Clients are doing great – they are eating healthier, have more energy, are more active, yet if the number on the scale is not where they want it to be it’s as if something is wrong.

The problem is we are bombarded with the message that it’s the pounds lost that matter above all else. “Lose 40 lbs by summer”, “get the weight off and keep it off” are “promises” made by weight loss companies and individuals alike. And while losing weight is important and will improve your health, as listed above, there are many other indicators of success. If you’ve achieved any of these, you’ve done great and should feel extremely proud. As my colleague, friend and fellow RD Diana Chard said: I think most of us could benefit from shifting our thinking about food from "losing weight" to "gaining health".

Mark McGill, RD