Thursday, June 24, 2010

Health is not measured solely by numbers

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:35 AM
The importance of this truth is one that we may need to work diligently to ingrain in our heads. The first number that comes to mind is the number on the scale. The main number that many of us become obsessed with. I, too, have had many struggles with those three little numbers. The second number must be discussed along with the first, because they generally go hand-in-hand. They are the numbers you find on your clothes. You know, the sizes. Just as we tend to obsess with the numbers on the scale (or ignore them because we don’t really want to know what they are) we also tend to obsess with the size of our clothes. As if once we hit that magic number, everything in our lives will fall perfectly into place. A few minutes of watching any of entertainment shows on the heartaches and troubles of size zero stars will verify that that is not true.
I also know from experience. I was one of those teenagers who seemed to have been able to eat anything and say a small size. I never thought, though, that I was skinny enough and was constantly hoping to lose ten more pounds, get one size smaller. Looking back, I know now that my energies and efforts were wasted. Not because they didn’t get me to my goal, but because I should have been content with the weight and size that I was.
As discontent as I was, I never did anything to become healthier. As a matter of fact, I eat much more healthily now that I’m a few sizes bigger and weigh a little more. I’m not content with where I am, but at least I now know what to do to get where I want. My health is not wrapped up in what size I am or what the scale says. What matters much more is that I eat a healthy, balanced diet. Not diet, mind you, in the sense that I’m on some strict regimen to help me lose weight, but diet in the sense of simply what it is that I’m eating. I eat more fruits and vegetables than I ever did when I was young and super skinny. And I eat a lot less junk.
I don’t want you to get me wrong, though. Weight does matter generally in our health. I would never encourage anyone to stay overweight in order to avoid getting caught up in the numbers trap. There’s a reason that there’s a healthy range for different body types. Enough research has been done to know that when you carry a certain amount of extra weight on your body, you’re putting extra strain on your body systems. The important thing is not to pick an arbitrary number that you’d like to be at, but to find a range within the numbers that you are comfortable and healthy at.
Beyond the numbers found on the scale and on our clothes are the numbers found in our bodies. These are the numbers in the numerous tests that doctors like to run these days. Many of these numbers are important indicators of health: cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamin D, sugar levels, etc. Tests have gotten really good and decades of research have helped us to know where these and a variety of other numbers should be for optimal health. However, we can sometimes get too wrapped up in these numbers. I am not saying that we should not pay attention to these numbers, or avoid knowing what they are. Ignorance does not lead to bliss in the area of health and indicators of health. They are not, though, the end all and be all of health.
Like I said before, when I was young and thin and all my numbers were in pretty good order, I was not as healthy as could be. I also know people who have perfect cholesterol, sugars, etc. and are not overweight, but are also not healthy. They don’t have good healthy habits, they suffer from a lack of energy due to poor diets, and sleep issues. So, while knowing the status of many of your health indicators, it’s important not to be lulled into complacency when all the numbers line up.

1 comments on "Health is not measured solely by numbers"

Free Gal on June 24, 2010 at 11:38 AM said...

I went from an XXL to a S in 3 years and thats after having a baby, too! Exercise and diet is what did it! Great article!
http://frugalfreegal.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Health is not measured solely by numbers

The importance of this truth is one that we may need to work diligently to ingrain in our heads. The first number that comes to mind is the number on the scale. The main number that many of us become obsessed with. I, too, have had many struggles with those three little numbers. The second number must be discussed along with the first, because they generally go hand-in-hand. They are the numbers you find on your clothes. You know, the sizes. Just as we tend to obsess with the numbers on the scale (or ignore them because we don’t really want to know what they are) we also tend to obsess with the size of our clothes. As if once we hit that magic number, everything in our lives will fall perfectly into place. A few minutes of watching any of entertainment shows on the heartaches and troubles of size zero stars will verify that that is not true.
I also know from experience. I was one of those teenagers who seemed to have been able to eat anything and say a small size. I never thought, though, that I was skinny enough and was constantly hoping to lose ten more pounds, get one size smaller. Looking back, I know now that my energies and efforts were wasted. Not because they didn’t get me to my goal, but because I should have been content with the weight and size that I was.
As discontent as I was, I never did anything to become healthier. As a matter of fact, I eat much more healthily now that I’m a few sizes bigger and weigh a little more. I’m not content with where I am, but at least I now know what to do to get where I want. My health is not wrapped up in what size I am or what the scale says. What matters much more is that I eat a healthy, balanced diet. Not diet, mind you, in the sense that I’m on some strict regimen to help me lose weight, but diet in the sense of simply what it is that I’m eating. I eat more fruits and vegetables than I ever did when I was young and super skinny. And I eat a lot less junk.
I don’t want you to get me wrong, though. Weight does matter generally in our health. I would never encourage anyone to stay overweight in order to avoid getting caught up in the numbers trap. There’s a reason that there’s a healthy range for different body types. Enough research has been done to know that when you carry a certain amount of extra weight on your body, you’re putting extra strain on your body systems. The important thing is not to pick an arbitrary number that you’d like to be at, but to find a range within the numbers that you are comfortable and healthy at.
Beyond the numbers found on the scale and on our clothes are the numbers found in our bodies. These are the numbers in the numerous tests that doctors like to run these days. Many of these numbers are important indicators of health: cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamin D, sugar levels, etc. Tests have gotten really good and decades of research have helped us to know where these and a variety of other numbers should be for optimal health. However, we can sometimes get too wrapped up in these numbers. I am not saying that we should not pay attention to these numbers, or avoid knowing what they are. Ignorance does not lead to bliss in the area of health and indicators of health. They are not, though, the end all and be all of health.
Like I said before, when I was young and thin and all my numbers were in pretty good order, I was not as healthy as could be. I also know people who have perfect cholesterol, sugars, etc. and are not overweight, but are also not healthy. They don’t have good healthy habits, they suffer from a lack of energy due to poor diets, and sleep issues. So, while knowing the status of many of your health indicators, it’s important not to be lulled into complacency when all the numbers line up.

1 comments:

Free Gal said...

I went from an XXL to a S in 3 years and thats after having a baby, too! Exercise and diet is what did it! Great article!
http://frugalfreegal.blogspot.com

 

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