Do You Get Over Obsessing Over the Number on the Scale?

Q. Did you ever obsess over weight? –  20-something

A. Unfortunately yes. It’s hard not to. But if you’re lucky, one day you realize the number on the scale is not really what is going to make you happy (if you are within a healthy range). It’s part of a much bigger whole. – 40-something

Making peace with your body and finding your ideal weight rather than trying to match the measurements of some model who is 5’11” and weighs 120 lbs (not normal!)  will make you happier on a daily basis. When that happens the elephant in the room takes a hike and you are much more free to be yourself.  What you think is a muffin top, thunder thighs, batwings or maybe a rear end that is not plump enough is really not what other people are seeing.  They are seeing you.

So yes there is obsession  but for many women, as they get older, it becomes more of a healthy obsession. Their learnings? Don’t compare your weight to friends or famous people, look at your healthy range and try to find the weight where you feel your best. Many women, myself included, at some point attained an unrealistic ideal weight only to find themselves tired, cranky and without the energy to get through their day productively. Staying at that low weight takes up mental energy and often times it comes at the expense of spending time enjoying the social and sensual benefits of eating. More often than not, there comes a realization that reaching this perfect weight doesn’t itself make you any happier (any more than eating your way to an unhealthy weight solves anything). Nothing magical happened when a this reached this unrealistic weight.

Do set goals for yourself to keep in a healthy range. Do learn nutrition and be aware of what you are putting in your body. Do learn what you really enjoy eating and be aware of what food triggers you to overeat …then try to manage that. It does take some work but when you find the right balance it becomes second nature. Everybody’s metabolism is different. That’s just one of life’s injustices. Some people can eat everything and not gain a pound. Most can’t. It probably equals out somewhere else in life. So don’t get caught up feeling bad about that..  40:20 Vision wisdom says focus instead on what you can control.

This from a woman who “rocks” her body now more than she ever did in her twenties. She learned the facts and found a workout she loved. She believes that when you find what’s right for you, no matter your type, you can shine.

“I’m sure there are very few women in the U.S. that have not obsessed over their weight at one or many points in life.  You must take into consideration your body type/height and general health – no one wants to hear it, but regular exercise and healthy eating will give you the best body you can have – period. It is essentially mathematical – burn more calories than you eat.  Yes, there are plenty of people who eat whatever they want, don’t exercise and are thin, but if that’s not you, then that is just not you!  Find a balance in your life. Eat real food. And if you imbibe too much on one end make up for it on another. If you ate two chocolate Sundaes then go to kickboxing instead of yoga. Counter-balance your poor efforts. And when you exercise, do it in a whole-hearted fashion. Where it really means something. It’s empowering to be strong and fit. – 46, artist, mom, wife, vegetarian and kickboxer, Brooklyn, NY

This advice is from a woman who at one point struggled with her body type and weight fluctuations but learned you can change and make adjustments to keep you in the range where you don’t obsess over it.

“Most American, and French (yes they do certainly get fat), women obsess over weight their entire lives – or at least until they are 70.  Just as most men obsess over how much money they make.  I dealt with it in my twenties by making sure I fit into my clothes.  You don’t obsess so much if you weigh the right amount give or take a little.  If you are within your proper weight range and still obsessing, then you need to determine why.  Do you wish you had a different shape? Try pilates or something that can help you reshape yourself. Do you want a different body type?  Fat chance (haha) of growing to supermodel proportions.  Do you want to be ‘perfect’?  good luck.   Here’s one thing for sure not to do … don’t deal with your obsessing by drinking a bottle of wine every evening” — 45, wife, mom, pilates loving, food enjoying, Francophile, married mom, Los Angeles, CA

This woman used to obsess about her weight and learned to lighten up…when you do indulge it doesn’t instantly add pounds and once you learn that, you are less likely to overindulge.

“When you deprive yourself of something because you think eating it will literally add that pound to the scale, sooner or later you’re going to binge on it and then feel bad about yourself. And when you feel bad about yourself, you eat poorly. The cycle starts. I try to just eat a little and enjoy it. I used to have a tendency to eat the whole pint of ice cream or if one cupcake was good, then two was better. But then …I’d feel sick both physically and emotionally.  So two things work for me. One, if I’m not around these foods, I don’t miss them. Out of sight out of stomach. Then when I do feel like an ice cream cone I can go get a cone and enjoy. Two…when I’m around food that triggers overindulgence (the every other week cupcakes someone brings into work or coffee at a friends home with that crumb cake staring in my face…just one more bite…adds up) I just remember that that particular food is not going anywhere. There will be ice cream tomorrow, next week, next year. Chocolate is not endangered. So have a bite, or two, enjoy and know that it is not your last bite.”-40-something, former obsessor, New York, NY

This woman loves being in the middle.

Don’t feel guilty when you indulge but make being healthy a general lifestyle so when you do indulge you enjoy it. Healthy for me is huge. I’m not a fanatic. I have some friends that are such exercise and diet fanatics and others that so anti, but I’m sort of lumped in the middle.  Don’t feel guilty and beat yourself up about overindulging every once in a while if it made for a really good night. Just don’t do it often.”– 40-something, wife, mom, Cleveland, OH

Learn what moderation is by keeping track of your diet:

Yes I did obsess about my weight. Now I eat healthy and exercise. Write down everything you eat and don’t limit yourself from any food. Eat everything you want in small amounts. This has helped me always stay in a very healthy range from my 20s to my 40s. — 40-something, artist, freelancer, surfer, Santa Monica, CA

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