By Nicole Rumsey, Dietitian at Thrive Wellness Centre
Many of my clients visit me with a goal to lose weight – this is the most common reason why someone will go and see a dietitian. Most clients will also have a goal weight in mind. Where this goal weight originates can vary – a weight they felt the healthiest or happiest at a number of years ago, the weight they were before they got married, under 100kg because most healthy people are. A lot of the time though, it is a number without a reason; a number that feels like it would be a good weight to get down to.
My question is – why do we need an overall goal weight? When clients get to their goal weight, then what do they aim for? Will they be ecstatic for a moment before they set another goal weight. If they don’t feel that they’re reaching their goal weight soon enough, what effect will that have on their motivation levels? There are many other ways to measure someone’s overall health without measuring someone’s weight. And weight can fluctuate 1-2kg throughout the day – are you always measuring at the same time?
During every consultation, I measure my client’s waist and ask them – before hopping on the scales – if they feel healthier or more energetic than previous weeks, if their clothes are fitting better or looser. If their responses are positive, or if they have lost centimeters off their waist – abdominal fat may be linked to conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes – I don’t always encourage them to get on the scales. At Thrive Wellness Centre, we also have a body composition machine which measures fat, muscle, and water percentage. One number on the scales doesn’t always show you an accurate picture of what is going on inside your body.
Recently, I had a client who admitted to feeling more energetic and when they looked in the mirror, could see more definition around their waist – they were happy with their progress. However, as soon as they saw that their weight was the same measurement as two weeks ago, they were disappointed. They knew it shouldn’t make them feel any different, but it did. Just because of a number on the scales. This isn’t uncommon, because when exercise levels increase, muscle mass may also increase and that can change your body composition. In other cases, where clients have lost weight, they can also be disappointed because it wasn’t as much as they were expecting to lose.
If health and wellness is a goal for you in 2021, maybe look at other ways to define healthy than just a number on the scales:
- Energy levels – these effect our motivation levels, which in turn effect our ability to choose healthier food options and participate in exercise
- Digestion – can influence someone’s perception of feeling healthy as bloating and stomach discomfort can cause stress and unhappiness and impact our mental health
- Injury and pain management – both can impact exercise levels and our mental health, especially if long-term
If you do hop on the scales and feel that your current weight is unhealthy – go and see someone who can guide you through your health journey. But don’t just define unhealthy as a number on the scales – look more closely at why you feel unhealthy and maybe use those reasons to define some of your health goals – eating too much processed foods, alcohol intake has increased recently, a new job has impacted the amount of exercise you have been able to do, you feel unfit when walking up a flight of stairs, your clothes are feeling a lot tighter than previously.
You can be still be very healthy at a weight that is different to the target number in your mind, and the weight you were when you got married might be two years ago or twenty years ago – a lot has changed in that time and so has your body, in many ways.
Nicole Rumsey is a Dietitian here at Thrive Wellness Centre. Click here to book an appointment with her.
All of our friendly practitioners work evenings and/or weekends to assist making and attending appointments that little bit easier for you. For any queries, please contact our office on (08) 9478 3869. We are now located at 346 Abernethy Rd, Cloverdale near Belmont Forum Shopping Centre.