I am the first to admit that for many years I allowed my self-worth to be dictated to me the number on the scale. The lower the number, the better I felt, regardless of what I looked like. My eyes lied to me anyway, so my weight was my only means of measuring how “well” I was doing.
Now however, I realise that weight is possibly the least important factor when it comes to determining what kind of shape you’re in. For example: take 2 girls of equal height, both weighing 60kgs. The first girl is very muscular, has a low body-fat percentage and lots definition. Her active lifestyle means that she has high bone density (reducing her chances of osteoporosis later in life), which also adds weight to her frame. Girl number two is fairly inactive, with lower bone density, lower muscle mass and a higher body-fat percentage than the other girl. Which girl is healthier? You guessed it – girl one. Muscle weighs more than fat, so changing your body composition from flabby to muscular could actually result in weight gain. Equally, two girls with exactly same measurements can still look very different – compare two legs with the same circumference, one of which lean and muscular and one of which has little muscle and more fat. I would rather have the muscle!
And don’t ever get me started on dress sizes! My wedding dress was a US size 1 (UK 6) and still had to be taken in a lot (so pretty much a size 0/UK 4), but I was still wearing jeans in a UK size 8-10. Today I have clothes ranging from a UK size 6 to a 14 (yes, 14) in my wardrobe! So clearly weight and size are not the best indication of overall health and fitness.
My goal now is to build muscle and increase my fitness levels. I believe that this is the key to good health and attribute weight training and a balanced diet to my lack of sickness over the past year. I haven’t had a cold or flu since May 2008, which I think is the longest I’ve been in my whole life. Almost miraculous for the girl who used be bend-bound five times a year with colds and flu!
So next time you feel depressed because you’ve picked up a few pounds, rather ask yourself what action you can take today to increase your strength and fitness with the purpose of being a good steward of the body God has given you. Embrace who you are today, and take steps toward a healthier tomorrow.