Measuring Your Health

A few years ago, I was training for my first ever half-marathon. I was running 3-4 times a week (and getting increasingly faster), eating well and my energy was great. But believe or not, given all of my fitness focused efforts, if you asked me how I was feeling, my answer wouldn’t be as positive as you would have expected.

Why? Well earlier in that year I had put on weight, and despite all my running, I hadn’t shed much (if any) pounds and I was distraught. I would come home from a 15 km run, have a salad, and then not understand why my pants weren’t any looser or why I didn’t look any different - and needless to say, I felt pretty shitty. This frustration and anger carried on up until one day after finishing my first 18 km training run, where it all came to a screeching halt. After stopping the timer on my watch, and realizing I just nailed the 18 km run, it suddenly occurred to me that all of the agony I was experiencing was based on the wrong measurement of my health. Day in and day out I was assessing how I was doing based on the number on the scale and was failing to acknowledge the other measurements of my health.

It wasn’t until that moment that I stopped and appreciated that since starting my training, my energy was superb (I was waking up the morning with no-problemo), my mood was consistently good (friends and family appreciated this), I was sleeping great, my appetite was regular and I COULD RUN 18 KM WITHOUT STOPPING. I instantly recognized the disservice I was doing to my health by believing that I was failing until I weighed a certain number. If I wasn’t happy with myself now, than when could I be?

Of course weight plays a role in our health - but it sure as hell is NOT the full picture. If we wait until or weight pops up on the scale’s dashboard at a number that we have convinced ourselves we need to be, the result is little gratitude and self-appreciation for what our body is already succeeding at.

There are so many measurements of health that we often overlook. Areas such as our mood, our energy, our digestion, our skin, our mental attention, our physical strength and cardiovascular health. These measurements speak volumes to how you are doing, and by not taking pleasure in what is working for you, then you miss out big time. So when you are assessing your own health, I urge you to take time to look at more than just the number on the scale and to take joy in what your body is capable of. If you training or trying to eat in a way that is better for you, before you throw in the towel or experience disappointment because you haven’t reach your goal weight, check off some of the other areas you are succeeding at.

And for me? After those 18 km, I let go of watching so closely at my weight but really honed in on paying attention to the other areas of my health. My weight did come off with time, and I know with certainty it would have been a lot more miserable had I not starting measuring my health (and my worth) using some different measuring tools.