There I sat, naked from the waist down, getting health advice from John Mellencamp’s wife, Elaine. She’s a model, by the way. Vogue, Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren – she’s been there, done that.
Hmmm . . . perhaps I need to explain this all a bit more.
Elaine and John
You see, I was on the exam table in my doctor’s office. My bare legs were covered in an ever so chic paper blanket as I sat waiting (still waiting!) for the doctor to arrive. My only source of entertainment to pass the time was a copy of Health magazine that had been left on the counter.
This particular issue contained an interview with the rock star’s beloved. I got as comfortable as I could manage (which, if you’ve ever sat half naked in an exam room, you know isn’t anywhere near close to comfortable) and began reading.
And, well, I bring this all up because I thought Elaine made a very good point, one which we all probably know but seem to very often forget – the scale is not our friend.
She said: “I never weigh myself. That’s the best advice I can give – never step on the scale. You know if you’re being healthy, if you’re exercising. You don’t need to be undermined by some crazy number.”
She is absolutely right. We step on the scale and we let it determine our mood. We’re happy if it’s down, but then we’re miserable and moody and distraught if it’s up (or, too, we feel badly if it’s not down as much as we think it should be).
Why do we let a number do this to us?
Elaine is also correct in suggesting that we do not need a number that makes us “crazy” to know if we are healthy. You know if you’re eating well or if you’re having a few too many fries. You know if you’re exercising regularly or if you’re spending too much time lounging on the couch. You know, too, if you could stand to lose a few pounds.
You know by how you look and by how you feel. You know if you could stand to make a few changes.
We need to stop worrying so much about the numbers – be they on the scale or on the tags of our clothes. The numbers only manipulate our feelings. If we are honest with ourselves, and reflect on our behavior, and look at ourselves clearly, then we know the truth before we ever set foot on the scale.
Worry, instead, about whether you are truly taking care of your body as best as you can. You know if you are.
Don’t let the numbers determine if today will be a happy day. Be happy regardless – and be happy knowing, too, that if you’re not as healthy as you could be right now, you can start making positive changes this very instant.
(scale image 6/23/08 flickr by angelsk) (Mellencamps, Dave Allocca photographer/Time Life, INC.)