Episode #122 Stop Weighing Yourself

When it comes to our health, success is measured by so much more than our weight. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and family physician Dr. Justin Brown explore the negative effects of focusing on the scale and offer countless recommendations to improve our physical well-being.

Show Notes

Focusing on calories and that number on the scale can be detrimental because it can increase weight-related anxiety, exacerbate the false belief that our weight is tied to our worth, and place us at risk for eating disorders.
Dr. Justin Brown

Seven Problems

  • Individuals with overweight or obesity often experience discrimination in the workplace, leading to lower pay and fewer opportunities for career advancement.
  • We live in a weight-obsessed culture, and conversations about weight are often wrapped in judgment and infused with body shaming.
  • Losing weight is one the most difficult things we can do to improve our health– perhaps even more difficult than quitting smoking.
  • Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • When healthy choices don’t lead to weight loss, we often become so discouraged that we abandon those healthy choices entirely.
  • Similar to watching numbers on a scale, counting calories may increase the risk of having an unhealthy relationship with food.
  • Just as having overweight increases our risk for health conditions, so too do eating disorders increase our risk for exercise-related injuries, nutritional deficiencies, low blood count, irregular heart rhythms, irregular periods, and even early death.

Three Principles

  • Achieving a healthy body weight reduces the risk of health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
  • Healthy choices lower our cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar – even if they don’t result in weight loss.
  • If we increase healthy choices and decrease unhealthy choices in our lives, we will inevitably become healthier (and maybe even lose weight in the process).

Numbers to Reduce

  • Calories per day
  • Cigarettes per day
  • Screen time per day
  • Minutes spent sitting per day
  • Snacks when not hungry
  • Tablespoons of condiments or salad dressing per meal
  • Sugary or alcoholic beverages per week
  • Meals containing red meat per week
  • Trips to the ice cream shop or fast-food restaurant per month
  • Missed medication doses per month

Numbers to Increase

  • Steps per day
  • Servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Hours of sleep per night
  • Minutes of exercise per week
  • Minutes of reflective practices per week
  • Number of medical appointments per year

Five Practices

  • If you feel that you may have an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise, talk to a medical provider or mental health professional.
  • In order to lose 1 pound per week, reduce your intake by 500 calories per day (while still maintaining an intake of at least 1500 calories per day).
  • Evaluate whether you have a healthy weight based on your calculated BMI, not based on the presence or distribution of body fat.
  • Avoid long periods of uninterrupted sitting by standing up, stretching, or taking a short walk every hour.
  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night so that your other healthy choices can have their full effect.