The Only Health Number that Matters


I can not honestly say I that my emotions remain completely unaffected by the number I see when I step on the scale. I think the first time I started to step on a scale was in high school. I had always been an active kid and competitive athlete. It wasn't until after high school sports where this elusive number started taking hold of my emotions.

Playing team sports was all about team work and a common goal.

Training hard was a shared goal. It was a necessary activity to win games. After team spots, all of a sudden my team mentality vanished. I started working at a local health club and although I immediately joined a running club to help fill that void my training sessions became much more of a individual activity.

I started to notice the coorolation between exercising more and getting leaner.

The number on the scale in that health club locker room confirmed my curiosity. Then I started to layer restricting calories on top of a grueling workout regimen of running, lifting weights, prolonged cardio, basketball and swimming. Basically anything that would burn some serious calories.

The scale became my god in a sense that it had the power to dictate my worth or lack there of on any given day.

I felt a sense of pride after weighing a half pound less after a long training run (which was obviously fluctuation in water weight). I would make sure not to step on my self made idol if I overate until I was sure I had "worked" off the added ounces.

How did I get here?

Good question. It was simply a misuse of my strength as a competitor and goal oriented personality. I abused the outlet of exercise and was deceived into thinking small. Small thinking resulted in believing my own accomplishments won through control would result in other's positive perception of me. 

How did you get here?

Many times the scale dictates our emotions because of a event in the past. Perhaps it was a doctor who told you to "lose or gain weight", but left you without a sensible plan. Maybe it was a number you once saw in high school or when you were first married that teases you. If you have any sort of emotion connected to the number on the scale ask yourself why? And what would it mean to you if you reached that number again? Would it be worth it? Maybe, maybe not.

I was really just asking, "Do you love me?" And, "Am I cherished?".

Fast forward more than 10 years and here I am with a family of my own. Thankfully Jesus has done a powerful work setting me free from disordered eating. I am secure in my relationships and thankful to be in great physical health.

As I shed these old paradigms of perceived beauty daily bombarded with unattainable physique standards I find myself easily distracted. Pulled back to that place of giving the number on the scale my precious emotions.

Even after endless research about health, hormones, fitness and nutrition. The scale is only a reflection of gravity and a very poor indicator of overall health status. Calories in verses calories out is just one example of faulty thinking when it comes to weight loss and maintenance.

Although I've come a long way, sometime the scale can throw off my day. Which is why I've come to the conclusion that there is only one number relating to health that matters...

How many years do you want to be alive?

Notice I said, "alive". I'm not asking how many years you want to simple survive. How many years do you want to actually thrive? Do you want a long and satisfying life? Then we need to start focusing on the number of years we want to be alive before anything else.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
— Psalm 90:12

This number will dictate every health decision.

If you want to live to be 100 with a great quality of life what will you choose to do today? Will that meal increase the quality of your life for the long run? Will working out help you build and maintain muscle to live longer? How are your sleeping habits adding or subtracting to your years? How are your stress management skills? Do you have a vision for your life that is fulfilling to you and that helps others? Are you in healthy community that encourages and challenges you or drags you down? 

This number can dramatically shifts the focus from quick weight loss vanity to health and longevity.

I get it. We want to look good too.

We want to lose the baby weight that has stuck around for one year or maybe ten. We want to wear jeans at least once a week and not absolutely hate every moment. These are not terrible pursuits. It's the motivation and perspective we maintain that will breed joy in our days and intention in our choices. 

I choose to start focusing on the number of years I want to be ALIVE above what the scale flashes beneath my feet. After all our worth comes from Christ not an electronic bathroom scale.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
— Galatians 3:26-27

Think bigger. You were created for better. Use your emotions as a gift to experience life not to be mastered by how much gravity you register on the scal.

Does the number on the scale ever get the best of your emotions?

Always train in your lane.