Over the years, I have watched many clients try and lose weight. Most recently, several went on a supervised program consisting of 500 calories a day and injections of the chemicals found in a pregnant woman’s urine. (Yes, this is a thing. No, I did not endorse it). Many of the people that discuss wanting to lose weight with me are men and women over the age of 60, indicating the war with the number on the scale never goes away. (I stopped weighing myself many years ago and am much happier for it). I am not a nutritionist and don’t give diet advice. It makes me sad to watch healthy, intelligent people attach a sense of self-worth to a number, and it remains clear that our idea of what health and wellness is has a lot to do with self-perception.
Some people love the thrill of competition; they feed off of it, it drives them to be better and try harder. Some of us are naturally self-critical and self-judging; competition reminds us of our shortcomings. I was recently (and accurately) called out for a self-deprecating remark I made in a blog about not being good at yoga. For those of us that are prone to, um, negative self-analysis, a competitive fitness environment doesn’t always work. Competition is inherent in our culture; sometimes, adding that same element of competition to the very thing that is supposed to be improving our health doesn’t work. Rather than focusing on how much/how fast/how flexible, we might be better served wondering how well? How well can I do this? How many different ways can I explore this? The numbers don’t really matter, just like the ability to do the most bendy yoga posture doesn’t matter. Of course, if competition brings you joy, compete, but make sure you are taking something from it that is fulfilling you in some way. If you are competing with yourself to achieve a number on the scale or some amazing feat in the gym, remember, the outcome matters less than the journey. And you will lose weight on 500 calories a day, with our without the pregnant woman’s urine.