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Everyone has had negative thoughts about his or her body at some point. Male or female, young or old, short or tall, we’ve all felt the occasional insecurities. Society tends to emphasize the number on a scale rather than how we feel. However, a healthy (or unhealthy) weight is unique to every person and can involve many factors.

First, let’s look at a few key components of healthy weight. This trio, when we make them habits, can effect gradual, lasting change:

  • Clean eating is key. While there are plenty of amazing restaurants in the Bay Area, make it a priority to eat at home more often than not. Making your own meals allows you to be in charge of ingredients as well as eat more intuitively – things that are important to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Create an active lifestyle and incorporate regular exercise into your day-to-day routine. Burn calories, build muscle, lose weight and gain strength inside and out.
  • Cultivate a positive outlook about your body and your weight. It’s easy to fall victim to negative thoughts about how you look, especially when confronted with media portrayals of the so-called ideal male and female form. You will never feel satisfied with your body until you appreciate all that it can do – no matter what you weigh!

As we build good habits, we should also work to break bad ones. Do your best to avoid these unhealthy patterns:

  • Avoid excessive over- or under-eating. Both of these are signs of potential eating disorders and can be detrimental to your health. Neither restrictive dieting nor binge eating is conducive to maintaining a healthy weight or a well-balanced diet. Instead, you can disrupt your metabolism, weaken your bones and compromise your fertility.   
  • Extreme exercising can also be unproductive to maintaining your ideal weight. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help you reach a goal weight. However, over-exercising to lose weight as fast as possible makes it more likely that you will gain back the weight in the future. Excessive exercising can also lead to future injuries and strains on the body. Focus on setting fitness goals that don’t necessarily have to do with how much you weigh, such as improving your mile time or getting stronger.
  • Being critical of your own natural body type is a waste of your emotional energy and reinforces the idea that you are somehow unacceptable. There’s no such thing as one “perfect” body (in spite of what Hollywood would have us believe). In other words, it may not be realistic for you to obtain the size or shape you see in others. Prioritize health over any attempt to look a certain way.

Bodies are different, and so are people’s health journeys. Weight is only one aspect of overall health and the number on a scale is only one component of healthy weight. Set your goals according to what suits your individual body best. And talk to your doctor if you have questions. Meanwhile, celebrate all that your physical self can do!