It’s Healthy Weight Week here in Australia.
Discussions about weight – mine or others – make me nervous. Last week I did a health check at work and before heading downstairs to take the five minute check, I removed all my jewellery. And my insulin pump. And I thought about ducking into the loo and removing my bra beforehand to take a few grams off my body before I weighed it. (For the record, my bra stayed on.)
I also timed it so that I had not eaten lunch yet, and had just done a pee. And I took my shoes off before stepping on the scales.
Oh, did I mention that the only person who would be seeing the results from this health check would be me? That’s right. It was a fully animated check, done by a machine. No human interaction was involved. No personal details were provided. There was no way that I could be identified. Only I would see the number of kilos my body holds and my BMI.
I can’t remember the last time I was weighed. I guess it was when I had my cataract surgery and the anaesthetist needed to know my weight. But I am pretty sure that I didn’t see the number.
My endo doesn’t weigh me as a matter of course. She always asks if I want to be weighed and I say no.
The last time I went to see a GP for something and they wanted me to step on the scales I refused. ‘It’s not relevant to what I’m here for. Why do you need to know my weight?’ I asked. The doctor couldn’t give me a good enough answer to change my mind, so I stayed seated.
The aim of healthy weight week seems noble. Here is what it says on the website:
The aim of the 2015 campaign is straight-forward: to encourage more Australians to cook at home as a way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
I am all over the idea of supporting people to prepare more meals at home. Educating people about how easy it can be to prepare healthy, tasty meals that everyone is going to love is a terrific idea.
Most of the focus of the Healthy Weight Week website is great – really constructive and encouraging and non-judgemental. There’s a downloadable cookbook with some really interesting and easy recipes (the poached chicken salad looks particularly delicious and perfect for the warmer weather we’ve been enjoying).
The pledge page has some really terrific goals that focus on health and ditching fad foods and diets and thinking about food positively.
The pledges can be scaled to be manageable – they’re not too difficult to incorporate into most people’s busy lives. And, of course, if followed, it is possible that one of the results may be weight loss. But I would suggest it would be so much more.
The results might include improved body image, feeling healthier, sitting around the table eating with others, trying new foods, getting better at planning meals and shopping smarter. All of these are really positive things to aim for.
So with that in mind, why is it called Healthy Weight Week? Why not Healthy Food Week or Healthy Living Week?
For me, the problem with Healthy Weight Week is that the focus is on the wrong thing. If I pledged to do all the things listed on the pledge page and then carried them out, surely at the end of the week the fact that I had adopted some really healthy habits should be enough – regardless of what the number on the scales say. There is far more to being healthy than what we weigh. It’s a shame that fact might get missed because of the name of this week.