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Self-worth: You are not the size of your pants

Allie LeFevere is a healthy living catalyst, life strategist and adventure instigator. As a witty muse in the march toward self-worth and brazen living, Allie urges women to take accountability of their own spark and stop asking for perm...

Don't let the scale scare you off

Despite the popular but-I-read-it-somewhere belief, stepping on the scale 9,956 times a day is absolutely — pinky promise — not going to help you reach your fitness goals.
Woman on scale

You are not the number on the scale or the percentage of your body fat. You are not the size of your pants or the circumference of your waist. Your self-worth, strength, value and beauty have absolutely zero to do with a number — unless you're counting the number of self-assured smiles you're doling out each day.

But you want to be radiant and ooze optimal health, right? So if you're not benchmarking success by the number on your scale, what should you be focusing on?

Simple — focus on the non-number things that really matter and deserve your full attention as you cultivate a healthier, stronger you.

Unlike the scale, these things won't leave you anxious or disappointed or stomping around the bathroom in tears. And while there are seven suggestions, I've saved the most important for last.

1

Energy: Are you a ball of it?

Is pushing right through the 2 p.m. slump no prob? Good nutrition and daily movement affect your overall sense of spryness, and energy is a fabulous indicator of overall body health. So if you've eliminated your fourth morning coffee because waking up has become a breeze, then you're headed in the right direction.

2

Sleep

You can't be "on" 24/7, and just like your MacBook, you need to shut down and restore, or else you'll blow a mental circuit. And while everyone's a bit different, you should be off in dreamland for around six to 10 hours a night. So what does shut-eye look like for you — restless or rested? Eight hours or "Umm, I wish"?

You. Need. Sleep. So don't discount its importance. How much you're getting (or not) is way more vital to your personal health road trip than is a number on a scale.

3

How do you look in the mirror?

Are you seeing changes? Are smiles happening more regularly? If you've answered a resounding "Yes!" to both those Qs, then you're in good shape.

This might be the point at which your brain thinks, "But, but, I need a number or measurement to track my success!" And while I, like some of you, love numbers, unless you're a body builder training for a competition, I'd steer clear of body measurements (waist, hip, thigh and arm). That's because the size of your waist doesn't matter nearly as much as the size of the smile in your reflection.
4

How do your clothes fit?

So, how do they fit? Better than before? A little looser? If you're breathin' easy in your jeans or rockin' a skirt you haven't seen in years, then change is happening and you should be darn proud of that.

5

The quality of your food

Not calories, but nutritional density. If calories were all that mattered, a cheeseburger could be nutritionally equal to a bowl of kale salad in the right proportions. Although your body needs calories to survive, it's really craving nutrients: vitamins, minerals and fatty acids — all that good stuff you find in whole, minimally processed, preferably organic food that you might be ignoring in favor of calorie counts and fat grams.

So focus on the quality, nutritional density and efficiency of food. And ask these questions: "Will this [insert food] make my body thrive? Is it feeding me at a cellular level? Is it loaded with the nutrients my body is really craving?"

The answers will change the game in terms of what you're putting in that beautiful bod of yours. And if you're not certain how to answer those Qs, then find a fabulous nutritionist or coach who can help you make sense of it all.

6

Connection

You may be glued to your cell phone, but are you connected to your food? Are you connected while you eat — really smelling, tasting and enjoying your food? Or are you just choking down bland calories in hopes of staving off pounds? Step away from the remote, cell, magazine or laptop while you eat and truly focus on your food. You'll regain your sense of satiety, rebuild your confidence and rekindle a deep love affair with food.

Aha! And now for the most important thing to focus on besides the scale...

7

How you feel

Yes. The most important thing you can possibly do for yourself is to tune into how you feel. Because what are the weight loss and the treadmilling and the food changes really all for? They're for one thing: helping you ultimately feel a different way — good, confident, sexy, valued, loved and [insert feeling here].

So as you make these healthy lifestyle changes, the most important question you can ask yourself is this: "How am I feeling through all of this?"

That answer is more vital than your dress size or your arm measurements, and it's certainly more powerful than a scale result. Because feeling good, great, fantastic — regardless of any of those numbers — is the true benchmark of success. And that's the only metric that matters.

More body image advice

Secrets to having a positive body image
5 Ways to love yourself a helluva lot more
10 Books to boost your daughter's body image

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