Why a 5-Pound Weight Gain Isn't the End of the World


Free People 

Three years ago, when the scale I'd had in my bathroom since high school broke, I threw it away and never looked back. I was 22 and finally starting to feel comfortable with my body for the first time. I'd been a slave to the number on the scale for the last decade—I had based my whole personal worth on it. So the second I no longer felt dependent on that, I took my freedom and ran with it.

During my years without a scale, I learned to take better care of my body. I learned to drink less, eat more vegetables, and get my steps in. I felt healthier and foxier than ever, and even though I no longer knew my exact weight, I had an approximate number in my head that I figured was about right. I think a lot of us keep that "goal number" in the back of our minds—the weight that represents our bodies at our fittest. Based on how I felt, I was pretty sure I was hovering right over that goal.

Of course, I had no desire or intention to know my actual weight. But a couple months ago when I went to the doctor to renew a prescription, I finally came face-to-face with a scale. Now that this moment had come, I was expecting to step on and see my "goal number." But as the nurse inched that dial rightward, I started to panic. 

There it was: my real weight—a full five pounds heavier than the maximum number I was imagining and eight pounds above my "goal." (It's worth mentioning that I'm 5'2", so these numbers feel somewhat significant.)

Objectively, I knew my weight didn't matter. I felt good; I looked good. Still, I couldn't get that unexpectedly high number out of my mind.

I wanted to stop this freakout before it began, and I figured I couldn't be alone. So I got in touch with a handful of trusted health experts to help talk me down. Did you just gain five pounds too? Are you having a small panic attack about it? Keep scrolling for all the logical reasons why you shouldn't be.

Want more (reasonable) weight-loss advice? Don't miss seven diet tips that work better than calorie counting.