Do You Really Need To Lose 5 Pounds?


I am not a goal setter, New Year’s resolution maker or juice cleanse trendy dieter so this January health hoopla is already getting to be a bit much for me to take if you want to know the truth.

I think it’s great for some to kick start the year with a fresh outlook on life and attempt to clean up their diet but in my mind, there’s never a need to wait until January 1st. You can start anew any moment of any day on the calendar.

Recently I was chatting with a friend who is constantly trying to lose 5 pounds. I do not like to chime in with my opinion unless I am directly asked so when I was asked for advice, I replied with a question.

Do you really need to lose 5 pounds? Like, isn’t it entirely possible that your body needs those 5 pounds you are so desperately trying to get rid of every day?

On some level, we all have a set point. You can certainly try to mess with your caloric intake when you don’t really need to lose weight and   sometimes succeed in eating less thereby losing a pound or 2, or even the 5. After a little while however, you will most likely gravitate back to eating the amount that satisfies your appetite  and fall back within range of your set point, the point at which your body is most comfortable for functioning.

Eating less than what your body needs will eventually backfire on you. Through  increased risk of injury, hormone imbalances (including amenorrhea) and a slowed metabolism (which can cause you to gain weight rather than lose weight even when you are eating less!).

This is a hard concept for most people to accept. And I totally get that. However, the sooner you can learn to accept that maybe you don’t really need to lose 5 pounds, the sooner you will feel free.

Even if you don’t use a scale (which I do not) you may feel as though you need to eat less to lean out, drop some inches just because or lose something to make your clothes fit better.

If you already follow a fairly balanced and healthy diet for your body, is it really worth cutting back on the foods you love or eat less even though you are still hungry just to make your clothes hang differently or have the scale read a magic number?

Is it worth giving up your afternoon snack which helps power you through the hours until dinner? Is it worth skipping the piece (or okay, several pieces sometimes) of dark chocolate in the evening if it makes you happy?

Is it worth denying yourself a drink, frozen yogurt, bread from the bread basket or a slice of cake with friends on the weekend when out for dinner once in a while?

peanut butter chocolate chips

My favorite snack lately! Peanut butter and mini chocolate chips 🙂

Is it worth dropping all forms of carbohydrates (to lose water weight as they say!) thereby sacrificing your workouts because you chose to skimp on important nutrients which has left you with little to no energy?

I think not.

Losing weight is necessary and healthy for some but not for all of us. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this month of fitness extreme and detox dieting if you do not need it.

From what I can gather, it seems a lot of us (and myself included) really just need to learn how to continually adjust and balance what we eat with the workouts we already do to stay healthy and happy. We probably need to be eating more, not less and probably need more rest days built into our schedule, not extra sets of burpees and planks to complete some challenge. We are the exception to the January rule, okay?

Do You Really Need To Lose 5 Pounds? #fitness #weightloss #dieting #fitfluential Click To Tweet


Do you use a scale?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?

Is it crazy cold where you are live today? Will you be running outside anyway?!




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  1. says

    I get so bored if I don’t have things to work towards, so without a goal race setting other goals helps with that in the dead of winter. But I totally agree, you don’t need to wait until Jan 1 to make positive changes!
    It took me a long time to understand what you are talking about in your post. You you are right, it is freeing when you find that you can eat what your body needs/craves and feel your best. I havent weight myself in years, and I know it fluctuates alot based on how much I am running but I am finally ok with that!
    Its super cold here today….I think like 15 degrees but feels like 5. Im gonna go running but not sure how long I’ll stay out there for:)
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…New Year, Same Old WorkoutsMy Profile

  2. says

    I feel like I might fall into your category of changing my eating habits this month (doing the whole30). I’m not doing it to lose weight though, so hopefully that makes it better? I’m already enjoying it a lot and even got Dan to do it..who HATES vegetables and anything healthy. Yesterday he tried kale chips for the first time and he actually liked them. That, for me, is a HUGE victory and means more than my jeans fitting better or losing those “final 5 pounds”!
    Gretchen | Gretchruns recently posted…Guest Post : Running Whole 30My Profile

  3. says

    I think people set the 5 lb goal to stay motivated,but I feel the same way as you do about this! It’s not about the 5lbs at all, it’s about thinking we have to wait to feel content instead of just accepting how things are right now. I don’t do it with weight but used to do it with other things, like when my kids are such and such age, I’ll be less stressed and tired. Ha!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Plantain Bacon Fritters with Avocado and Poached Egg {Paleo & Whole30}My Profile

    • says

      So like, I thought I would be less stressed as my son got older but um, it gets harder and more stressful in different ways! I am only telling you this so it doesn’t become a shock and you can prepare mentally for it now. lol don’t hate me!

  4. says

    Such a thought provoking post for this time of year. Even years after I hit bottom with my ED, I still struggle with times when I think I need to lose just 5 pounds, yet know that if I did it would take extreme sacrifice and probably not last very long because the only time I was able to maintain a weight that much lower than I am now (which I only know from a doctor’s visit) was when I was miserable. I did it while continuing to run, sure – but I was in a not-so-great place mentally and the restricted eating caused me to almost have a tantrum after my first half marathon! So I know in my heart that I don’t, because it isn’t worth it.
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Baked Quinoa Flax CakeMy Profile

    • says

      And this comment is exactly what you need to reread every time you think about maybe wanting to lose a few pounds. Sometimes our brains need to read and be reminded of what we already know 🙂

  5. Carmella DiPippa says

    Happy New Year! It is crazy cold here (21 degrees), trying not to whine because this is the first COLD we have had and it really isn’t that cold. FYI: it is going to warm up in the next couple of days anyway!!!!

  6. says

    I don’t have a scale. If I need one, there’s one at the gym. I actually don’t really think about weight much, more how I feel. If I feel puffy, I do get down for a bit, but then ask myself if I have good life and am reaching my running goals (yes) and so maybe the puffiness it worth the good things I have. Also, after a couple days, I get used to the puffy or it goes down. I’m trying (its really hard though) to focus on the amazing things my body can do rather than how it looks. I’m not meant to have abs or a popping booty. That’s fine because I am more than that and it’s nothing a fabulous outfit and an air of confidence cannot fix
    Ellie recently posted…Coffee Time [Words for 2016]My Profile

  7. says

    I am so 100% in agreement with you – I’ve been working on a post about Whole30 that says a lot of the same thing. Why do we need to deprive ourselves for the sake of an New Year’s resolution? You’re so right – most of us need to eat more (the number of carbs an active female runner needs per day is quite high!) and strike a balance between recovery and exercise. 5 pounds is never worth overtraining or worse.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Tempo Runs: One Workout All Runners NeedMy Profile

  8. says

    Such a great post. I need a lot of carbs to function normally and feel my best. I used to try to go back to the weight I thought was my set point but in reality, I’m the healthiest when I’m 5-10 pounds above that. It’s not worth it to me to give up dessert or burgers or pizza or any of the other foods that make me happy. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but one that is beyond worth it!
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Work For HappinessMy Profile

  9. says

    I talked really honestly about my battle with the scale a little while ago. Needless to say I basically threw it out. My focus is on strength training and being stronger. I know my body will change accordingly once I focus on doing different workouts. I am a goal setter. I work better when I hone in on a goal.
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up: Happy New Year!My Profile

  10. says

    I love this post. I have a scale in the bathroom, but I haven’t used it in months (my husband likes to have it). I feel so much more free without tying myself down to a number. At first I was really beating myself up at how much I indulged over Christmas/New Years instead of just enjoying the moment and spending time with my family and friends. I know what I need to do to get back on track and am already doing it, so why continue to beat myself up? Today is the first week of half marathon training and I had an easy 3 miler but took it indoors because it felt like 3 degrees outside! recently posted…New Years & Weekend Wrap-UpMy Profile

  11. says

    I agree with you. If you already have a healthy diet/lifestyle, then you shouldn’t be worrying too much about Christmas excesses as once you get back into your normal routine, you’ll likely balance out again. Fad diets and “how to lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks” type nonsense that are just waiting to bamboozle us in January are generally not helpful, don’t work in the long run and like you say, probably aren’t necessary. A steady, more balanced view is usually more helpful. It’s not too cold where I live at the moment but it was lashing rain today when I went for my run 🙂
    Fiona recently posted…Saucony Sonic Reflex Jacket : In ReviewMy Profile

  12. says

    I love this. Do I really need to trim off those 5 pounds to be in a constant dieting cycle? For me, it’s not worth it. I think it really has to do with mindset. Are you tied to the scale? I used to be REALLY tied to the scale, and I struggled with that number defining my worth. Now it doesn’t define my worth nearly at all, and I probably weigh myself every couple months. :)) Hopefully someday, it will be ZERO times. 🙂 Oh, and my workout for today will be snowboarding (AKA: Falling.)
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: Sweet or Salty?My Profile

  13. says

    Definitely not worth it for me. Could I be leaner? Sure. But it would take doing things that I’m just not willing to do anymore. I made weight, exercise, and food the centre of my life for so many years, and — surprise, surprise — I wasn’t happy anyways. It didn’t stop me from snarking on my body, and the things I had to give up just took away any chance at happiness. Love this post.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…31 things about my 31st birthdayMy Profile

  14. says

    Hello! I just discovered your blog through the link on today’s post on This Runner’s Recipes and just had to comment to say that I agree with you 1,000% but wish I’d read this post years ago! I achieved my goal weight on Weight Watchers 5 years ago. For the past 2 years I’ve been over that weight by a few pounds and, consequently, have had to pay (the program is free if you maintain your goal weight). I’ve been in a constant state of “I just need to lose 3 pounds” even though I’ve never been happier with my body and the way my clothes fit. I finally realized I need to stop the insanity. This year one of my big goal is to go back to Weight Watchers and declare my “goal weight” as the weight I feel good at and not try to hit a specific number on the scale. I feel so good and empowered by this decision! Thanks for this post that says everything I’ve been thinking!
    Jenn @ Running on Lentils recently posted…Review: Alala Pewter The Cut Bra & Long Sleeve Mesh TeeMy Profile

    • says

      I am so glad you found me! Congrats on losing the weight and maintaining! I like your decision to revise your goal weight. I think you are making the best decision for your body and sanity! Maintaining sometimes becomes even harder than the losing and we must learn to separate ourselves from those numbers.

  15. says

    I adore everything about this post.

    I gave up on those last few pounds years ago when I realized they wouldn’t make me happy and it wasn’t worth it in the end. Now I say five pounds only matters if it impacts your health.

  16. says

    Great post Meredith! I think people who are obese need to focus on losing weight and unfortunately 2/3 of America is in that category. The people who are generally fit and want to lose 5 pounds I believe need to shift their focus from weight loss to building strength and endurance. Stop focusing on the number and on what you can do!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…The Sunday Skinny 1/10/16My Profile

  17. says

    Yes! If only some of us gave ourselves (and out bodies) a break things might fall into place. Or at least fall into what’s meant to be, instead of fighting it. I have a friend who stresses over every bite. She even does things like weigh veggies before and after steaming to account for the calorie difference. It makes me sad at the stress that must cause. Life is short. Breathe! <3
    Adrianne recently posted…Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Pomegranate and OrangesMy Profile

    • says

      And I never even know one should think about weighing vegetables before and after cooking to account for a calorie difference. That’s sad, I hope one day she can relieve herself of that stress.